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The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit – Day Two Review

If the first day of The Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit was about testing the pulse of the industry, day two was about examining the ways in which retailers and consumer goods firms are adapting to an environment that is anything but normal.

Despite the L'Oréal party taking place the previous evening – with 80s rockers Simple Minds the surprise entertainment on the night – there was still a solid attendance for the opening plenary of the day, which featured Ugur Samut, co-founder of Gorillas, a quick-commerce operator that has shaken up the marketplace since it was founded just over two years ago.

As he explained, while Gorillas has become a poster-child for quick commerce, it came about through plenty of trial and error. The "single most important" trait you can have as a startup is adaptability, he said – you have to "adapt, keep calm and move on."

Musgrave Group chief executive Noel Keeley also addressed the morning session – as someone who took on his role in January 2020, his was a baptism of fire, as he explained.

"We feed one in three people on the island of Ireland, every day," Keeley said, noting that during the pandemic, the retail industry's relationship with shoppers fundamentally changed, "We realised that we don't just run shops or distribution networks – we provide the people of Ireland with food."

Panel Discussions

The day also played host to a number of panel discussions, with a conversation on 'Macro and Micro Trends' seeing input from SPAR International, Bel Group, IGA and McKinsey & Company.

Understandably, inflation was a hot topic of discussion, but is not the be all and end all – as Bel Group's Cécile Beliot-Zind noted, "I believe we should talk less about inflation and more with our retailers on how we can create excitement and moments of pleasure and playfulness to provide to families."

Following this, a 'Race to Zero' panel (pictured) also welcomed a number of heavy-hitters, including Tesco's Ken Murphy, Laxman Narasimhan of Reckitt and Ramon Laguarta of PepsiCo. All three argued that the business case for sustainability is "really compelling", not to mention vital in a changing world.

"I think the decision to decarbonise our companies is probably the most important decision that we have to make," Laguarta observed.

Carbon Neutral Strategy

Maersk's Vincent Clerc took part in a Fireside Chat in the run up to the lunch break, in which he outlined the challenges in implementing a carbon neutral strategy in a sector as complex – and legacy driven – as shipping. From 2023, the logistics giant will commence running ships on green ethanol, a potential game changer for the sector.

"We have moved from decarbonisation as a sustainability agenda to decarbonisation as a business agenda," Clerc explained.

Following lunch, Hani Weiss, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim Retail was next up for a Fireside Chat, explaining how the business has used data and technology to improve the customer experience, bolster sustainability and empower its workforce.

"We have witnessed multiple challenges," he said. "We need to move from our traditional way of doing business to a business that is much more about data."

The afternoon period saw breakout sessions on the changing role of the chief sustainability officer within a company, progress on the CGF Collaboration for Healthier Lives initiative, an exploration of the social impact of ESG initiatives and customer aspirations, as well as how businesses can use data to drive their business.

Marketing To Young People

Closing out day two, delegates were introduced to the next generation of food fighters, with Christina Adane and Jacob Rosenberg of Bite Back 2023 joining Danone's Ayla Ziz and Ahold Delhaize's Frans Muller on the main plenary stage.

In one of the most thought-provoking presentations of the Summit, Adane and Roseberg, aged 18 and 17 respectively, issued some hard truths on the shortfalls in food marketing from a health perspective, and how young people are being programmed to eat unhealthily form a young age.

"We live under constant bombardment of junk food advertising," Rosenberg noted, calling on brands to "repurpose" their marketing spend to promote healthier options, rather than "cheap, ultra processed foods."

Echoing that sentiment, Adane noted a "stark fact", that by the age of 11, "one in three is at risk from the food that they eat", such is the continued focus on foods that are high in salt, fat, sugar or harmful ingredients.

As they put it, the youth of today "have been left out of the conversation" around food marketing. In response, the CGF's Collaboration for Healthier Lives said that it is willing to engage with young people in order to change that dynamic.

Roll on day three!

© 2022 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest A-brands news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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