food law

Summit Explores Critical Role of Food Law

Author Avatar

Updated on April 29, 2024

View transcript

It’s startling to consider that an estimated 10% of food worldwide could be counterfeit, according to the Global Food Safety Initiative. This striking fact underscores the essential role of food law and the need for its rigorous implementation.

The upcoming summit on the critical role of food law promises to explore the nuances of this vital topic. It’s not just about fraud prevention – it’s about consumer safety, industry credibility, and even the health of our tourism sector.

So, how are regulations evolving to meet these multifaceted challenges? The summit is set to reveal insights that could shape the future of food production and regulation.

Understanding Food Law Practice

httpss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0E7zMFhCjs&t=10s

Diving into the realm of Food Law Practice, it’s clear that this speciality doesn’t just dabble in food business consultancy, but also navigates the complex waters of food labeling, composition, crisis management, recalls, and fraud prevention.

Experts in this field need to stay abreast of food law regulations, ensuring compliance to prevent severe consequences. They’re tasked with managing crises, employing techniques designed to mitigate damage and restore public trust. This could involve managing product recalls or implementing fraud prevention strategies.

Furthermore, they’re instrumental in investigating and exposing food fraud, preserving the integrity of the industry.

As such, the role of food law practitioners underscores the need for a harmonious blend of legal acumen, in-depth industry knowledge, and crisis management skills.

Role of Food Technologists and Scientists

food law

In the intricate web of food law practice, food technologists and scientists play a pivotal role, operating at the intersection of science and law to ensure the highest standards of food safety and quality. They’re tasked with comprehensive ingredient analysis, sifting through complex food compositions to identify potential hazards.

Their expertise in microbiology, chemistry, and engineering allows them to adopt innovative methods to detect contaminants, thereby maintaining food safety. They also contribute to formulating regulations by providing scientific evidence for potential risks associated with certain food ingredients or processes.

Thus, food technologists and scientists serve as a vital cog in the wheel of food law practice, upholding the integrity of the food industry and protecting consumer health.

Variations in European Food Regulations

food law

Navigating the labyrinth of European food regulations often feels like an intricate dance, given the unique rules that vary from one country to another. The European market dynamics are as complex as they’re diverse, with each country’s food laws presenting unique regulatory compliance challenges.

For instance, food labeling requirements differ significantly across the continent, causing friction for businesses. The variations in allergen regulations further complicate matters, requiring a detailed understanding of each country’s specific rules.

It’s a dance that demands finesse and deep knowledge of the regulatory landscape. However, the reward is access to a market that’s rich and varied, offering opportunities for growth and expansion for those who can master the steps.

Impact of Protectionist Policies

While mastering the intricate dance of varying European food regulations can open up lucrative markets, businesses must also grapple with the impact of various protectionist policies put in place by individual countries. Such policies, intended to safeguard domestic industries, often create economic implications by imposing trade barriers on foreign goods. These obstacles can alter market dynamics, creating a costlier, more complicated landscape for exporters.

Simultaneously, they can stimulate local economies by promoting domestic production. Hence, understanding these policies is crucial for businesses, as they directly affect the profitability and feasibility of market entry. The challenge lies in navigating these complexities while maintaining competitive pricing and product quality, a delicate balance that underscores the importance of proficient legal guidance in the food industry.

Exporting Food Products to the US

Breaking into the American market presents a unique set of challenges for European food exporters, especially in terms of complying with the US’s stringent labeling regulations. These import regulations necessitate a thorough understanding of the American consumer mindset and dietary preferences, requiring European exporters to adapt their packaging and labeling accordingly. Failing to do so can result in potentially costly legal and branding repercussions.

Moreover, it’s crucial to stay abreast of market trends. The US food market is dynamic, with consumer preferences constantly evolving. Understanding these shifts can help European exporters tailor their products, ensuring they remain appealing and relevant to American consumers. Therefore, navigating the complex landscape of US food laws and market trends is key to successful exporting.

Differences in Allergen Regulations

food law

In the realm of international food trade, mastering the intricate differences in allergen regulations across various regions is a crucial factor for success. Global harmonization of allergen labeling is a sought-after goal, but the reality is a complex web of varying rules that demand expertise and diligence.

Achieving regulatory compliance requires not only understanding these regulations but also implementing thorough allergen testing. These measures ensure the safety of consumers and protect businesses from potential legal complications. Conversely, discrepancies in allergen regulations pose challenges, making harmonization a necessity.

