Three experts from the field of new media, economics and Nestlé, one of the largest food companies in the world, presented their views on how agribusiness should respond to relentless commoditization and innovation for a growing world population. The comments were delivered at the Alltech 27th Annual International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium in Lexington, Ky.

Offering insightful opinions, the panelists commented on a variety of issues with topics ranging from adopting new media technologies, building new connections with consumers to utilizing the power of the World Wide Web to talk about food and its ability to connect people to food sources.

Tom Standage, business editor of The Economist and author of ‘A History of the World in Six Glasses’ and ‘An Edible History of Humanity’; Ben Self, Blue State Digital; and Hans Jöhr, Nestlé corporate head of agriculture, each discussed their ideas on how to engage the consumer. Standage said the opportunity for the food industry lies in new technology such as iPhone apps which communicate where food originates.

“Today, social media provides a tremendous opportunity for the food industry to build relationships with consumers in a way that no other industry can- through farm-to-fork traceability. Consumers have an interest in where their food comes from,” said Standage.

Self highlighted the importance of each stakeholder in the food chain from the producer to the consumer to the retailer in telling the story through new media technologies by making it interesting, memorable and relevant.

Hans Jöhr, corporate head of agriculture at Nestlé and director of the Sustainable Agriculture Alliance, addressed how the industry and all its stakeholders from the farmer to the retailer have a real opportunity to create a sustainable agricultural platform. “The real game changer is to understand that we are working in a finite world and that we really need to take care of our assets and how we utilize them so that we can produce nutritious food for everybody.”

 Presented in front of more than 2,100 delegates from 72 countries, the debate also posed timely questions:

  • What are the game changers as we move to feed 9 billion people?
  • How can agriculture do a better job in communicating its great stories?
  • How should companies use new media to communicate with the world?

Commenting on the debate, Alltech vice president, Aidan Connolly, said, “Modern agriculture has many stories to tell but the challenge is how to effectively communicate these stories. There is a world of opportunities available through new media technologies, which will allow each and every stakeholder in the food and feed chain to communicate messages quickly that connect with people’s emotions.  This presents a real game changer as we feed a growing population on finite resources.”

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Source: Alltech