Food demand jump creates opportunities for industries: consultant

04 June 2013 00:08  [Source: ICIS news]

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (ICIS)--Some $2,000bn (1,500bn) of new food demand will be created by 2020 thanks to the emerging middle classes in Asia, creating opportunities for US farmers and petrochemical manufacturers, a US-based consultant said on Monday.

Meeting that demand will involve continued improved technology, a focus on what food customers want and the building of a “systems of trust” so that those customers feel confident the food they buy is safe, said Thomas Dorr, a consultant with Accenture and the former undersecretary of rural development for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Dorr made his comments on the sidelines of the American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) annual meeting.

Increased demand from Asia will require US farmers and food packagers to better tailor their products to what customers want, he said.

That will be a change from the commodity-driven markets that have developed in the US over the last 150 years, he said. New food demand cannot be shoehorned into the commodity system but instead tailored to what customers want, he said.

 “What they’re going to want are precisely defined two or three ounce pieces of meat that are separately packaged products that have a relatively long shelf life that are ethnically accommodating or ethnically acceptable that have the kind of texture and quality of taste," he said.

Dorr pointed to a study that said that by 2040 some 70% of the middle-class homes in Asia will not have typical cooking kitchens in them, as the families opt instead for more living space. Hence, food producers and packagers will need to make items that are pre-cooked or that can be cooked in a microwave, he said.

Food producers and plastic packaging makers can help build trust with these new customers in regard to food safety by implementing better tracking of the products through the production chain, he said. That will involve more cost, but Dorr believes that also will add value to the end product.

“That customer knows that these two ounces of prepackaged fish or pork or poultry, and they know exactly where they came from, and they know that they are safe in the context of developing new systems of trust, that actually adds value,” he said.

The ACC annual meeting continues through Tuesday in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Jeremy Pafford
+1 713 525 2653

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