As these laws evolve, businesses must keep pace, incorporating changes into their operations. This dynamic landscape makes the knowledge of allergen regulations an indispensable tool in the world of food trade.

Introduction to Italian Food Products

food law

Italy’s food production industry, renowned for its wine, cheese, and meat, has significantly influenced the country’s gastronomic reputation worldwide. These products, the heart of Italian culinary traditions, aren’t only gourmet delights but also reflections of Italy’s rich culture and history.

The intricate processes behind their creation, honed over centuries, yield flavors that are uniquely Italian. From the robust wines of Piemonte to the creamy mozzarella of Campania, each region contributes distinctively to Italy’s gastronomic mosaic. The country’s sweets, chocolates, and other delicacies further underscore its culinary prowess.

However, this reputation doesn’t come without challenges. Ensuring authenticity and maintaining the quality that the world has come to expect from Italian products is a constant focus within the industry.

Italy’s Competitive Advantage in Food Quality

food law

Navigating the complexities of food production, Italy’s adherence to stringent quality standards gives it a competitive edge on the global stage. It’s not just about the taste, but the assurance of safety and integrity that comes with every bite of an Italian product.

This commitment to quality, deeply rooted in Italy’s culinary heritage, is a significant factor in its global market competitiveness. Italian producers are keenly aware that their reputation, built on centuries of gastronomic excellence, is their most valuable asset.

They invest heavily in maintaining high standards, from the quality of raw materials to the meticulous crafting of products. This dedication translates into an unparalleled gastronomic experience for consumers around the world, reinforcing Italy’s preeminence in the global food market.

Connection Between Food Industry and Tourism

Undeniably, the food industry and tourism are intertwined, often driving each other’s growth, particularly in regions renowned for their culinary heritage. Food tourism trends show travelers seeking out destinations not merely for sightseeing but for authentic culinary experiences.

The food industry has capitalized on this, creating immersive experiences from farm visits to cooking classes. These unique experiences serve to both boost local economies and preserve cultural heritage. The symbiotic relationship between the two sectors is evident.

As the food industry innovates, it creates new attractions for tourists. Conversely, the increasing demand from tourists for gastronomic experiences spurs further growth and innovation in the food industry. Thus, understanding this interconnection is vital for sustainable development and mutual growth.

Impact of COVID-19 on Food Tourism

food law

How has the COVID-19 pandemic, with all its unforeseen challenges, affected the vibrant intersection of food and tourism?

The economic impact has been profound. With travel restrictions and safety regulations in place, food tourism, an industry once buzzing with activity, experienced a sharp downturn. Regions known for their unique cuisine and wine, like Piemonte, faced unprecedented losses.

However, the industry isn’t without recovery strategies. Stakeholders are now harnessing the power of technology, promoting local culinary experiences virtually, and focusing on safety protocols to regain tourists’ confidence. Despite the challenges, there’s a silver lining: the pandemic has pushed the food tourism sector to evolve and adapt, setting a new course for its future.

Role of Cooking Schools in Tourism

food law

Peeling back the layers of the culinary world, cooking schools play a pivotal role in the tourism sector, drawing food enthusiasts from around the globe to explore unique gastronomic experiences. Through culinary education, these institutes provide a gateway to the rich tapestry of local cuisine, fostering a deeper understanding of a destination’s culture and gastronomy.

The immersive cooking courses cater to a growing trend of travel for culinary experiences, boosting the hospitality industry. Cooking schools not only enhance the allure of a locale but also contribute to economic growth. By offering hands-on culinary training from local chefs, they infuse the tourism sector with a vibrant, unique allure that appeals to gastronomes worldwide, underscoring the symbiotic relationship between cooking schools and tourism.

Understanding Supply Chain Management

While the allure of cooking schools contributes to a region’s gastronomic appeal, it’s the robustness of supply chain management that ensures the authenticity and quality of the ingredients used in these culinary lessons.

Supply chain management is an intricate dance of coordination and control, guaranteeing food safety and supply chain transparency. It involves a complex network of producers, processors, distributors, and retailers working in harmony to deliver products from farm to table.

Traceability solutions play a significant role in this process, providing detailed information about the origin and journey of food items. These solutions aid in fraud prevention, allowing for quick detection and resolution of issues.

