On November 27th, the final conference of the FoodNet project was held in Liège in Belgium. On this occasion, the project partners shared the results of the project.
The FoodNet project comes to an end. Nearly two years after its start, the project partners from Poland, Latvia, Romania, Spain and Belgium wanted to share their result. The general title of the conference was “How can food and logistics companies work together to conquer new markets?”. The aim was, with an eye on the activities performed during the project, to sketch the success factors for food companies wanting to tackle far markets such as China, Canada, USA and the Middle East. To cover this broad topic, the organisers gathered around 15 speakers from seven countries who shared their experience.
Following presentation of the project and its general objectives all the project partners shared their experience and the knowledge they acquired through the project.
After this, different speakers tackled the subject of the challenges for food companies when entering new markets. Pierre Heymans (Walloon Export Agency – Belgium) showed that many food producers are SMEs and have huge difficulties when serving these markets. One of them is their lack of knowledge in supply chain; this brings them to underestimate the logistic difficulties to serve these markets. Another one is the difficulty to adapt production levels when confronted with an increasing demand. Many European companies insist on the quality of their products and are mostly reluctant to lower the quality in order to ensure a mass production. Guna Miskarova (Baltic Business Centre – Latvia) showed the importance of identifying the right product mix and to identify the right buyers for this product mix. She also showed the importance of choosing the right brand and the importance of EU quality labels. Rezhen Harun (University of Sulaimani – Iraq) took the example of Iraq and the habits of population when buying their food products with a mix of local markets and supermarkets. Finally, Philippe Mairlot (Magemar Group – Belgium) shared his experience of selling Belgian food products in China.
The next workshop was about the KPI’s that clusters and metaclusters should use to demonstrate their value. Bianca Muntean (Transylvania IT Cluster – Romania), recently elected as EU Cluster Manager of the year, shared her experience about setting up a metacluster in Romania. A special guest, Cristiano Almeida (Federal University of Goias – Brazil) shared his academic work on developing a set of indicators to monitor the activity of logistic clusters.
Logistics players were also invited to share their views on how they can support food companies to achieve their export strategy. Normund Krummins (Latvia Logistics Association) showed the procedures used in Latvia to ease the handling of Cargo. Gauthier Morel (STEF Belgium) explained how logistic companies are now entering new kinds of partnerships with their food customers and try to build long term relationship.
This event took place in the framework of the Riverdating event that gathered more than 300 participants; the FoodNet conference gathered around 50 participants physically and through Facebook Live.
All conference presentations can be found below: