Podcast
November 22, 2022

Digging into Sustainable Sourcing with Philipp Saumweber, Managing Partner at Sunridge Partners and Andy Farnworth, MD of Sysco

As a resource-intensive industry, heavily reliant upon fossil fuels, water and nutrients with a track record of being cash poor and risk-averse, the agricultural and food sector needs a disruption. In our conversation with Andy Farnworth, Managing Director at Sysco for the UK and Philipp Saumweber, Managing Director of Sunridge Partners and founder of Sun Drop Farms, we will uncover system trends towards a healthier product and planet, address the issues with conventional farming and unpack the opportunities for sourcing, production and distribution innovations.

Transcript

Saif Hameed:

This is Altruistic, where we speak with pioneers in the race to zero and unpack the lessons from their experience for you, our community of impact professionals. I'm your host, Saif Hameed. And in today's episode we are joined by two veterans of the food sector to dig into sustainable sourcing, and building or growing a future food system.

As a resource intensive industry with a track record of being cash poor and risk averse, it's clear that the agriculture and food sector needs disruption. In our conversation with Andy Farnworth, managing director at Sysco for the UK, and Philipp Saumweber, managing director of Sunridge Partners, we'll uncover food system trends, address the issues with conventional farming, and unpack the opportunities and challenges for new sourcing, production and distribution. Andy, Philipp, welcome.

Andy Farnworth:

Saif, thanks for having us.

Philipp Saumweber:

Thanks Saif, great to be here.

Saif Hameed:

Brilliant. I guess we just wanted to kind of start off with a couple of questions to really give the audience context around you as individuals, and where you've come at this topic from. So maybe just to get started with Andy. Andy, could you tell us a little bit about your role at Sysco, and Sysco's presence in the sustainability space, and where you come at sustainability from?

Andy Farnworth:

So my role currently is leading the fresh divisions within Sysco's operation in GB. That incorporates operating across four main categories, but with a dominance in fresh produce and dairy and efficiency food. We do also have some interest in other fresh categories such as meat and poultry, and some specialist ingredients as well.

Having been in the business for coming up to 17 years this year, I've been in the role that I'm in today for the last seven years, it's certainly something that's close to my heart personally, in terms of how a global leader in industry food services, we need to recognise the impact that we have on the industry as a whole, but also the impact that we've got on our colleagues, stakeholders, and communities as well. And I really see it as part of my responsibility and part of Sysco's wider responsibility that as that industry leader, we should have some bold plans in regard to tackling the sustainability of how the food is produced that we ultimately supply to our customers and partners that hits millions of plates a week across the UK food service and hospitality market.

Saif Hameed:

Fantastic. And Andy, in terms of success for Sysco on sustainability, what does that look like? For some companies it's very consumer led and it's about increasing consumer preferences and choice. What is it for Sysco? What is winning in this space? Yeah,

Andy Farnworth:

I think that's a really interesting question Saif, and very difficult to answer as well. So clearly we're at a really exciting place in where we sit in the food system. So connecting producers all over the world to the food that gets presented to consumers in and out of home setting. And when we actually look at our organisation, and if we looked at something like say carbon footprint and what our impact is on the environment, there's probably only really about 10% of our overall emissions that are down to direct operations at Sysco. Actually, a significant part of our impact on the environment actually occurs in the producer space, be it produce growing fields or fish being taken out of our seas, or even meat, poultry and dairy being reared on farms as well. So it's really difficult to say what success looks like. I think what success looks like for us, there's clearly a number of corporate measures and aspirations that we work towards.

Our strategy around sustainability is focused on a three pillar approach, which is people, planet, and products. And that's a global aspiration of Sysco that we work towards here in the UK as well. But I think what success really looks like at this stage is, that we are taking the right actions in order to deliver the most sustainable future that is possible. There's a number of measures and KPIs like I say Saif, but I think not just about what those KPIs deliver, it's actually about that holistic approach, and how that becomes part of our culture. That's certainly what it means to me in my role and in the businesses that I run and operate.

