Our opportunity is now

Published: 16/10/2020

At the Farm to Fork 2020 Conference FoodDrinkEurope’s President, Marco Settembri, reinforced the urgent need to initiate new pathways for sustainable food system transformation.

World Food Day: What a great opportunity it was in my capacity as President of FoodDrinkEurope to speak at the Farm-to-Fork 2020 Conference and discuss how we can work together to advance the move towards more sustainable food systems on such a key day.

It’s hard to imagine that just 12 short months ago we would be in crisis of such magnitude. COVID-19 has been a massive wake-up call with many challenges still ahead for all of us in the food sector, in particular horeca, food service and certain export markets. In addition, the threat of a second lockdown, an unavoidable economic recession and the impact of Brexit hangs large.

As I stated, as an industry, we are fully committed to drive more sustainable food systems. This is why the publication of the F2F and the Biodiversity Strategies are crucial levers/enablers to make European food the global leader in (food) sustainability, both in environmental as well as economic terms. Our opportunity is now to make Europe’s food the most renowned for its quality and safety, but also its sustainable production.

To make these advances, we need to take giant steps together a joint vision – a shared narrative and co-ownership as none of us can do this alone. There’s a need for clear EU definitions, methodologies and standards with regard to end-to-end transparency and consumer empowerment.

Transparency is key as we can’t underestimate the importance of comparable, reliable, up-to-date data (which in turn can be measured equally) to determine dietary consumption trends and patterns, address food waste, scale up targeted health initiatives, etc.

Our success is only as good as our results, and to obtain these we need to be completely inclusive and create enticing incentives for all. I am confident that with the right conditions to allow for a predictable and stable business environment, our industry – and the food chain at large – we will be able to weather this storm. Together we can learn from our experiences to be stronger for what lays ahead and be equipped to provide a meaningful contribution to the transformation that’s needed to make European food the gold standard for sustainability across the globe.

 I am proud to be here on this journey with you together for the years ahead.