With a turnover of €1.2 trillion, 4.2 million employees and a positive trade balance of almost € 28 billion, the EU food sector is the largest manufacturing sector in Europe. It contributes to 18% of EU exports and ranks highest in the world on safety, quality, availability and affordability.
The food industry has achieved much. But this has come at a price. Current practices are not resource efficient, leading to a depletion of natural resources and fresh water. On top of this, today around 30 % of agriculture produce is wasted. Although European food is safer than ever before, incidents with food demonstrate a profound lack of transparency in the food sector. This erodes consumer trust. And at the same time, the consumer is becoming more aware of diet related non-communicable diseases, also affecting food production and consumption.
There are also several challenges facing today’s and tomorrow’s food system: a rapidly growing world population; an increasing demand for high quality, healthy food; a decline in natural resources; lower yields due to climate change, and therefore an increasing pressure on food security; vulnerability of the supply chain; low consumer trust; increase in diet-related diseases; and increase in food waste.
This emphasizes the need for strengthening the innovativeness of the food system – if we are to create more jobs, while producing healthier and more sustainable food for all. This requires joint action and a pooling of the best ideas, skills and competences.
… and great opportunities
Right now, there are also great opportunities to meet the challenges and achieve real progress through increased collaboration, due to current technological and scientific advancements, growing societal awareness and converging efforts within the EU food sector. FoodNexus wants to seize these opportunities, and start a new future for the EU food sector:
- The Food sector is the largest employer in the EU
- Collaboration is the new norm
- Innovative practices which can create more jobs and better jobs
- Current advances in science and technology
- The development of ICT and Big Data, and improved connectivity in general
- Social media developments and more connected consumers
- Growing consumer awareness about health and sustainability
- The iconic products of our rural production areas
These opportunities require concerted action and collaboration across sectors and regions – if we are to create more jobs, strengthen innovativeness, while producing healthier and more sustainable food for all.
FoodNexus wants to seize these opportunities!