Saif Hameed:

We work a lot at Altruistic with the food and beverage space pretty much across the value chain. And as you can imagine, we frequently hear about the emission sitting somewhere else, and very often in the producers, or the packagers, or in different parts of the value chain as a whole. Philipp, you've built a career in being a producer, and across multiple parts of that journey. Whether it's Sundrop, for example, or Sunridge and the new role that you play now with companies that you acquire and help build and grow. As a producer and acquirer of producers, how do you think about sustainability as a driver of business value? And again, what does success look like for you in this space?

Philipp Saumweber:

It's a very good question, Saif. Thanks for having me here today. I think for us, the sustainability angle is really front and center of what we do. And I'd probably go a step further. I think we think about things in a regenerative manner, because sustainability means a lot of different things to different people, probably also as regenerative does.

When, I stumbled into the Food and Agry world in 2007. And what just struck me getting into this industry when you actually investigate how food is produced, I think most people would be shocked. A, by the scale, but B, also what the negative externalities of our food production system really are. And I think that if you're not paying for the true cost of what you're consuming today, you'll be paying for it either in terms of kind of social degradation, environmental destruction, or health issues down the line.

And so back to what we think is important in the production of food and all the companies that we partner with at Sunridge is, how can you think about holistically ripping up traditional playbooks in this industry? Because it is in many ways a very advanced industry, but in many other ways quite traditional. And if you can really connect the producer with the end consumer of food in a better manner, educate the end consumer of how it's produced, why it needs to be produced in a certain way, how it can be produced differently, then you can start to bridge some of these gaps around really producing in a manner that is long-term regenerative.

Saif Hameed:

And Philipp, I think that really came to life with Sundrop. Part of the value and appeal of Sundrop, I imagine to its retail partners, was around the story and the narrative. For those of our audience servers who aren't familiar with Sundrop, could you tell us a little bit more about what was innovative around the business model for Sundrop, and why it was such a compelling consumer narrative as well?

Philipp Saumweber:

Yeah, absolutely. So Sundrop was a greenhouse business that we set up in Australia, and really at the end of the day it comes down to business. And we were asked by one of the large food retailers in Australia to become essentially an in-house producer of high quality fruits and vegetables. And the only way we could do that to produce 52 weeks of the year and not succumb to these kind of hundred year weather events that were happening every two to three years in Australia and the retailers stocking out of these higher margin products that consumers wanted, was to set up a greenhouse operation. But the place that really allowed for year round production from a light levels perspective also happened to be an arid, desert-like region. And then in order to make sure that we had the necessary water and power, we had to desalinate seawater and get the power from a solar source.

So really what we were doing is we were solving a business problem around kind of a demand and supply imbalance, and at the same time ripping up the traditional supply chain of going through a wholesaler distributor to the retailer. We went direct to the retailer, and cut a long term supply agreement with them, and then we used best in class technology to solve issues around limitations of being able to grow that produce in that location and meet consumer demands, and that's really the crux of the business.

So in terms of how we grew, it was very regenerative, and we cut a lot of costs in the process, and produced a product that had lower or better unit economics than our traditional competitors. And it was painful to set this business up. Because it sounds so easy when I tell the story, but actually going through the whole process of trying to turn a traditional industry upside down and get people to think differently, was a long and arduous process, and some of the reason I have gray hair today. But it's that kind of thinking that I think you're seeing more and more of in our industry, that will lead to true change.

Saif Hameed:

Andy, in the situation that Philipp described with Sundrop, a big part of the value was really disrupting food service effectively, right? And disrupting the route to market between producers like Sundrop and traditional retail. At the same time, companies like Sysco obviously can also act as off-takers from producers, and can in many ways catalyze the types of changes that Philipp was describing in Australia. Do you see the potential for increased collaboration across the value chain in helping almost set up and encourage some of these sorts of marquee projects that can demonstrate increased sustainability? Is there any of that on your radar at the moment?

