Both the concentration process and changes in consumer proclivities are accelerating, requiring more flexible corporate structures and innovation. Ever shorter and shorter product life cycles constantly generate new challenges in a market characterized by increasing risks.
Because of competitive pressure from other large food and drink producing nations, anticipating the consumer needs and attracting follow-through investment have become a priority. Therefore, innovative strategies for products, process and systems developments are of high importance.
In the European environment particularly, where globalization and concentration are intensifying, competition, innovative approaches and risk awareness are in demand - with a focus on international brands. Also, the retail sector with its brand names is shaping business in the food sector to an increasing extent.
The food-processing industry is also coming under heavy pressure from retail-sector chains, which attempt to pass on the price pressure from the market to the industry - and at the same time globally active retail-sector chains are increasingly pooling their purchasing power. These developments will further increase the degree of concentration among producers.
Changes in the sector are not only commercial: they also relate to the legal environment. Producers are facing more rigorous legislative requirements at national and EU level, reflected in additional product-labeling regulations with regard to origin and content. European harmonization and changes in EU agricultural policy will reduce subsidies in the years ahead, which will have the effect of emphasizing price competition.
At KPMG in Belgium, we work with a number of leading food and drink businesses to help manage business and technology risks and increase competitiveness by creating, releasing and protecting value.