With an efficient supply chain management system in place, the integrity of food products is maintained, ensuring a delightful gastronomic experience.

Food Fraud and Its Consequences

In the intricate world of the food industry, food fraud emerges as a menacing specter, threatening the sanctity of our meals and the integrity of global food systems. The consequences are far-reaching, impacting consumers’ health, trust, and wallet.

Fraudulent practices range from mislabeling to the substitution of genuine products with lower-quality or hazardous alternatives. Buyers may consume allergenic substances unknowingly or pay premium prices for inferior goods. On a macro level, food fraud destabilizes markets, and undermines the competitive advantage of regions renowned for their food quality, like Italy.

Therefore, prevention isn’t just a matter of law enforcement, but a critical business strategy. Thorough supply chain management, accurate labeling, and food authenticity checks are indispensable in this fight.

Efforts to Prevent Food Fraud

Tackling the pervasive issue of food fraud necessitates a multi-faceted approach. This includes employing diligent supply chain management, regulatory compliance, and advanced detection methods. Preventing adulteration requires robust systems capable of identifying potential weak points in the supply chain, implementing stringent controls, and ensuring adherence to regional and global food laws.

Simultaneously, detecting contamination is crucial to preserve food quality and safety. Food law practices have started to integrate food technologists and scientists in-house, enhancing their ability to scrutinize food authenticity. European Food Regulations, while varying from country to country, provide a valuable framework to combat food fraud.

Furthermore, initiatives like the UK’s FInn network, sharing data on emerging risks, exemplify collaborative efforts to stem this ongoing challenge.

Methods for Detecting and Investigating Food Fraud

Unmasking food fraud demands a blend of advanced detection methods, rigorous investigation, and innovative technology. Detection techniques often involve cutting-edge scientific testing, such as isotopic analysis or DNA barcoding to verify food authenticity.

Meanwhile, investigative methods incorporate both traditional and digital tools. Tracing the supply chain, scrutinizing financial transactions, and analyzing data flagged by machine learning algorithms are just a few ways professionals dig deep to uncover fraud.

Technology also plays a pivotal role, with blockchain and AI promising greater traceability and accuracy. Although these methods aren’t foolproof, they’re a significant stride towards ensuring food safety and integrity, a crucial aspect in maintaining public trust and health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Common Legal Issues Faced by Food Businesses?

Food businesses often grapple with legal issues such as labeling lawsuits and controversies surrounding genetically modified foods. They’re consistently challenged to ensure accurate labeling, avoiding costly suits.

Additionally, the use and disclosure of genetically modified ingredients stirs debate and legal scrutiny. It’s a complex landscape, yet mastery of these issues is critical for any food business aiming to maintain credibility, consumer trust, and legal compliance.

How Do European Food Regulations Impact Non-European Food Businesses?

Non-European food businesses often face regulatory challenges when expanding into European markets. Trade barriers, varying allergen regulations, and unique country-specific rules can make compliance complex.

If they’re exporting to the US, they’ll need dedicated labels. Protectionist policies in some countries add another layer of difficulty.

Despite these hurdles, the quality and safety reputation of European food products offer a competitive edge in global markets, making the effort worthwhile.

Are There Any Specific Laws Relating to the Import of Italian Food Products to the Us?

Yes, there are specific laws for importing Italian food products to the US. They’re subject to the FDA’s regulations, which ensure safety and proper labeling.

In addition, the ‘Italian Cuisine Protection’ act aims to safeguard the authenticity of Italian cuisine in America.

Furthermore, trade barriers can impact the import process, making it more complex.

It’s vital for businesses to understand these laws to navigate the import process successfully.

How Has the Pandemic Affected the Production and Distribution of Italian Food Products?

The pandemic’s impact on the Italian culinary tradition has been significant. It’s disrupted production, distribution, and sales of iconic Italian food products.

Travel restrictions have curtailed the influx of tourists, affecting local businesses dependent on tourism. However, they’re adapting by enhancing online sales and delivery services.

Despite the challenges, the resilience and quality of Italian food production continue to shine, showcasing the enduring strength of Italy’s gastronomic culture.

What Measures Are Being Taken to Ensure the Authenticity and Quality of Italian Food Products in the International Market?