Andy Farnworth:

Oh yeah, sure. So to answer the initial question, Saif, can we do more? Can we connect the grower and the producer to the end user in a more efficient and effective way? I just happened to be with one of our major grower partners in the UK yesterday who produces a proportion of our soft fruit categories within the UK season. And I saw some things yesterday that sort of resonated there in the story that Philipp told about Sundrop. And I think there's a quite interesting factor that ultimately is critical to success in this space, and it is actually seasonality. So what was really interesting yesterday, is that I saw a UK producer who has a natural season of poly tunnel grown British soft fruits that would predominantly run into summer periods, let's say from May/June into perhaps this time of the year. You're really struggling with light levels and heat and other aspects that are critical to production beyond that point.

And we've got a demand because of how our consumers have been educated by retail and products availability over the past 20 years. We have a demand and we have a consumer that demands those products year round irrespective of whether they're being put on a plane from North Africa or sea freight and a road route from a similar or perhaps even further afield geography. And what those guys are doing there now in the UK is actually trying to find ways to utilise technologies and developments in agriculture over different ways of producing product to try and extend their season. And that's clearly a commercial opportunity for them, which is probably not great being a six, seven month of the year business, but equally that's also seen as a very positive move from a sustainability perspective.

But there are actually a whole lot of negatives to that move as well. And arguably the more sensible solution is that we don't eat strawberries and raspberries when they're not in season in the countries where we reside. Now clearly that's a very challenging sort of social aspect to the debate, but I just thought was really interesting there Philipp hearing you talking about the arid locations where you were looking to avoid weather and mitigate and create a really sensible commercial venture, which has got lots of benefits, but equally it brings some other potentially social and seasonal challenges with it as well.

Philipp Saumweber:

I think that's a really good point. And it's one that when we're setting all this up and frustrated that certain things weren't working from a technology perspective, you start to step back and have that kind of holistic questioning going on internally, is this all worth it, and why are we doing some of these things? We've owned a soft fruit previously, and our grower, one of the funny things he said is, we should just tell folks do not eat strawberries in winter, eat apples instead. They're easily stored and you get similar new nutritional value. But I think that's a very interesting thing to talk about, because we're doing a lot of jumping through hoops, to what end effect? And we could be solving some of the issues that I think you're referring to Saif, maybe just by some very simple shifts in consumer behaviour patterns.

Saif Hameed:

Yeah, I fully agree and in a slightly different vein, one of the interesting things that we found, and this is in the context of the data that our platform analyses from food businesses, is that often you've assumed that buying local is also going to be better for the environment. Whereas one example from one of our customers is that they buy tomatoes from the UK and from Spain, and actually the Spanish tomatoes are much lower emissions. Because even when you account for the logistics, the inherent conditions of growing the tomatoes are so much more favourable in Spain. And I think that switches of this type, whether it's around consumer preferences or buying from different locations at different times of year, are likely to be some of the quickest wins in this sustainability space, particularly for emissions, because there's not necessarily an economic cost that comes with it, right? It's identifying where something is better and when something's better to buy.

At the same time, there'll be a lot of interventions probably when you get past the low hanging 10% emissions reduction Andy, and you'll start to get to some really challenging ones, particularly for farmers and for growers. How do you think about helping farms to make the switch, let's say from conventional methods to more regenerative, or let's say more environmentally friendly methods?

Andy Farnworth:

Certainly not easy Saif. So I think there's a kind of push and pull in this as well, and you need to feel both of those forces from both ends of the supply chain. And by the way, we sit in the middle and therefore we have no accountability to this whatsoever. We absolutely need to connect these two things together by seeing both ends of it. And I think the interesting thing is, if you are a grower, producer, farmer, and specifically focusing on fresh produce, you don't particularly want to have to spray chemicals or pesticides on your crop because they're expensive, right? First and foremost. And then you've got to actually manage the process of doing it, and there are technical sides to that and all the rest of it, even if it is still materials that are regulated and allowed, you don't really want to do it.

