Freshfel Europe recently held its online annual event, celebrating its 20th anniversary and the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables 2021. The annual event, which was open to all operators of the fresh produce sector this year, brought together 8 high-level speakers during four sessions covering the possibilities for the sector to lead the way towards a healthy and sustainable future for Europe and beyond in the upcoming decade. The event also focused on the evolving work of Freshfel Europe as EU’s leading representative organism for the fresh fruit and vegetable sector.
In a three-hour digital event open to the public, Freshfel Europe celebrated its 20th anniversary and the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables. Four sessions were organized, with the participation of 8 speakers invited, who provided the sector with an overall critical view of the market and political opportunities to come, such as capitalizing on the goals of the European Green Deal, the new promotional momentum founded by the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables this year, the evolution of the financial landscape and the evolving needs of health- and technology-concerned consumers.
The participants included Beth Bechdol, deputy CEO of FAO, Hanni Rutzler, researcher in food trends at Future Food Studio, Cindy van Rijswick, main fruit and vegetable analyst at Rabobank, Lorena Luiz Ponce, food analyst at Santander, Claire Bury and Michael Scannell, deputy directors general of the European Commission of DG SANTE and DG AGRI respectively, Kai Krasemann, first president of Freshfel Europe, as well as Stephan Weist, current president of Freshfel Europe.
This year’s annual event covered a great variety of subjects from sustainability, consumer responses and expectations to financial support for the fresh produce sector. Stephan Weist, president of Freshfel Europe added that “after a long period of uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was important for all commercial operators to come together during the annual event in order to reflect on the issues shaping the fresh produce sector, including the new sustainability requirements, the rapid evolution of consumer expectations, as well as the economic and financial prospects. Due to climate change and the pandemic, we now find ourselves in a period of accelerated change at the societal and operational levels for the fresh produce sector. The annual event was an excellent opportunity to stand back and plan how we, as a sector, want the European and global trade of fresh produce to evolve in the next 10 years.”
According to Philippe Binard, general delegate of Freshfel Europe, “the annual event was a celebration of the association’s devotion over the past 20 years, bringing a strong and united voice to local, regional, national and multinational operators throughout the supply chain, from production to retail, regarding fresh produce at the European and international level. Over the next decade, the association will continue to act on behalf of its members as a sectorial organism representative of the EU in order to guarantee harmonious and sustainable operations, and to stimulate the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.”
The public conference of the annual Freshfel Europe 2021 event was preceded by the Freshfel Europe statutory annual general meeting open only to Freshfel Europe members and associate members. The Freshfel Europe 2021 activity report, covering the association's activities for the period of June 2020 to June 2021, was presented to the members and is available here.
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