Final preparations are underway for Food Vision 2014, the event that brings together global food and drink industry leaders at Cannes in the south of France to discuss key topics directly affecting the profitability of their businesses.
Organised by William Reed Business Media, the publisher of this website, Food Vision will tackle a host of subjects from the future of ingredients sourcing and product formulation to customer engagement and sustainability. The event will take place between March 31 and April 2 2014.
More than 100 industry leaders in business strategy, research and development and marketing will focus on developing the sector’s sustainable profitability, while benefiting from key networking sessions. Companies taking part include: Nestlé, PepsiCo, Barilla, Coca-Cola, McCain Foods, Kraft Foods, Unilever and Danone among many others.
More than 100 industry leaders
The event will open with a presentation from Dr James Bellini, futurologist, broadcaster and author, entitled ‘Feed the world: The need for a sustainable food future’.
Following sessions will focus on unlocking innovation: ideas, approaches and evidence of success.
Meanwhile, Speed Networking Sessions will enable delegates to extend their horizons during a series of four-minute meetings with their fellow delegates. Delegates will introduce themselves to a new contact every time the bell rings and find out if they have got mutual interests that would make a subsequent, more in-depth meeting worthwhile. Speed networking has been introduced to the programme at the request of our delegates at the inaugural event in 2013.
This year’s event will feature The Big Debate , which offers delegates the opportunity to make their voices heard on some of the key topics on the Food Vision agenda.
Three speakers taking part in the debate will be: Jenny Westerkamp, nutritionist and author of You Are What You Retweet, Chris Cornyn, founder and president of food and drink agency, DINE and Michelle Greenwald, ceo of Inventours.
‘Ingredients and nutrition facts’
Westerkamp will call for food companies to engage openly with customers, to express the personalities of their brands and to act responsibly. “Consumers’ food decisions rest on more than just ingredients and nutrition facts,” she said. “Companies need to communicate the social, economic and environmental impacts of their food too.”
But Cornyn will claim engagement is over-rated, as brands jump on the social media bandwagon without understanding why they’re doing it. “Stop freaking out about social media and engaging with customers,” he said. “Not all food brands need to do it.”
However, maintaining market segmentation will become increasingly important, which suggests food and drink industries will need to develop intense consumer understanding, he will argue. “Being all things to all people is dead,” he said. “Being something to someone is the future.”
Greenwald will predict three key areas of innovation that are set to boom. First, will be a return to traditional values. “Simple preparations, where high quality ingredients speak for themselves are the next step in food development,” she said.
Second, will be cross over foods. “Combining foods, from cookie dough donuts to pretzel croissants, is a micro trend that’s about to go mainstream.”
The third trend will be the continued rise of ethnic foods, which are set to continue their global spread. “A wider array of countries are about to enter the fray, from beyond Thailand into South East Asia and beyond Mexico into Latin America as well as from China, Japan, Africa and the Caribbean,” she said.