To ensure authenticity and quality of Italian food products globally, they’re implementing stricter labeling regulations and rigorous product certification processes. They’re utilizing in-house scientists and technologists for food analysis, while actively combating food fraud through marker tracking and insider tip-offs.

It’s not just about preserving Italy’s culinary reputation, it’s also about consumer safety and trust. After all, it’s what’s inside that counts, and they’re making sure it counts in the best possible way.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the ‘Summit Explores Critical Role of Food Law’ highlighted the crucial aspects of food law. It demonstrated its significance in food labeling, crisis management, and fraud prevention. The discussions underscored the challenges and opportunities presented by European regulations, particularly for Italian food products.

The summit also emphasized the link between the food industry and tourism. It highlighted the essential role of supply chain management in maintaining industry credibility.

Video Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:06)
I’m Cesare Varallo. I’m a food lawyer based in Italy. So I have a very particular practise because we mainly do consultancy for food business. We deal with food labelling stuff, food composition issues, crisis management for food recalls or crisis situation like we are having today with the outbreak of the coronavirus, and food fraud prevention. So sometimes we are involved also in investigation related to food authenticity. So let’s say that we move at the intersection between science and law. I have people in house that are not lawyers, are food technologies or scientists. So we have this mixed approach to the consultants and to the business.

Speaker 2 (00:50)
Incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever spoke to someone in law that specialises in food. I’m honoured to be talking to you today. So that’s interesting. But of course, such an important industry for so many countries around Europe critically need experts in law. And I’m going to definitely ask you a few questions about the fraud and how you look after the legal side of food. So we’re definitely going to come to that. So your day to day job then, is it looking after trademarks and brands? Is that what the day to day job would be?

Speaker 1 (01:28)
Well, not just brands. They might be part of our evaluation when we look at label, but it’s most related to the mandatory information that you have to give to the consumers. Also the voluntary information, like marketing claims and everything that might be misleading, including brands. But we are not, let’s say, patent attorney, so we don’t register brands. We just manage the layout of the label. Our day-to-day job is more like making sure that everything you communicate is compliant with the law online, on the label, on the advertising, on TV, and so on. So that’s the main part of our business to be.

Speaker 2 (02:10)
Incredible. It’s so important because if you get that wrong, it will stop a product going into any of the countries, I guess, in Europe. And then you have to consider other markets such as America and Asia, different regulations, again.

Speaker 1 (02:24)
Of course, the regulations are absolutely different. So you have, to be honest, if you go to US, you have to do a dedicated label. It’s very hard to put together two different systems like US and Europe on the same pack and meet all the requirements. Asia, of course, it’s different. Imagine that also allergens lists are not the same. Maybe you as a consumer, don’t think about that. But we have 14 allergens regulated in Europe, 8 in US, and many other different in Japan or other Asian countries. So if you miss an allergen, you get the food recall, you get It’s a danger for the public health. So it might be a huge challenge for your company, for your brand.

Speaker 2 (03:07)
Incredible. And did you find that the European Union and all the laws throughout the common countries, they’re making things easier for products to be exported around Europe?

Speaker 1 (03:19)
Well, not exactly, I would say, because we have a common market in Europe, but it’s not exactly working smoothly all the time. So still we have certain countries that are Putting in place, let me say, protectionist policies from time to time, like counter forage in labelling that are not exactly in line with European rules. And like in Italy, of course, but also France or other countries, issues like that. No, it makes my life much more easy than do 27 different labels, of course, but not necessarily. On export, we are fine because EU has a strong reputation in food and food safety. And then, of course, each country has its own specificity. So consumers in Asia are looking for French wine or Italian cheese or those kinds of delicacies. So we have a huge competitive advantage in terms of quality and also trust in the safety of our foods.

Speaker 2 (04:20)
Yes. No, incredible. As you say, every country has… When you think of the image of the country, you’re thinking of the couple of dishes that are just associated What would be the core products that Italy would be famous for then in your eyes?

Speaker 1 (04:39)
For my areas, the most famous products? Oh, well, In my city, we do a lot of wine. Wine is in Piemonte, in based in Turino. I didn’t mention that. I’m based in Turino, so near Lange, in the north of Italy, we do amazing wine. Good cheese, good meat in our area. Let’s say we’re not vegan Not exactly vegan as a production area. But yes, that’s I would say the main… Kind of production. It’s also sweets, chocolate. Yeah. Yeah. 50 kilometres from here, we have Ferrero, so Nutella and everything.

