Bigger, bolder – and after 90 years looking younger than ever, the 2016 International Green Week in Berlin was a demonstration of the diversity of products and attitudes, as well as the richness and innovative power of food and farming worldwide. The elites and the masses convened to discuss hard farming and experience the technological advances of an industry with true global perspectives.
Below are my three key takeaways for the future of the food sector:
Flabbergasting Diversity Meets Global Anxiety: The International Green Week is a fascinating display of the vast and innovative power of the global food sector. Germany alone boasts 170,000 food products for consumers to choose from! This flabbergasting diversity at the exhibition was contrasted by a truly gigantic challenge: global agricultural production has to increase 70 percent by 2050. But, instead of succumbing to angst and anxiety, the exhibition was marked by a can-do mentality: precision farming and interconnected agriculture are the big buzz words driving the thinking and dynamics for tackling our common future.
Big Potatoes Meet Big Data: If there is one thing that epitomized the incredible changes taking place in the sector, it’s the importance of technology. And yet, there remains so much to learn from our Stone Age ancestors, whose basic approach was not to take more from the Earth than the land could sustain. Tomorrow’s hunters and gatherers will need to better understand environments, interdependencies and opportunities to optimize operations, while using as little resources as possible. In order to do that, modern farmers will need data, a lot of it, and they need to be able to analyze it well to reap the best results. In other words, “Big Data will yield Big Potatoes.”
Likes Meet Trust: The world’s largest food fair is also the traditional gathering of food activists, farmers, unions and scientists, business leaders and regulators – all fortune tellers who take to the streets and conference halls to drive their perception of what should be done to shape the future of food and farming. These groups will continue fighting, arguing and debating to generate mass support for their views. In the digital age, it is key to engage in a true dialogue to harvest those “likes,” while at the same time build trust in the sector to win stakeholders’ heads, hearts and stomachs.
Edelman’s communications marketing approach of Evolve, Promote and Protect will help our clients and stakeholders drive and motivate consumers and stakeholders to make choices that align with world need and enable better results.
Bernd Buschhausen is practice leader with Public Affairs at Edelman.ergo.