Why we all need to care about the food industry

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Before Covid-19, few would have considered the idea of ​​a country like the US running out of staples. Maize And baby formula, Since the pandemic, restaurants have closed, deliveries have exploded and consumer preferences have shifted. Changed, At the same time, supply chain problem What has become a new norm goes beyond empty shelves in supermarkets.

We’ll see the effect on the menu when we dine out Restaurant & Cafe, proteins, fryer oils, packing materials and replacement equipment are hard to come by as parts. Add to that mass resignations and industry-wide shortages chefs, food servers, farmer, farm hand And anyone working with food, and prices will keep going up. At birthday parties, weddings, even when business leadership wants to impress investors or celebrate team experiences with catered corporate functions, they’ll feel like they have a tight squeeze on their budget. food companies Support families and drive economiesBut since the pandemic, we’ve been learning the hard way how important a functioning food industry really is.

I may have retired from my day job, but I haven’t left the industry. In my new approach to business – as a consumer and an expert advisor, not as a CEO – I get to see a lot of it. Turns out, the industry of feeding people is huge. As I began to realize how many moving parts actually go into getting people their food, the set of ideas for improving quality and safety, and how deep all the moving pieces of a food business really go, Here are some that surprised me.

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bigger than breadbox

Restaurants may not seem like an integral part in a functioning economy, but they create jobs not only in in-house staff and management, but also in agriculture and transportation. in America alone, food industry drive It supports about 5 percent of total GDP, 11% of employment and 10 percent of consumer discretionary income. Globally, food consumption costs $4 trillion. When restaurants thrive, the food industry behind them thrives, and when restaurants crash, so do economy can go with it,

From the waitresses who serve our food to the chefs who cook it, the restaurant management and supplying truck drivers, farmers, brewers and distillers; Even technology innovators play an integral part of getting food on our tables, and each moving part comes with its own complexity. focus on ethics and sustainability Details at every production point, especially in times of economic downturn, can give companies a competitive edge in a struggling industry.

The three men who opened a beer garden in Pasadena, Calif. celebrate their food like none in the industry, considering every angle of each moving part to bring the most value to their consumers. They make sure their products are ethically sourced, use easily and locally available ingredients where possible, and buy everything from the right people. When consumers sit down to dine at their restaurants, they feel confident knowing and accepting every aspect of the financial support they offer.

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A cook is more than a cook

All my years of running a business in the food industry never prepared me for what I learned about serving on company boards. When I accepted a position on the James Beard Foundation board, I felt the company simply celebrated great cooks and focused on what I could bring to the rewards aspect of their business. Of course, being a James Beard Award-winning chef is the pinnacle of his brand, but being on his board taught me about the real work he does in supporting the chef’s journey.

The Foundation helps young cooks understand what more is needed than good cooking. They offer workshops and programs on the business side of being a chef. Skills training can keep them competitive and better quality equipment gives them more ways to prepare beautiful food, and each’s contribution helps them continue their craft. Suddenly, the conversation around the food industry expanded to include knife makers, tool makers, and cutting-edge culinary techniques.

Like many industries, cooks need more representation and the Foundation works to make the restaurant industry more inclusive. female makeup less than a quarter Because of the number of country cooks and, on average, they make more than $10,000 less than men, the foundation offers programs to support more female cooks in the industry. My experience on the Foundation’s board drew my attention to the relationship between food and key social issues, such as diversity and gender equality. Knowing all the intricacies of being a chef opened my eyes to just how big the food industry really is.

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We can run the industry better

Working for a huge franchise, it may seem like I’ve learned everything there is to know about the food industry, but now I’ve got to learn how to do it better. Since retiring, I’ve started consulting, looking at the industry at large, and now get to advise on aspects I never had time for as CEO: commodities. Vertical integration, competitive procurement and global markets. Consulting gives me even more ways to see and participate in an industry I’ve always loved and lets me offer my years of expertise to the next generation who will lead that industry’s innovation.

This may be huge and important to our economy, but there will always be new ideas to make the food industry and everything connected with it bigger and better. consumer demand Sustainability continues to drive and I like to see the transition as people pay more attention to the trend, making it less expensive and easier to participate and scale. I visited a new paper plant producing sustainable packaging items – a development away from plastic and an exciting new direction for the industry. The beauty of business is to see that the new generation take what they have done well and do it in a better way. In this way an industry not only grows towards greatness, but also flourishes.

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