Eaton – who has chaired our panel of judges for the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards for the past three years in a row – highlighted the long-term and short-term challenges affecting the price of raw materials at this years’ Business Leaders Forum, sponsored by Columbus.
In the long-term, manufacturers need to be wary about the effect of climate change will have on their business, while in the short-term businesses need to be wary of how the war in Ukraine could affect the food and drink supply chain.
Specialists in the business
Eaton advised manufacturers top pinpoint the people within their businesses that had the best handle on these types of challenges in order to build resilience, “both in terms of dealing with short term shocks, but also having a supply chain that properly deal with long term systemic issues of climate change”.
He also highlighted the importance of working with suppliers in a much more engaged way to ensure everyone was on the same page when it came to tackling climate change and dealing with short-term disruption.
“That’s a lot to do with diversifying our sources of supply, to make sure they aren’t over reliant on any one particular area,” Eaton added. “Because we never know where the next risis is going to come from.”
Eaton went on to discuss packaging costs and how his brand was able to completely switch from plastic to cardboard and how it supported the ‘all natural’ messaging the brand was trying to convey.
“The really good thing is that our shoppers and consumers have been so supportive of that move, so I would encourage people to take the brave move and take plastic out wherever we can,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, a sense of togetherness and camaraderie, as well as the potential of automation to help upskill the workforce at the same time as boosting production, were key takeaways for Wyke Farms managing director Richard Clothier from Business Leaders’ Forum 2022.