Welcome to the Cafe Asia March newsletter. Our sector never sleeps, but don’t worry, we’re on hand to bring you the top food industry news from the catering, manufacturing, cash and carry and foodservice sectors from the last month.
Global food manufacturers unclear on supply chains
New research, conducted by risk management firm Achilles, reveals that 53% of large global food manufacturers have no way of finding out just who is in their supply chain. The research, spanning 42 firms across the Middle East, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Spain, the US and the UK, also showed that 19% of firms surveyed have no way of uncovering the names and addresses of the firms involved in their supply chain: running the risk, say Achilles, of supporting unethical working practices, slave labour or hidden child labour.
Furthermore, 12% of these firms stated that they do not have corporate ethical and health and safety standards in place to which their suppliers should adhere. If the supplier with whom such firms work are found to have unethical working practices in place, this could leave the businesses open to hefty fines and significant reputational damage.
UK shoppers willing to buy directly from manufacturers
According to research conducted for The Grocer, 35% of UK shoppers would be willing to forego the traditional purchase channels, and instead buy a range of food and drink products and household goods directly from manufacturers.
45% of consumers surveyed said that they would buy toilet paper directly from manufacturers, while 44% would buy household cleaning products and 39% would buy tinned food outside of traditional retail channels.
Not just supermarkets: 39% would be happy to buy canned food directly from the manufacturer
When asked what would make them buy directly from manufacturers rather than retailers, 37% stated that price and attractive promotions would be the key factors, while 31% cited free delivery and 9% that cheaper or faster delivery than currently would make them switch. Could we start to see the growth of direct-to-consumer food and drink sales, cutting out the retail middle man?
French politician calls for ban on supermarket food waste
Arash Derambarsh, the man behind the campaign that saw a law passed to ban French supermarkets from throwing away unsold food, has called for the ban to be implemented across the wider EU and the US.
He believes that only the passing of legislation will stop supermarkets throwing away vast quantities of unsold food – food that could be better used to feed those who struggle to afford to feed themselves and their families.
Before the law was passed in France, supermarkets were given tax returns on all unsold food that was subsequently thrown away. Others across Europe have shown support for his campaign, and he is now calling on the EU and US to implement similar laws. Derambarsh states that while 10 million people live below the poverty line, according to official figures, there are plenty more who struggle to afford three meals per day – which could easily be changed.
Record levels for EU agri-food exports
The European Commission has produced a report that shows positive news for exports outside of the EU. In 2015, agri-food exports to countries that fall outside of the EU reached a record level, growing 6% on the previous year to £101 billion. What’s more, 10 of the 12 months of 2015 showed higher monthly values than in 2014.
The biggest growth area was China, with exports to the country increasing in value by 39% between 2014 and 2015. In terms of product type, cereals and live animal exports showed the biggest growth, while milk powders, fresh fruit and cheese all decreased in value.
However, imports to the EU also increased by 8.7% during the same period, meaning that the overall surplus trade balance dropped to €16bn from €18bn in 2014.
Events and awards
This March, there are plenty of food and drink-related conferences and trade shows taking place all across the globe.
The International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York takes place from March 6th-8th, with 16,000+ visitors expected to descend on the show: think food products, technology, equipment, service solutions and more.
Alternatively, visit Bournemouth from the 8th-9th for the Hotel & Catering Show, featuring new and innovative food and drink products, tastings, trends and more, aimed at the catering, hospitality and foodservice market.
This overlaps with Foodex Japan, taking place in Tokyo from March 8th-11th – a huge show with over 3,000 exhibitors and an expected 75,000 visitors.
There’s also a big event in Germany this March: INTERNORGA 2016 in Hamburg (March 11th-16th) describes itself as “Europe’s leading trade show for foodservice and hospitality”, and includes conferences, swathes of exhibitors and more.
In awards news, the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s “Food Made Good Awards” winners will be announced on March 22nd, while the shortlist for the GQ Food & Drink Awards 2016 has also been revealed.
That’s all for this month, but we’ll be back next month with more exciting news from the world of food and drink.