Producers speak their mind

A survey conducted at the forum for food and drink businesses, organised by South West Food & Drink recently, revealed strong views from the industry on supply chain development and market connection.

Around 37% of delegates said they considered access to more knowledge about systems the most important aspect of supply chain development. While 23% scored new product development as the main factor, new technology and business advice also attracted 18% of votes.

Improved customer relationships were considered by half as the most important part of food production, although 26% argued that improving quality was more important. Driving down costs and improved supplier relations scored 12% and 10%.

Local sourcing was deemed the most important factor for market development by 49%, whilst 31% argued that improving communication was more important.

New markets did not score so highly with just 16% rating access to national and 3% to international markets.

Delegates expressed firm views on the future of farming and food saying connecting producers to the needs of consumers was the most important consideration (41%). Educating consumers on healthy eating and developing understanding of the links between food and the environment both scored 24%.

Market development and connection was seen as the most important issue for producers by 30%, closely followed by improved supply chain efficiency at 27%. On the skills needed by businesses in the area supervisory (30%) and managerial skills (26%) scored more highly than other areas.

Chairman Sir Harry Studholme commented: "We need to ensure that our proposed solutions really meet the needs of those living and working in the South West and to do this we need to get first hand input."

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