Bakery sector must focus on agility, stimulating consumption and understanding changed consumer behaviour to overcome COVID-19

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The bakery sector needs to be on its toes in order to overcome the long-lasting effects of the pandemic. Pic: GettyImages/Diego Cerro Jimenez
The bakery sector needs to be on its toes in order to overcome the long-lasting effects of the pandemic. Pic: GettyImages/Diego Cerro Jimenez

Related tags coronavirus American bakers association FEDIMA Bakery sector European commission EuroCommerce

The American Bakers Association (ABA), the European Commission and EuroCommerce joined the Federation of European Manufacturers and Suppliers of Ingredients to the Bakery, Confectionary and Patisseries Industries (Fedima) to discuss the challenges raised by the pandemic and the trends that were established.

The discussion followed Fedima’s first virtual General Assembly on 24 September, and gathered experts from across the industry, including Johan Sanders, president of Fedima, Robb MacKie, president and CEO of ABA, Blaga Papova from the European Commission and Els Bedert from EuroCommerce.

Consumer trust

MacKie said there has been a clear trend in the US in terms of packaging and food safety, and consumer trust stemming from COVID-19.

“It is essential that, as an industry, we build upon the momentum of the past months of renewed connection with consumers.

“This crisis is accelerating many processes and innovation trends in the sector, which is vital for maintaining the agility the sector has demonstrated during this pandemic,”​ he said.

Even more adaptable

Bedert from EuroCommerce - which represents federations and companies in the retail, wholesale and international trade sector from 31 European countries - concurred, stating the pandemic accelerated the speed of change and industry will have to be even more adaptable in order to recover from its long-lasting effects.

“Stimulating consumption will be crucial for retailers and producers, as will gaining a deep understanding of swiftly changing consumer behaviours. Adaptability across the supply chain and the distribution channels of bakery products will be the best way of ensuring that the sector will be able to respond to consumer demands more effectively,”​ said Bedert.

Poova said the Commission has been working on working on policies to relaunch the European agri-food ecosystem towards a green recovery and new digital opportunities.

“In the past months marked by the pandemic, we have worked even more closely with EU Member States to secure the integrity and proper functioning of our Single Market, which is our best anti-crisis weapon.”

Safety of bakery products

Fedima’s president Johan Sanders added, “We are delighted to have welcomed such an exciting list of panellists to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on our sector, providing a platform for fruitful debate on the challenges facing the industry and the multifaceted response that is necessary.

“Fedima will continue in its aim to support members on how best to grow in a sustainable manner, to inform consumers on the safety of bakery products, and to enable the sector to be resilient and innovative.”

Fedima is composed of national associations across 13 countries, representing an estimated of 24,000 direct employees across Europe, which together bring in approximately €1.600bn in annual turnover.

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