Speaker 2 (05:18)
Oh, my word. I will be destroyed. I hope to- Maybe that’s advertising.

Speaker 1 (05:23)
You have to cut it.

Speaker 2 (05:25)
I hope they don’t do factory tours because I would be in trouble if they did.

Speaker 1 (05:32)
No, no, absolutely not now, not now because of the outbreak. But our economy is strongly based on foreign tourists that are coming here to drink wine and eat amazing food and stay for the weekend in those farms or let’s say small.

Speaker 2 (05:50)
It’s interesting. And do you see a crossover then between food and tourism? Is that a big part of the economy then? Do you see?

Speaker 1 (05:59)
Yeah, it is. And it might be even more important in the future. Of course, now the outbreak, the coronavirus is changing everything in terms of travelling, tourism. The effects will last probably for years. And we don’t know exactly which effects this will have on on tourists. But regions like Piemonte or Tuscana have a strong business built on that because they realise that if an American tourist is coming to Italy and he gets hooked the food or the wine. He will be back in one year or two year after. He will be open maybe to do a video course from US where you teach him how to cook the amazing stuff that he tastes in Florence or in Venice or in Trino during the summer. So yes, there was a huge business for that. Also cooking schools, cooking course for private or for professionals. It has.

Speaker 2 (07:01)
Incredible. No, it’s incredible. And you mentioned in your introduction about food frauds and how you’ve been involved in some of this in the past. And I guess to get to really good quality and maintain it, people are people. We actually need to watch out still and have rules where we protect the industry. So you’ve had some experience of that in the past?

Speaker 1 (07:28)
Yeah, I had some, especially Especially from 2013, where we had the Horses scandal, the bear has been raised. The attention is higher, not just from the consumer side, but also from the industry side, from the authorities. So of course, a lot has been done. But it’s a very complex issue because food is an experiential product. People that go to the supermarket think that they know something about the safety or the quality or the origin of the food. But the reality is that they do not know anything and they cannot know. So they trust the brands more than the labels because on the label, you can place whatever you like. And the industry lost a lot of trust in the last years because of those scams sitting here and there. So now they’re trying to restore this trust, and that’s the difficult part. Because when you have very complex supply chains and you have to deal with frauds, it’s not enough to say, Okay, from tomorrow I’ll put in place a vulnerability assessment of my supply chain, of my facility. Check what might be wrong, and I fix it. It’s not like that because on the other side, you have cheaters, you might have even criminals, true criminals.

Speaker 1 (08:45)
You have the human factor, and you have to take control of many things if you want to reduce your risk of fraud. The first one, of course, is the supply chain in terms of transaction, where the food is coming from, the price the price that has been paid. It’s fair, it’s not fair, it’s unrealistically cheap. That might be the first indicator of fraud, but you have to keep control also of the product. What’s inside your product? Who might tamper the product along the way? And the human factor, the third main factor. So the people that are working in your supply chain, in your facility, because it’s very easy to tamper something. If you are an insider, you know how to it and what is check, what is not. So it’s not easy as usually it’s pictured by the media. We won’t solve anything with a country of origin labelling, with a blockchain, with any single piece of any single measure alone.

Speaker 2 (09:54)
Incredible. That’s as you say, where there’s people, there’ll always be people trying to to amend the rules as opposed to follow them. But again, I’m just thinking the food industry today, compared to where it was five years ago or 10 years ago or 15 years ago, for sure, it’s in a different place. But it sounds like there’s still definitely opportunities and to keep improving and we need to maintain it.

Speaker 1 (10:18)
Yeah, of course, there’s always a space to improve. But yes, if you think about 10 years ago, an initiative like the one put in place in UK, the FIN, which is basically a network put in place by for business to exchange information and data, real analytical data about the product and the emerging risk. It was something absolutely unbelievable because also if you anonymize data, it’s still data sharing. So very sensitive information are now put in comma to make data analysis and to try to anticipate the issue. So So there are a lot of initiatives like that. You know there is a lot of work going on on supply chain management. Blockchain is a 90 tool. Maybe it’s not the only answer, but of course, it’s interesting to follow all these different areas of developments and research. Also, private certification standards, regulations are moving on and establishing something in terms of minimum requirements to prevent those economically adulterate adulterations. And of course, the major companies that are doing something inside are putting in place procedures and systems to prevent this events.

