The food chain and the consumer are at the center of EFMI’s anniversary conference

Tholen – Not only was the consumer central at EFMI Business School’s anniversary food conference, there was also a remarkable attention paid to the food system and the chain. EFMI exists for 25 years and it was celebrated with a well-attended conference on food trends: Convenience, Enjoyment, Health and Good Behavior, the common thread in food for 25 years. Looking to the future, a 5. G was identified, that of Common. “Chain management is a huge opportunity to add value,” said Laurens Sloot, Director of EFMI.


Laurens Sloot 25 years ago

Food system on the go
In his presentation, he discussed the political and social issue of the current food system. This seems to have reached a stalemate: consumers are reluctant, unable or unwilling to accept a higher price for food, supermarkets are in a displacement market with enormous price pressure, the agricultural system with the open market and subsidies do not provide sustainable incentives for sustainable land use. A complex problem in which Sloot identified four ways of thinking (the 4E model): the egocentric view (no change needed), the ecological view (focus on sustainable agriculture), the eco-modernist view (technology solves it) and the economic view (truepricing using. also pricing of environmental and health effects will automatically make the market more sustainable). However, none of the models offer a solution, each of the visions has advantages and disadvantages.

Discount is disruptive
“The prices that the consumer pays for the shopping basket are rising a little less rapidly than the actual inflation of food,” Sloot said. ‘It is mainly due to downtrading. Consumers are switching more expensive products to cheaper alternatives. Private labels are on the rise, but the cheaper kilo blocks of cheese are also doing well. ”
Given the saturated market, there is still some room for market growth. The growth of a formula will happen through mergers or acquisitions, and in part due to the sharp increase in discount, advertising pressure is increasing. While service supermarkets could previously have a so-called ‘aldinative’ in their range, Lidl has made sure to match the price, especially in fresh goods and bread. Sloot: “Not online, but discount has been the biggest disruptor in the market so far. Very surprising that Lidl has been the best in fresh ingredients for 10 years. They also score well in other healthy groups. ” Despite the fierce competition, supermarkets are still profitable. “The big ones are a little more profitable than the small formulas, but with an EBIT of between 3 and 4 percent make money, but not as big as one often thinks.”

“We sell more fruit and vegetables than beer and chips” – Florian Brunsting from the flash delivery company Getir
Although online is not yet seen as a major market disruptor by EFMI and there is little room between the existing supermarket formulas, Getir surprises as a newcomer to the market. 18 months ago, they started with an app-only supermarket concept combined with super-fast delivery. The customer group is growing rapidly and on average Getir customers order twice a month for an average amount of 20 euros per order. Best selling product? No beer and chips but healthy products. “We sell a lot of fruit and vegetables. Bananas come first, and beer comes fourth. “

Getir reacts strongly to the convenience trend. Opening hours are from 8am to midnight. Customers no longer have to plan their purchases in advance, but get the products they need delivered within minutes. Sometimes within 2 minutes. Getir makes it easier to shop, but they also relieve the consumer in other areas. “The possibilities for convenience are endless. We do not have to stick to categories, but can also gather products to inspire, for example, put together all the necessary ingredients for a cocktail recipe that can be ordered with a single click.”

Incidentally, Getir not only makes money through a margin on the products they sell and by passing on delivery costs; as a data technology company, they can add extra value to suppliers. “The possibilities are endless here too. When Max Verstappen became world champion, we immediately sent a message to everyone who has ever ordered Red Bull from us, with the text: “Let’s celebrate Max’s world championship together. If you order a Red Bull, we’ll give you one for free. “

“Making the right choices” Marit van Egmond – Albert Heijn
Although Marit van Egmond had been asked to graft her story on the food trend Health, she also went deeper into G for Good Behavior. The news called for it too. Farmers’ protests at Albert Heijn distribution centers made it uncertain whether Marit van Egmond could speak at the conference. One of the many challenges out there for her as CEO. “Food plays a significant role in the great challenges that have arisen in our society. Unhealthy eating habits lead to prosperity diseases that leave an increasingly heavy mark on the health care system. More and more people feel lonely, experience pressure from the outside world and lose real contact with each other. This is reflected in social discontent and in differences that are magnified rather than bridged. In addition, there are major concerns about the impact of the current food system on the climate, biodiversity, animal welfare and producers’ living conditions. We can not continue on this path. “

However, Van Egmond does not want to focus on the problems, but on the choices made within AH. Kompass’ mission is: “Together make better food available. For everyone. “Better food for Albert Heijn consists of three pillars that reinforce each other: Better food is better life, Better food connects and Better food leaves the world a better place. One of the examples she gave was Better for chains. This year, a total of almost 700 products from all the different chain programs will be on the shelves, including more than 300 fruit and vegetable products. These partnerships are also aware of the earning potential of growers and farmers. working according to the sustainability program.For consumers, there is the FoodFirst Lifestyle Coach app that helps them start and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

From an economic point of view, Albert Heijn is doing well. “We are becoming a truly digital company and growing nicely. Online orders have tripled since 2019, and self-scanning already accounts for 70% of our transactions. ” She also mentioned the new collaboration with home delivery, where bananas, like with Getir, are in first place in order and ginger shots in place 3.

“The model for turnover per m2 is final” – Christiaan Rikkers – Jos de Vries Design
Although digital shopping meets a need, most people still go to the physical store for their groceries. How do you ensure moments of happiness during that shopping trip? The trick here is to translate the various destinations for the shopper’s convenience, ordinary and enjoyment to the store floor, whereby food service and food retail must increasingly be combined. Urbanization makes the place more important than things. It’s about experience. The model for turnover per. m2 is limited, that’s how we can not continue, «said Chirstiaan Rikkers from the retail design agency Jos de Vries (JdV), who showed examples of shopping concepts around the world. Experience can mainly be added in fresh food departments. JdV sees that the traditional fresh produce department is expanding with specialists on the floor and product groups determine the mood through, for example, branding.
Flexibility is also important in new store formulas that can be adapted to the shopper destination. Monday and Tuesday they will have convenience, on Thursday they will just have fun. For example, it requires mobile refrigeration furniture that does not produce residual heat in the store.

Call for action by Paul Polman – former CEO of Unilever
Finally, Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever, spoke to visitors from the UK via a ZOOM connection about his new book Net Positive. With this, he wants to start a worldwide movement and engage companies to develop sustainably. By becoming net positive, companies can help overcome the enormous challenges of climate change, raw material pressures and violent inequality in the world.

“A net positive business: improves the lives of everyone it touches, from customers and suppliers to employees and communities, while significantly increasing long-term shareholder returns. Takes responsibility for all the social and environmental impacts that its business model creates. It provides again opportunities for innovation, savings and building a more humane, connected and targeted culture.
Work with competitors, civil society and governments to drive transformative change that no group or company could achieve alone. This is not a utopian fantasy. Brave leaders are already making it happen – and the effort could not be greater, “said Paul Polman and co-author Andrew Winston. Companies that are active in the (agri) food industry, the fashion world, tourism and travel can make the biggest impact, said Paul Polman.

At the end of the conference, EFMI Director Laurens Sloot called on the food sector to come together to tackle the major challenges in reducing footprints. “Only together can trade, industry and the primary sector solve these major challenges. In this transformation, it is better to lead than to follow, and there are also many opportunities for added value. ”


Rob Banken (l) from Banken Champignons tastes Looye honey tomatoes


After the anniversary conference, the anniversary party kicked off

Photos: Jan Willem Houweling, In the picture

Leave a Comment