Tesco CEO Dave Lewis set out the complex and evolving challenges facing the UK food industry and called for the whole supply chain to work in partnership to grasp the opportunity to step-change the way we produce sustainable, affordable, healthy food for the UK.
Delivering a keynote speech at the annual City Food Lecture, a prestigious event attended by farmers, producers, retailers, wholesalers and their representative bodies, Lewis challenged everyone involved in the production and supply of food to come together to bring about ‘heavy duty, transformational change’. He urged the audience to do this by focusing the debate on ‘the 95% of what we agree on, not the 5% we don’t’.
In the speech, Dave Lewis said: “The UK food industry has done a great job of feeding the nation though many challenges. But the challenges we face today are complex and evolving. To overcome them, we must seize the future and change.
“Not simple incremental change, but heavy duty transformational change. The sort of change that means we all have to bring our expertise together and work in a very different way. To feed all of our nation, in a sustainable, affordable, healthy way.”
“I believe customers want businesses to make responsible decisions. Quite rightly they deserve higher standards and responsible leadership from all of us. They want us to make the right calls on their behalf.”
John Giles, chairman of the City Food Lecture organising committee, said: “Dave gave a stimulating, thought provoking and challenging lecture which generated a lot of debate. This is exactly what the City Food Lecture is all about.”
Dave Lewis highlighted a number of key areas where Tesco is already working in partnership with suppliers, Government and other organisations to collaborate more effectively, share insight and expertise and, in doing so, respond to the challenges facing the industry:
Farming and agriculture, including Tesco’s ten Sustainable Farming Groups in areas including dairy, pork, lamb, and poultry and eggs.
Food waste, including Tesco’s leading commitment to measure and publish its own food waste data, and its work to ensure no food fit for human consumption is wasted in its own operations by the end of February 2018.
City Food Lecture is organised by the seven livery companies involved with agriculture and food.