Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit 2018: Day-Three Review

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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  • Following a late evening at the L’Oréal party the previous night, it was tribute to the inspirational speakers presenting on Day Three of the Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit that the main plenary hall was full from first thing in the morning.

    And with good reason. Ahold Delhaize chief executive Dick Boer kicked off proceedings in his last address at the Summit before retiring from the Dutch-based retailer, with a call for more collaboration among Forum members in order to address consumer health.

    “When it comes to healthy, why are we not spending more money on prevention,” Boer said. “We are in the business of food, we can promote healthier food, healthier eating. We have to not only talk about it, but do it.”

    Former Forum co-chair Boer, who following his presentation recieved a standing ovation, was then joined by Emmanuel Faber, the chief executive of Danone, a company that has also been at the forefront of encouraging people to live healthier lives with its ‘One Planet, One Health’ strategy.

    He called on those present to re-inject “a sense of purpose” in what they do, or face a consumer backlash. “We need to address this, or we will be the victims,” he said.


    Bricks And Mortar

    Next up was Alain Bejjani, chief executive of Majid Al Futtaim, which operates shopping malls, retail, and leisure establishments in the Middle East and North Africa, who offered an interesting appraisal of how the relationship between the physical store and the consumer is changing.

    “Bricks and mortar has a different role to play,” he suggested. “It is now the theatre, and not the place where the transaction necessarily happens.”

    Later saw presentations from ‘disruptors’ both old and new, with Sebastian Mejia of online delivery service Rappi outlining how the firm has created a opportunity “where one didn’t exist” in Latin America, and Masahiko Uotani, CEO of Shiseido, on how investment in the company’s people has helped the Japanese firm enjoy an impressive turnaround.

    Noting that the company’s market value has quintupled in the past few years, Uotani asked, “Who made this happen? Our people, the passion of our people, the enthusiasm of our people."


    Looking To The Future

    Closing the day’s events, and the Summit overall, was Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State of the United States, a timely choice given that week’s historic US-North Korea Summit.

    On the socio-political future of the US, where protectionism is on the rise under President Donald Trump, Albright paraphrased poet Robert Frost, by saying, “The older I get, the younger are my teachers”, noting that a rising tide of discontent among younger voters is an indication of a promising future.

    Similarly, the future looks similarly bright for the members of the Consumer Goods Forum, who look forward to next year’s event in Vancouver with a greater understanding of where the global shopper is heading, and how to meet their demands.

    © 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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