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The Future of Food and the Food Industry according to ‘Dr Food’

08/02/2023
Prof David Hughes ("Dr Food")

IT HAS been a rough and tumble few years in the global food industry and there is ‘Big Time’ change to come according to Professor David Hughes, International Speaker on Global Food and Drink Industry issues ahead of his appearance at NFU Scotland’s AGM and Conference in Glasgow on Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February.

Professor Hughes, aka ‘Dr Food’ writes: A pandemic, war in Ukraine and extreme climate events have created chaos in international markets and analysts predict “persistent polycrises of food, energy and fertiliser shortages during the next 2 years”.

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According to Dr Hughes, global economic growth has been stifled and consumer incomes stressed. The resultant grocery price wars have squeezed margins in the food supply chain, particularly for farmers. Food shortages have fuelled calls for countries to increase their food security. How we shop and what we buy to feed the family changes through time, albeit slowly, but has accelerated through the past 3 turbulent years. 

And the next few years will bring further dramatic ‘big time’ change, according to Professor Hughes, who writes: “The double trouble of a “cost-of-living crisis” and a war in Ukraine has pushed concerns about climate change on the health of our planet towards the back of our minds. However, as economic recovery emerges over the next couple of years, consumer concerns about the environment and sustainability will be re-established Big Time as the evidence of our impact on the health of the planet moves back to front and centre. Our food industry from farm to fork will be transformed over the next 3 decades as countries, industries, companies, and farm businesses strive for carbon net zero.”

However, according to Dr Food, that presents opportunities for Scottish farmers and crofters.  He concludes: “Scottish food producers will not be the lowest cost in the domestic and international markets. However, particularly for “story food” products/occasions (rather than “fuel food”), there are ample opportunities to show a wide range of consumers that “Food from Scotland” has sustainable production provenance, with transparent supply chains, and authentic ingredients, recipes and stories that deserve and can earn a premium.

“Scottish food should be sold with adjectives that consumers can relate to and value. Scots are respected around the globe and so should their food!”

Read the full blog at: https://www.nfus.org.uk/news/blog/the-future-of-food-and-the-food-industry-according-to-dr-food

NFU Scotland’s AGM, Conference, Dinner, and elections take place at the Radisson Blu, Glasgow on Thursday 9, and Friday 10 February.  The full conference programme is at: https://www.nfus.org.uk/about-nfus/agm-2023.aspx

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