Working collaboratively is more important than ever along the food supply chain, said industry leaders at a recent conference. At the BMO Capital Markets Farm to Market Conference held May 19 in New York, representatives from Cargill, General Mills, Inc. and Kroger Co. were asked how their relationships with one another have changed over the last several years and what factors drove the change, according to Food Business News.
Marcel Smits, chief financial officer of Cargill, Minneapolis, Minn., said he sees “massive change,” with more people than ever interested in what is transpiring from farm to fork.
“At Cargill we actually have visibility on what goes on at the farm,” Smits said. “So we have visibility all the way back to the origin of the supply chain. And that means that we’re doing very different things with customers than we used to do a couple of years ago.”
As an example of the change, he mentioned a collaborative effort with Minneapolis-based General Mills.
“Rather than looking at different elements of the supply chain, what we control and they control, we work together and collaborate and try to come up with solutions that cut across the supply chain,” he said.
Smits also said Cargill prides itself on being one of the contributors to the growth of the deli segment of fellow panel member Kroger.
“Last year when avian influenza hit we actually helped them (Kroger) to find new sources of turkey,” he said. “So the fact that consumers are asking lots of questions as to what’s going on in food and the origin where does it come from and how is it made and is it healthy leads industrial and food service and retailers to come to us and say we need to provide those reassurances to customers and consumers, provide us help with how we can do that.”
Building on Smits’ comments, Don Mulligan, executive vice-president and chief financial officer of General Mills, said it all starts with the consumer.
To read more, click here.