Experts Identify The Game Changers for the Feed and Food Industry

The 2011 ‘Great Debate' held during the Alltech 27th Annual International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, saw three experts from the field of new media, economics and one of the largest food companies in the world, Nestlé, present their views on how agribusiness should respond to relentless commoditization and innovation for a growing world population. Offering insightful opinions, the panelists commented on a variety of issues with topics ranging from adopting new media technologies, building new connections with consumers to utilizing the power of the World Wide Web to talk about food and its ability to connect people to food sources. Tom Standage, business editor, of The Economist and author of A History of the World in Six Glasses and An Edible History of Humanity; Ben Self, Blue State Digital; and Hans Jöhr, corporate head of agriculture, Nestlé, each took to the stage to discuss their ideas on how we need to engage with the consumer. Standage commented that the opportunity for the food industry lies in new technology such as iPhone apps which communicate where food originates. "Today social media provides a tremendous opportunity for the food industry to build relationships with consumers in a way that no other industry can ... through farm-to-fork traceability. Consumers have an interest in where their food comes from," said Standage. Ben Self, Blue State Digital, highlighted the importance of each stakeholder in the food chain from the producer to the consumer to the retailer in telling the story through new media technologies thereby making it more interesting, memorable and relevant. Corporate head of agriculture at Nestlé and director of the Sustainable Agriculture Alliance (SAI), Hans Jöhr addressed how the industry and all the stakeholders in it from the farmer to the retailer have a real opportunity to create a sustainable agricultural platform. He referred to Michael E. Porter's theory on shared value and in the need to address wastage of food and feed as the globe is forecasted to reach 9 billion people by 2050. He said, "The real game changer is to understand that we are working in a finite world and that we really need to take care of our assets and how we utilize them so that we can produce nutritious food for everybody." Presented in front of more than 2,100 delegates from 72 countries, the debate also posed such timely questions as: What are the game changers as we move to feed 9 billion people? How can agriculture do a better job in communicating its great stories? How should companies use new media to communicate with the world? Commenting on the debate, Alltech vice president, Aidan Connolly, said, "Modern agriculture has many stories to tell but the challenge is how to effectively communicate these stories. There is a world of opportunities available through new media technologies, which will allow each and every stakeholder in the food and feed chain to communicate messages quickly that connect with people's emotions. This presents a real game changer as we feed a growing population on finite resources." For further information on Alltech's 2011 Symposium, please visit . Alltech's Innovations blog is being updated throughout the Symposium to include photos from the event, video interviews with speakers, podcasts, and the most salient points from the specialized breakout sessions. Join in the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag: #AlltechSymposium. Audio packages are available for free download via the links below: (mp3 format) Tom Standage Hans Jöhr Ben Self 05.25.2011