‘We need to stick to being one Europe to overcome the supply chain challenges and fight inflation’: Fedima president

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

‘We need to stick to being one Europe to overcome the supply chain challenges and fight inflation’: Fedima president

Related tags FEDIMA Inflation Supply chain Energy COVID trends Russia-Ukraine conflict Wheat Sustainability Packaging

Johan Sanders, president of the Federation of European Manufacturers and Suppliers of Ingredients to the Bakery, Confectionery and Patisserie Industries is a believer that being one market will help the industry through its current quagmire of challenges.

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“We need to really stick to being one Europe,”​ Sanders told BakeryandSnacks when quizzed on the impact Brexit has had on the sector, noting that sometimes, we forget that “one Europe has given us great benefits.”

He’s an advocate that simplifying the rules will help the sector overcome supply chain challenges and most definitely will help us all fight “an inflation we have never seen before”.

“I was shocked by research done in the Netherlands that revealed that more than 50% of the industrial bakers are not [financially viable],”​ he told us, explaining, “the main reason is supermarkets are pushing suppliers [to keep costs down] to help consumers, but we know that industrial bakers are struggling with costs as margins.”

He added this is causing a dichotomy, with consumers wanting both their ‘daily bread’ and low prices,

“But they can’t have it both ways … and will result in players stepping out of the industry because it’s not viable.”

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Fedima’s​ membership is composed of 13 national bakery ingredients association across Europe – approximately 250,000 direct employees, collectively bringing in around €6bn in annual turnover.

“We’re more than 50 years old – or young, I should say – and our real ambition is to be the bakery ingredients platform that supports and grows the European bread and pastry sector,”​ said Sanders.

Improving sustainability in at the core of the association’s vision, committing to bring about a more sustainable bakery ingredient industry by 2025.

This was the focus of Fedima’s most recent General Assembly that took place in Antwerp in September, gathering members and stakeholders from across 13 European countries to debate issues like the crises facing the supply chain and what the future looks like.

“The real highlight was the joint discussion where we shared opinions and looked at trends,”​ said Sanders.

These included Fedima’s Position Paper for a Sustainable European Bakery Industry; its Vision Paper on Sustainable Packaging; and its survey findings on the social and emotional ties between Europeans and their pastry consumption.

“We were delighted to have welcomed speakers from across the value chain to discuss such pertinent issues for our industry,”​ said Sanders.

“With the combination of the energy crisis, food security issues and ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly important for our supply chains to be as crisis-proof and resilient as possible. This can only be achieved when all actors of the value chain come together to find innovative and creative solutions.

“At Fedima, we are exploring the many ways in which collaboration with other industry players can help us achieve our goals and the common goals of the sector,” ​he added.

Pastry consumption trends

Eating a pastry Georgijevec
Pic: GettyImages

Regarding Fedima’s study on Pastry Consumption Trends, Sanders said the pandemic caused consumers to gravitate towards the known and the comforting (staples) and away  from impulse-driven products, but this has reversed a little, “specifically now that travel is back on.”

However, he maintains “the past two years [have] seen a reduction in the speed of innovation and, I would say, to a certain extent, also the creativeness.

“I think that’s linked to the fact that people [in the industry] were trying to make the supply chain easier, but also [that during COVID,] consumers were looking for things they knew.”

He believes that, while inflation is making people a lot more creative, this behaviour will continue – “people going back to more basic food, and spending less money and less time on trying out new and innovative products.”

However, it’s not all doom and gloom, and Sanders believes the sector is still in a strong position to deliver ‘our daily bread’.

Listen to the podcast to find out more about Fedima, it’s vision and the future opportunities​ it has identified for the bakery sector.

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