2016 was a busy and fruitful year for FoodDrinkEurope, despite the challenging political landscape. Looking back on the achievements and challenges clearly shows the progress and ambitions which drive our team and our members alike. In the past year, we were pleased to welcome 2 new members, ENSA (natural soy sector) and GB Foods.
Together with our Board, we secured the adoption of a new Roadmap for the coming years, to guide our work by setting ambitious goals for our sector, to highlight the role we play in the economy and to ensure that our sector’s views are taken fully into consideration by policy-makers during important discussions and decisions.
On the policy front, among the many activities that FoodDrinkEurope has undertaken, we:
• supported the nutrition and health agenda by contributing actively to the work of the Netherlands EU Presidency on food product improvement;
• developed a circular economy approach for the European food and drink industry;
• partnered with the food banks to develop joint guidelines on food donations;
• contributed to EU and international policy debates with contributions to consultations, expert positions, data collection, codes of practice and research & innovation initiatives;
• teamed up with our social partners to better match skills and jobs in the food and drink sector;
• promoted the value of SMEs in our sector through the Small Scale, Big Impact initiative.
Our communications strategy has helped promote all our initiatives with publications, events, websites like Eat & Live Well, Small Scale Big Impact and Ingredients for a Circular Economy. The general topics we work on were also highlighted in a series of podcasts launched on our website and supported by a strong presence on social media. FoodDrinkEurope’s Twitter account has gathered over 10,200 followers, which puts it in a clear lead among Brussels-based trade associations. The launch of our Facebook page helped create new channels to showcase our initiatives.
All of our activities would not have been possible without the commitment and engagement of our members, whom we would like to thank for their trust and support.
2016 also marks the year of increased (gastro-) nationalist tendencies across Europe, fragmenting the EU Single Market. 2017 is likely to bring more challenges and – given its importance for competitiveness, growth and jobs – we will focus particularly on the defence of the EU Single Market in the area of food and drinks. In this context, the challenge that Brexit poses adds another layer of complication for our industry on both sides of the channel. At the same time, Europe’s food and drink industry is as vibrant as ever, and ready to take advantage of the opportunities that 2017 may provide. FoodDrinkEurope will keep aiming for an environment in which all European food and drink companies, whatever their size, can meet the needs of consumers and society, while competing effectively for sustainable growth.
We wish you all a very Happy New Year!