The agri-food industry also needs to boost innovation and make the value chain more flexible


Promoting sustainable agri-food models is key to ensuring the resilience of the global system, according to the McKinsey consultancy

This was explained to Europa Press by Ignacio Marcos, a senior partner at McKinsey

“The agri-food industry is at a time of multiple challenges that range from the need to promote sustainable models of production and healthier eating, through greater flexibility in the food value chain to new supply strategies and a necessary drive for innovation “, he has detailed.

The McKinsey senior partner has stated that the traditional growth model faces a fundamental revision due to challenges related to the disruption and fragility of supply chains, changes in consumer behavior and habits.

To this is added the imperative of sustainability and the transformation of consumer demand, which drives a change in the perceived value of the offer or the escalation of prices stressed by the current inflation.

“Companies in the sector therefore face the challenge of how to act to adapt to these trends, but, above all, how to create a new growth model that is not only profitable, but sustainable”, he declared.

Regarding the behavior of consumers, Marcos pointed out that they “increasingly prioritize health and well-being and are committed to more sustainable, local or healthy consumption”. “In Spain, for example, 42 percent of consumers already demand this type of food”, he has detailed.

According to McKinsey data, life expectancy could grow in the next decade by an average of six more years of life per person, and healthy eating, especially the Mediterranean diet, could play a key role.

This consumer trend, “increasingly widespread”, creates “opportunities to create new products, categories and even more sustainable and healthy business models”, highlighted Marcos.

According to the consultant’s partner, “sustainability is one of the key imperatives to ensure the resilience of the global agri-food system and innovation is one of the activating levers in the transformation towards more sustainable models.”

In fact, it has indicated that 29% of new global businesses in the next five years would be focused on sustainability. In the food, consumer goods and retail industry, the focus of this trend would be mainly on creating new lines of physical services and food products.

One of the sustainable transformation vectors facing the industry is a greater commitment to circularity with special emphasis on food waste. According to a McKinsey report

“With new supply strategies and the promotion of innovation and improvements in supply chain management, food waste could be reduced between 50% and 70%,” Marcos stressed.

On the other hand, he pointed out that the agri-food industry faces the challenge of greater resilience and flexibility in its value chain, which involves a relocation of supply chains: “In the next five years, between 15% and 25 % of production could be displaced to closer countries and Spain could capture a relevant part of this relocation”.

Additionally, the industry in Europe would have to undertake an investment of 600,000 million to carry out this transformation based on the axes of sustainability, digitization and talent retraining, according to Marcos.

Finally, he recalled that the transformation required by the industry has to involve the different actors, from the public to the private sector, including the consumer, in a coordinated manner to have a true impact on the transparency and resilience of the system.