Vion symposium ‘Food chains of the future’: stronger link between demand and offer, and more cooperation within food chains required
Groenlo, 30 September 2016 – Cooperation within the chain is a condition for future strong supply chains. Food chains will increasingly become closed, and those who do not adapt to this will miss out. That is what was stated by Cees Veerman, Chairman of the working group Agricultural Markets and former Minister of Agriculture yesterday during the symposium ‘Food chains of the future’, organised by Vion.
“In order to profit from the changing market and changing consumer, food chains will have to produce in a sustainable manner, and will have to show how they achieve this”, according to Veerman. “Cooperation is the only way to really achieve good results. In future years we will see the advent of a stronger connection between demand and offer. Transparency, openness and honest pricing are key words. as are cooperation with societal parties, such as the NGOs.”
Also Vion CEO Francis Kint called cooperation an important factor for a successful supply chain. “The food chain of the future is demand-driven. This requires commitment by all parties, from retail to agricultural entrepreneur. It is not possible to take part in a supply chain “once in a while”, delivery obligations and purchasing obligations are unavoidable. It is exactly this cooperation, in an honest and open manner, which strengthens the chain. Kint also pointed out that the investments of Vion are contributing to a strong supply chain. “The very first thing which Vion can and must do within its own supply chain, is to make itself as efficient as possible. That is positive for the viability of the entire supply chain.”
Trend watcher Adjiedj Bakas, also a speaker at the Vion symposium, advised parties within the food chain to look further than their usual cooperation partners. “Look for new allies in other sectors, from ICT and care to the financial world, to make use of new technologies and to profit from changing markets. The top end of the market is becoming increasingly important: a high quality and a trusted origin. Transparency is a must.”
Transparency and trust
Experiences from practice support this. Auke-Jan Heeringa, Director of the Unox factory in Oss for Unilever: “Consumers, chain partners and societal organisations wish to have an insight into the origin of food and meat. At Unox we do this with a QR code on the packaging, which allows the consumer to trace a smoked sausage back to the farm. We notice that this is very important for trust.” This trust also plays an important role in Vion’s cooperation with chain partners, comments Allard Bakker, General Manager De Groene Weg (The Green Way). “The success of De Groene Weg is in no small part thanks to the good cooperation with the organic pig farmers. De Groene Weg works closely together with its own suppliers association, among others in the field of a transparent and fair pricing and continuous strengthening of the concept of organic animal husbandry. This is only possible with open communication and solid mutual trust.”
Renovated Groenlo location
Vion organised the symposium about food chains of the future at the official opening of the renovated production location in Groenlo. In recent months the factory was extensively renovated, and now offers space for all activities within the sustainable concepts Good Farming Star and organic: from slaughter up to and including packaging. With the specialisation and renovation Vion aims at an even better channelling of the product streams and a more efficient and flexible work method. In this way the company is profiting from the increasing demand for organic meat as well for meat from the Good farming Star concept.