The Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network offered almost 40 events in the 2019 calendar, in addition to numerous offerings for discounts and admission to events offered by our industry partners and members! In 2020, we have focused our offerings to approximately 30 events designed to address "of the minute" topics that are important to our industry. Make sure to mark your calendar starting January 16th, 2020 so you can be a part of the conversation. Access the events here.
Divestiture activity has increased across industries, with many companies increasing their focus on repositioning their portfolios. Much of the divestiture activity in consumer and retail is coming from food & beverage companies. Facing significant headwinds, including emerging brands that are gaining shelf space, legacy consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) realize that they need to streamline and focus on their core competencies, hence the rise in divestiture activity in the food and beverage industry over the last four years. Millennials, who will soon overtake baby boomers as the generation with the most discretionary spending power in the United States, are less brand-loyal and more focused on value than older generations. Click here to access the report.
Learn more about the U.S.-U.A.E. Business Council’s Food Security Mission to the U.A.E. This U.S. Department of Commerce-certified trade mission will take place from 16-20 February 2020 and will coincide with the 25th edition of Gulfood in Dubai, the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade exhibition.
During this mission, participating companies will have the opportunity to learn more about the U.A.E.’s bold new initiatives in food security and production as well as potential partnership opportunities.
Our weeklong mission will include high-level meetings in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi with U.A.E. Ministers of Food Security, Advanced Sciences, and Artificial Intelligence; U.S. Embassy & Consulate officials; as well as key executives from leading Emirati private and public sector companies such as Mubadala, a $250 billion U.A.E. sovereign wealth fund. It will also include visits to the Gulfood conference, Emirati farms, food safety centers, and universities.
Last week some of you braved the early morning snow to join CFBN and our distinguished panel of speakers for our Data Disruption breakfast - a look at how new technologies, data, and analytic tools are shaping and changing the value chain for food and beverage companies.
For food and beverage companies - whether still growing or an established CPG - the topic has multiple impacts and the panel stressed the importance and challenge of integrating data (in real time, no less) into your daily business operations. Data intelligence - how our industry gets up to speed and integrates technologies and tools (like AI, BI tools, blockchain, transparency tools, and manufacturing tools) - was a crucial common theme throughout the conversation. With all speakers final insights touching on integrating data learnings into the work of all your team members as they attempt to gain speed and a leg up on the competition.
Final thoughts shared included: the importance of transparency both for the consumer and the process holder (Martin Lutz, ProleiT); the need to understand new data privacy laws and protections that consumers are demanding and states are regulating (Colin Kerr, Bank of America); the importance of food brands using all the technologies at their disposal to attract, connect with, and communicate their ideals to the consumer (Shruthi Chandramouli, Enjoy Life Foods); and, the coming cross pollination of technologies and industries in the marketplace and how this will help us all to advance, as well as the needed low end disruption predicted for BI and business visualization tools (Stephen Mancini, Cohn Reznick).
Thank you again to our panel of insiders for sharing their early morning thoughts - looking forward to seeing what 2020 holds for data and technology advances for our industry!
"Everyone in the food industry is aware of some of the big multiples paid for early stage branded food companies over the last few years. Exit valuations as high as 6- or 7-time sales have been seen. This has caused a large number of entrepreneurs and funders to create companies searching for these exit valuations. New Food Strategies has noticed some recent developments that will make these high-priced exits more and more difficult." Read more here.
"Brands are expected to 'go back to basics' by incorporating essential nutrients that support physical and emotional health, while also featuring ingredients like adaptogenic herbs and CBD. The report said functional beverages will be 'next generation,' addressing multiple needs to help consumers achieve emotional and physical health goals." Read more here.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday issued 15 warning letters to cannabidiol (CBD) companies and updated its advice for consumers to follow while regulations are developed. Citing numerous safety concerns and a lack of scientific information, FDA said it cannot recognize CBD as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for use in human or animal food.
"The market for beef-like plant-based burgers is growing increasingly competitive as brands recognize the burgeoning consumer demand for new versions of their favorite foods. Brands are in a race to win over flexitarians who increasingly see plant-based foods as better alternatives to animal products at least some of the time, whether out of humane, environmental or health concerns. And quite often, these consumers only want to make those changes if they can do so without sacrificing the taste and texture they expect from their favorite indulgent foods. Nestlé aims to feed that craving by building on its recent plant-based burger launches with the roll out early next year of vegan cheese and bacon options that will give eateries a way to offer plant-based bacon cheeseburgers that won’t make customers feel like they’re missing out." Read more here.
You’ve worked long, hard hours for years to make your place in the food and beverage industry, but now it’s time to move up in your career and find a new position. There are plenty of ways to start the search, including working with headhunters and scanning job boards for something that might be right for you. Though, why should you spend money to make money? There’s a trusted, award-winning recruiting firm ready to help you for free! Read more here.
Chicagoland Food & Beverage Network
1 W Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Tel (312) 525-9653