If We Do Nothing....
With the IFT Food Expo going virtual this week, the organization is doing more than just changing the format. They are taking the bold step of asking the food industry to “shift your perspective, challenge your thinking, adapt, adopt, pivot, and progress.”
IFT SHIFT2020 opened with a provocative and compelling talk by April Rinne, member of the World Economic Forum, speaker, writer, and authority on the new economy, future of work, and global citizenship.
In her keynote Rinne explored the critical role that food science, emerging technologies, and the food industry will need to play in addressing food security in the face of our current pandemic times and global climate change.
So critical in fact, that she suggested that IF WE DO NOTHING, the results will be nothing less than apocalyptic due to the combination of rising populations in less developed countries and the risk to the world’s food supply chain due to climate change and the breakdown of trust between nations.
Fortunately, Rinne spent more time offering solutions than identifying problems. With her vast experience and global perspective, she offered three “solutions” to shift the current trajectory: Distributed Innovation, Regeneration and Intention.
We are never in this alone. She sees the food industry as an ecosystem with connected business models, social structures and cultural norms, all impacting one another. If we create the right connections, then innovation in one part of the ecosystem will impact another. Pre-competitive collaborations and increased transparency can accelerate that goal.
It is not enough to just fix what is broken, but we must create something better. Farmers must not just “use” the land, but they must improve the land. Ecology and economy become linked when stakeholders are attentive to the long story and not just this quarter’s profits. Continuous improvement lies at the core of regeneration.
Rinne claims that COVID may be the sledgehammer that shatters our complacency with the status quo; an awakening to the implications of our actions and our interdependency on one another for better and for worse.
"The pandemic is our opening to reassess current structures and long-term goals... in short, it's one of the greatest challenges and opportunities of our lifetimes.” She warns that more consolidation in the food industry is not the answer. Bigger is not always better. The centralized meat packing industry offered us a case study of the risk to both employees and to the global supply chain.
She closed her talk with a call to action:
"How can we be better global citizens during this very challenging time?
This is the moment for the food industry to course correct and our responsibility is unique, specific, and great.
“The future of food is the future of everything else.”
With our commitment to sustainable practices, and innovative partnerships, Sugaright is listening and acting. We remain committed to continuous improvement. We will never settle for "doing nothing" and we will always SHIFT in response to constant change.