You  have to do it in order to be commercially viable through delivering a relevant yield that makes you a living as a farmer and a producer. So we're kind of back to that sort of vicious circle, what breaks here and what changes. I think what breaks and what changes is industry leaders really starting to get behind this. And it kind of goes right back to the heart of your first question and what me and Philipp have both kind of endorsed in terms of our roles in the industry. And we certainly start to see, I think that push or the pull perhaps will probably come more from our customer base first and foremost. So it's not always, but it's generally a little more developed than agriculture. It's often more in the public spotlight and arena because it is on high streets or in venues where media attention is generally far greater.

And I think that therefore the responsibility and particularly through COVID, I think we saw a real shift in the approach and the prioritisation of sustainability as a whole, and lots of significant players, certainly in our space, and many other sectors as well, making a number of commitments towards their future goals. So that's certainly been a kickstart. We've got a real mixed bag clearly amongst our clients in terms of where that priority and where that focus sits, and obviously there are other external influences that will cause them to alter their course from time to time.

But we are definitely seeing a more considered approach, a greater interest into the sustainability of products, far beyond what it perhaps was five or six years ago when it was much more a box ticking exercise. Really starting to feel that some of our key customers and significant industry players now getting very serious about sustainability and to Phillip's point, understanding where food comes from, because I think education is a real gap as well. And we've certainly got a few different initiatives, one being a partnership in a regenerative farm in North Yorkshire with a large client, whereby we are actively starting to work towards some future ways of operating.

Saif Hameed:

A question on off the back of that and then maybe ask the same question to Philipp as well. Which is, from your experience now of selling to a very wide section, whether it's retail or hospitality more broadly, and the other customer Sysco serves, if you had to say on a one to five scale in terms of how keenly your customers are pushing you for either sustainability data or more sustainable products. Where let's say a one is really couldn't care less, let's just have the discussion around price and quality and timing. And five is not only do I care, but I'll put a little more money on the table to get something that's more sustainable. And then obviously shades in between. Do you have a sense of where we are today from your customer base, and maybe where you feel we're heading?

Andy Farnworth:

Yeah, it's so difficult to answer that really Saif, because we've got such a range of customers. So if you break it down to the spectrums of where we operate, we could have a hundreds of millions of pound spend customer at one end very disciplined, very high profile, and therefore the pressures of that could be different to a privately owned single restaurant operator on a high street or in a town somewhere near you in the UK, where owner is chef and proprietor and bookkeeper and everything to that business. And that's not to, by the way say that, I'm not saying which way round the focus is greater, because there are certain operators where clearly they could be a vegan establishment who are adapting their menu to change the impacts on scope three emissions of the food that they sell. That's something that we are certainly trying to champion from a commercial perspective as a produce business. That we definitely would like to see plant-based be far more successful, particularly fresh plant-based products, and that could be a way of a smaller operator being really visible, and really championing their sustainable message.

So there's just such a mixed bag that I almost couldn't give you a number. What I can definitely say is though in the last two or three years, and I do think it was triggered by COIVD. In our sector, we went from 5% in terms of our operating levels within the lockdown periods because food out of home was just not being served, particularly not in that first lockdown. People had time to think about their businesses and think about what was really important to it, and I would definitely say that has enhanced the wider profile of sustainability in our industry. The acid tests will be given the economic, political, governmental I could probably keep going in terms of the pressures that are coming onto organisations in that space at the moment. Will it remain there, is probably the bit to watch out for.

Saif Hameed:

Andy thank you. Philipp, maybe a variation of the same over to you. I've had the good fortune to work with you on one or two of the deals that you've executed on the Sunridge side, and I know that kind of as you build your thesis on a business that Sunridge is going to invest in, you consider obviously the levers that you can deploy to increase the value of the business. And I imagine some of those levers might now be affected by being able to capitalise on sustainability tailwinds, but then at the same time upon potential future exit of that investment, you might also be factoring in, is there a premium that certain parts of the market might pay for this investment if it's seen as an inherently more sustainable business? Could you maybe give a bit of colour just in very practical terms, how you're seeing those sorts of theses being tested and play out?

