GET TO KNOW: MICHELLE ADELMAN FROM ACCITE
We had the opportunity to ask Michelle a few questions on the food and beverage industry before FoodnNext. See what she had to say:
FNA: What do you believe has been the key change in the F&B sector over the past five years?
MA: The swing back to local and fresh food. My parents and grandparents lived off a farm-to-table experience, but in the 70’s we shifted to more industrialized, processed food. I believe the pendulum has been swinging back to local, fresh, “real” food. Whether you look at the surgency of boutique distillers, gastro-pubs, organic and vegan foods, or processed food safety scares, consumers are being increasingly cognizant of the source and quality (not just cost) of the food they consume.
FNA: Where do you see the three key challenges driving innovation in the industry over the next five years?
MA: In Sub-Saharan Africa I believe our 3 big challenges are: (1) fighting malnutrition by delivering nutritious and affordable food to the mass-market; (2) finding more environmentally sustainable ways of producing protein; (3) transforming the agricultural supply chain to transform small holder farmers into value-added contributors. Each of these challenges is a mountain unto itself. I’m seeing a lot of innovation in food technology to address (1) and (2) – but (3) is the hardest. It will require all of us in the industry to have the strategic and moral intent to engage small holder farmers and youth in productive agriculture and food production.
FNA: The F&B sector is undergoing huge change. What are the three tips you would give for success in the coming five years.
MA: I think there is one major theme: don’t be insular! My biggest observation from being on the ground in food and agriculture in Africa for the past 7 years is that we are very inward looking – both in terms of agriculture techniques, but also consumer behavior. We need to look for global trends and best-in-class technology and apply them in our African context if we are going to grow with the world and find creative solutions to our challenges. Whether be attracting international high-value tourists with a F&B experience they want (not what we want), looking at urban agriculture technology (and applying it in our African context), or getting on the “boutique” food bandwagon (with a view to export and international markets), we need to look beyond what we know and be willing to explore alternative points of view.
FNA: Which type of people do you believe would gain the most form attending your session this year?
MA: Ideas and inspiration!