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Industry Manifesto Launched at FoodDrinkEurope’s 30th Anniversary Congress

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Industry Manifesto Launched at FoodDrinkEurope’s 30th Anniversary Congress

Industry Manifesto Launched at FoodDrinkEurope’s 30th Anniversary Congress
October 19
12:07 2012

At the close of its 30th anniversary Congress, FoodDrinkEurope launched an Industry Manifesto providing a framework for future action forEurope’s largest manufacturing industry. Representing an industry which is a key pillar of the EU economy, the FoodDrinkEurope Industry Manifesto sets out the range of areas in which action is taking place, and where work will continue in the future, in order to help ‘Feed the Recovery’ in the European Union, the title of the event.

Stressing the socio-economic and cultural heritage of Europe’s food industry, as well as its close proximity to the agriculture sector in Europe using 70% of what is produced, Europe’s food and drink manufacturers commit to actions across 11 core areas in order to deliver a more globally competitive industry that continues to add produce safe food that is tasty, affordable and sustainably produced.

The Manifesto was officially launched in the final session of the Congress where a mix of optimism for the future underpinned by the need to foster greater levels of trust among consumers, industry and regulators, primarily occupied the discussions. Panellists discussed how best to ensure consumers understand the benefits of innovation, as well as the role of technology in boosting sustainable practices and strengthening transparency and information sharing across the food supply chain, right up to the consumer.

Speaking in the wrap-up, Robert Madelin (Director General, DG CONNECT, European Commission) stated: “The key challenge is to ensure that the consumer understands all the benefits of innovation: information technology can play a role here. In addition, building cooperation and fostering dialogue between industry and regulators can also strengthen the efficiency of self-regulation.”

Julie Girling MEP (UK, ECR Group) added: “The key challenge is one of public perception, since we live in a society where people are becoming more and more risk adverse: specifically, there needs to be greater public acceptance of innovation in food. Policymakers need to work with established voluntary codes and self-regulation, while industry needs to foster consumer trust.” Julie Girling also called for continued investment by industry in nutrition and health.

Timothy Mobsby (Chair, Liaison Committee, FoodDrinkEurope) said: “We need to be better at telling our story to the consumer. We also need to listen more to the perspective of others and hear their concerns as well as working with others to try to address those challenges.  In tandem with leveraging the innovation investment we have already made here in Europe, we must build on existing partnerships with stakeholders to create an atmosphere that encourages innovation and the acceptance of new processes, thinking and products.”

Providing a retail perspective, Leandre Boulez (Director, Supply Chain and Quality, Auchan Group) stressed: “Our goal is to meet the needs of people with increasingly busy lives. In packaging in particular, there is a lot of potential to apply technology and innovation. For retailers, innovation is mainly a ‘bottom up’ R&D process: seeing what works locally and applying it globally. We don’t need more regulation – we need to make existing regulations work, rather than adding new ones.”

Closing the 2012 Congress, Mella Frewen (Director General, FoodDrinkEurope) stressed that despite the many challenges and current economic conditions in the EU: “There was an overwhelming sense of optimism shared by the speakers and delegates based on the resilience ofEurope’s food and drink industry, its potential to innovate and its ongoing investment in collaborative partnerships with other players”. 

The Director General reiterated the importance of the new Manifesto released by the industry at the event, noting: “This shows what the industry is committed to delivering as well as its ambition to remain Europe’s number one manufacturing sector: feeding the recovery with a sustainable sector creating jobs, exports and added-value for Europe and its consumers.”

A full copy of the Industry Manifesto is available for download at  http://www.fooddrinkeurope.eu/news/press-release/fooddrinkeurope-europes-food-and-drink-industry-a-manifesto/.

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