Philipp Saumweber:

Yeah, We view the initiatives that we work with our partner companies on in the kind of regenerative arena, whether that's around emissions or better treatment of farm workers, whatever aspect of that it may be it's just better business. And it's not done to polish the business a little bit and then hope for a better valuation down the road. I think we've probably reached a tipping point on a societal level where aspects around sustainability, whatever it means to whomever, are ingrained.

And a little bit to what Andy was talking about, right. For some consumers it's almost a given in what COVID has caused in terms of people, whether it's staying home more and watching more food programs, or cooking and starting to care more, or today inflation biting. Think about it, right. And if you have a certain amount of money at the end of the month to pay for things and food has just gotten so much more expensive, maybe you care a little bit more about what you're buying as well.

It's not just penny pinching, but am I driving the health outcomes that I want from my food? So there's probably more thinking going on in general in this industry around sustainability, and I think it's just absolutely front and centre of any business today to have this figured out and actually be at the leading edge of things. And so for us, this is front and centre of what we work out at the very beginning, is how can we create a truly sustainable regenerative business over a period of time, because it just makes for better business. And sorry to say this egotistically, it's self-serving over time. And all of our partners that we work with in the supply chain in many industries, we're providing the data and what we're doing from a sustainability perspective voluntarily, and they see that as very positively. In other sectors we're being asked for this, it's becoming the norm in many ways. And I think if you're not at the leading edge, you're just not at the leading edge.

Saif Hameed:

And Philipp, do you think that there are going to be certain, let's say subcategories within food, even almost at the in ingredient or the item level, that are going to be net beneficiaries, and obviously there'll be some net losers as well, right? But what are the categories that you'd really love to get into?

Philipp Saumweber:

We generally from an investment perspective, think about things in a very thematic manner. So first of all, we have all the macro and geopolitical overlays. We've talked to Andy, we've talked to folks who work at food manufacturing and food retail, and we try to figure out, where are your problem categories over the next 5 to 15 years? And then let's work back from there into the value chain and figure out okay, what's actually causing those problems and those demand and supply imbalances?

But to answer your question, probably on a more not too granular level. All the foods in our mind that are affordable to the average consumer, and have real long-term health benefits, are probably areas where we want to spend time. And so most of that tends to be in fresh produce, in fresh protein. I loved what Andy was saying about the kind of fresh protein space in general, not the heavily processed stuff. And there's some really interesting aspects of, how do you grow these, and how do you grow them in a manner where you're actually restoring the environment, soil health, and then you increase the nutritional value from that food by doing so? Those are some of the areas from a thematic perspective that we really like, is how can we produce quality food that has the right outcomes from a nutritional health perspective, that are affordable? And those are all areas that we're spending a ton of time on.

Saif Hameed:

Super interesting. And Andy, just as you think about some of the different trends, and Philipp mentioned a big nutritional push. But at the same time you have a trend towards organic, a trend towards free range. Do you sometimes find that some of these are inherently conflicting? There's a big discussion right now around for example free range versus low emissions, for instance. To whatever extent you want to weigh in on that debate, I'd love to get a sense for whether you see your buyers being a bit more nuanced in how they think about this, or is there just a general, this is a better product overall than this other variation?

Andy Farnworth:

The angle I'm going to use to tackle that one Saif is probably controlled environment agriculture. So that's quite a big sort of noise in our space right now. And I can see Philipp nodding as well, I'm sure he's had a number of conversations with many different people about this, and it comes back to what you were just asking Philipp then. So relatively small island, right, and we've got a growing populous of people who need to eat. And actually, a number of the sustainability actions, if you like, in conventional farming methods, will potentially reduce yields and make it harder for us to produce enough foods to feed future populations. So to feed the demand, which will then mean either we have to bring it from somewhere else, or it gets increasingly more expensive, and we have a whole heap of other social issues off the back of it. Indoor farming, vertical farming, aeroponics, hydroponics, glass house production, there's lots of different terms that you'll hear used around this.

