Professor Chris Elliot told the #foodfuture discussion today that the 65 million middle class chines people are ceasing to trust their local food supplies. They fear food contamination from their potentially polluted land (which may be affecting young Chinese people – including falling IQ’s).
As the middle class grows globally there will be competition for good safe food and we may lose that competition, as Parveen Mehta also told tonight’s event
Every sector of the food industry is facing challenges. If you’re agile and have the financial capacity you can hedge your bets.
British businesses are having to choose where to produce, here or abroad, with little information. The uncertainty of brexit is making that decision tricky.
Businesses can choose to start building relationships outside the EU, but at the moment their business decisions are made under EU rules. They can’t have a solid negotiation until they know the rules.
SME’s are though exporting because the weak pound helps them.
Labour is possible a bigger problem. Whether it’s grown here or processed here you will need people.
The lack of understanding about how food is produced is the same as the lack of appreciation of the labour market that makes it happen.
Do you need people to serve food – can robots serve food? McDonalds have already automated a large part of the process. You won’t want to be served by a robot when you eat out? Why though – why won’t people change their appreciation of that. There will be fewer people producing food. A machine can make a pizza – it know what to put where.
Street food and independent restaurants will stay focussed on the people – that’s the experience.
Already the retail sector is reducing the number of employees (a figure of 6 per cent in the last year).