But one of the kind of growing areas that we are really seeing explode globally really, but also here in the UK, is around indoor vertical farming. Which effectively means you take a traditional outdoor crop, and you will put it in some sort of indoor environment. It doesn't have to be glass, it would generally be a disused warehouse on an industrial state somewhere in the UK where there's kind of space, it's relatively cheap, and you will run growing tables predominantly for leafy based products at the moment is where the sort of explosion's happening. So fresh herbs or cut single leafs, not whole head, and you will run it under a series of UV lights in a very controlled environment, and it will give you phenomenal results in terms of water usage and retention. You don't have to add any pesticides, chemicals, controls to the crops or really clean organic crop, almost ready to eat actually as well in those categories, which is unusual, much higher value of nutritions, and an absolute kind of guarantee of yield.

So unless you have a blackout, which is quite an interesting scenario for me to paint, given our current situation, you will produce an amount of crop that you expect to do. So we think that's got a real part to play. We don't think it's a replacement for conventional farming methods, it's absolutely not that. We think it's something that could complement that, and we're working quite closely with a number of partners both here and abroad on this topic. But really interesting that the flip side of that is whilst there are lots and lots of benefits, it is another manufactured approach to producing food that does create some other offsets. So it uses a huge amount of energy, which given the current state of that market across Europe, is another kind of real challenge. So I absolutely think that as we explore these initiatives, that there's a trade off versus a benefit.

The other challenge is how those things are measured. It's generally get getting to a single version of the truth around what the metrics are. And I know this is something Saif that you do in your role as well in the industry, but creating that single version of the truth is another issue because you may make a decision thinking that you're going to add a whole heap of value on the one hand, and then on the other hand it creates some other implications.

So it's certainly not easy, that's how we are viewing it, but I think the evolution of agriculture system in the UK, it's absolutely happening, and I think it will be a completely different space in 10, 15 years time. I couldn't tell you exactly what that will be, but there's certainly lots of innovation and evolution going on out there, and lots of it geared up towards tackling just availability, guaranteed production, commercially responsible, but also highly sustainable as well.

Saif Hameed:

Yeah, I fully agree Andy. And I think as both you and Philipp referenced, with increasing transparency and connectivity across these value chains, we'll have access to better data and be able to start making some of those trade offs that can highlight what, help us make informed and intentional choices.

It may still be that we want to eat strawberries out of season, but at least we can know what we're getting into. For example, now the same will be true of a lot of vertical farming and indoor farming as well. My last question, which is the same question to both of you is, if you could highlight one thing that you're really excited about as a sustainability tailwind, one individual factor, and at the same time one particular headwind that's slowing us down, what is the piece that you're most excited about, and the piece that you're most wary about? Whether it's about industry practice or regulation, or any other aspect of this. I'd love to get an answer from both of you to that if I may. So maybe Philipp, to start with you,

Philipp Saumweber:

I think what I'm most excited about is the awareness that is building, especially at the consumer end. And I think this goes to what we were just talking about. The data may not have been there, the system wasn't transparent, the consumer was often purposefully left in the dark so you don't know how this stuff is produced. That is radically changing, and I think the awareness around where does food come from, how has it grown, and what did somebody put in there, what is beneficial for the environment, the people who are producing it, et cetera. How far away did it come from? We're past tipping point, right? I think it's only going to get more and more and more. And as firms like Altruistic and others are providing that information and the firms like Andy's are giving the customer that information, I think we'll make better and better decisions and improve the system.

I think if I had to point out kind of an area of disappointment, and it's something that we touched on earlier is, what are some of the biggest impediments to making changes? It's probably the way the system is set up today. So if I think about an individual buyer at a supermarket, they have very clear targets around price, around spec, and availability of product, often year round. And nothing else. Not how to make the system better, not how to think strategically. And that's okay, and that's nothing against buyers, but that's the way we're set up today. And I think some of the really interesting discussions around what needs to happen, unfortunately still happening at a very senior level. And until you've brought that throughout the entire value chain, throughout organisations, we're not going to see the pace of change that we might like to, especially as consumers. So I think that's probably still some, there's somewhere to go. But as we're building the awareness, as the metrics come in, and as people are incentivised to make decisions not just on price or availability but also on sustainability, we'll start to see more change.

Saif Hameed:

Fantastic Philipp, really thoughtful. Thank you so much. Andy, over to you.

Andy Farnworth:

Similar answers actually, but maybe slightly different angles on it. I think one of the things that I'm most excited about so, probably slightly selfishly as well, is the link to health and diet. That's actually, I think is probably one of the loudest voices in sustainability demand at the moment, because the positive impacts that that will have on wider ecosystem are pretty clear for all to see. We are really excited about our opportunity as a market leader working with best customers in the industry on the high street biggest known brands, et cetera, how we can influence the buying decisions that they make beyond those ones that Phillips just talked about. Clearly they're not going to go away, they're always going to be front and centre and a primary consideration for any buyer in any part of the supply chain. But how can we influence really sound menu choices, not just by seasonality in my strawberry example earlier, but also through actually ranging and menu and consumer choice to fit what is absolutely a changing habit that's developing in our consumers.

Our children are certainly eating very differently to how I did when my parents brought me up. Doesn't make either of those right or wrong, but it's a very different and more thoughtful way now that we present food to the next generation. So I think that's a huge opportunity for us, and I think that's a real exciting space where there's a lot of noise about that at the minute in the marketplace. It doesn't represent a huge amount of volume, but that's only going to grow, and then as it does, that means that will resonate through the supply chains because it'll become far more commercial for everybody involved.

So I think that's kind of my big excitement, my big kind of watch out and risk is similar to the one Philipp made, but I think it actually ultimately comes down to cost. Because, and taking it away from our industry a little bit and just thinking more about what lower income families can actually afford to do. The price of some confectionary items or products that may not be great for you in health terms that are likely also having a more negative impact on the environment as a whole, is very different to what it is to buy, say cut fresh fruit in UK retail, that the price difference is astonishing between a sort of chocolate bar and some fresh, prepared ready to eat strawberries that were grown down the road in the UK.

And until we can find a way either through better production methods or governmental actions around sugar taxes or health taxes or whatever they may be, I think that's going to be a continual challenge for us to really affect the entire society's choices around food, and give everybody the same opportunity not only to access healthy food, but also to have a positive impact on the planet as well.

Saif Hameed:

I think those are some really insightful points, Andy, and particularly relevant and resonant for the UK right now, given the cost of living crisis. Really appreciated this conversation with both of you. If I quickly summarise maybe, right I think you've both highlighted at multiple points the really powerful trends really that we're seeing from the consumer angle backwards, and the expectation that we'll increasingly see this filter through to buying decisions, also in business.

Whether it's the trend towards healthier produce and healthier food, but also the trend towards more sustainable food. That precipitates a need for a significant transition for business. That transition's not going to be cheap, there's going to be cost associated, there's going to be a complexity, a lot of that will be around data as well. And there's going to be a need for connectivity and improved connectivity and transparency across the value chain if we're going to have a hope of really addressing some of these changes and making trade offs in the right way.

And of course a massive need to involve growers and producers, which are often the source of, let's say parts of the problem, but even more importantly, bigger part of the solution. And really engaging them in driving better choices and better decisions to help consumers as well. Really enjoyed this discussion. Thank you both so much for taking time to be with us at Altruistic, and we'll be speaking with both of you soon I'm sure.

Philipp Saumweber:

Wonderful.

Saif Hameed:

Thanks so much.