Speaker 2 (11:42)
No, incredible. And do you think actually companies I’m thinking of new start companies and small companies in the food sector understand the importance of making sure that the labels are correct and everything is legally followed? Because for an outsider, we have a shot and how much detail there is around.

Speaker 1 (12:03)
Yeah, risk perception. Risk perception is very different according to the size of the food business operator and its place on the market, let’s say. It’s very different from a company that has their stocks at risk if a crisis happens. So you are at the New York Stock Exchange. If something goes on the press about a potential fraud, even a potential fraud, not a real one, you lose billions in minutes. So your risk is totally different from the one of the small farm that is just selling some fresh meat or fresh vegetables to the tourists. I would say that not necessarily the big companies are the main cheaters. Of course, if something wrong happen on a big scale, the economic gain is huge. But if we look probably at the local markets, at the farmer markets, you might find a lot of, let’s say, not necessarily fraud, but this labelling because you try to push a bit your product. It’s much less risky if you are in that position And of course. You have different levels of fraud at different levels in the supply chain. And of course, you have to decide what you need to prosecute as a regulator and what horse to be prosecuted and what is less important.

Speaker 2 (13:34)
Incredible. And do you think the industry’s changed a lot since the likes of the horsemeat scandal, which definitely rocked the food industry across Europe?

Speaker 1 (13:45)
Yeah, they move forward a lot, and especially they realise how big this risk is for them as a system, not just as a single company. And I noticed working with Europe, but also with US. Also, there are very huge cultural differences. In my experience, let’s say the US environment is much more wary of this risk. It’s much more worried about those risks. They have a high perception of the risk. It might depends. I don’t know. Maybe from 11th September, 2001, we don’t know. But they perceive those risks about tampering and fraud in a much more serious way. Maybe because the companies are bigger, so they have more stake. Yeah, clearly for a small company, as mentioned, it’s different, but a lot has been done and a lot is moving on. They have been involved in many, many investigations for along the years that It’s something totally new. We don’t even know sometimes how to do things. In most cases, you use all the school investigative techniques, like you try to put some markers on the food to track it along the supply chain, understand where the food is authentic, where it has been mixed with something that is tampered.

Speaker 1 (15:05)
It’s not just about testing. Testing is just a part of the methods that you have to search for a fraud. Then most of the frauds are discovered with a notice coming from insiders of the business or tracking the money. So it’s something that is not just food law related. It’s much more big the picture.

Speaker 2 (15:30)
Incredible. No, it’s so interesting. And again, as you say, it’s so important that this has actually been managed and chased through the supply chain and any offenders are at risk of being caught. So do you think obviously we mentioned COVID-19. Do you think the pandemic is going to affect the food industry going forward in the next couple of years?

Speaker 1 (15:54)
It could be. It is a strange position, the food industry, because now in the short term, in the first month, they had potentially even a benefit from the outbreak because the sales spike up. I read some reports about plus 20 % compared to last year for most of the food sold retail in Italy. Maybe not all the fresh food because it’s exposed. So the consumer is not trusting the fresh food anymore because they fear that someone might sneeze or cough on it or or something like that. Absolutely understandable. But for the rest, they are spiking, it says. But now in the medium long term, we might have issues because the supply chain might be fragmented by political events. Certain countries are starting to put in place protectionist policies because they fear that they will not have enough to afford to feed the population, of or simply because it might be their own interest to stockpile certain commodities and then sell them at a higher price in future. I’m not here to judge the policies of the countries, but I might understand that a country like China or India, where a large part of the population is still starving and might need to stockpile certain commodities because they are one billion and a half.

Speaker 1 (17:24)
I have no idea how many they are. And so you need possibly rice or flowers or those foods. But my clients are reporting already some small disruptions in the supply chain. So not for all the food business will be easy in future. But if you look at retailers, also retailers are benefiting in a short term of those situation. But on the other side, all the retailers now in Italy are so much under pressure that they cannot deliver anymore the grocery at home like they were doing, or you have to book three days in advance your grocery to go to the store and just pick up the bags, or otherwise, you have to stay two hours outside in a queue. And on the other hand, I’m sure that on a long term, the habits to buy online, also food that is not so common in countries, very traditional in kinds of food like Italy, but also I would say Ireland or France, probably, very, very linked to agriculture, to the land. Will change. So they will have to face even more, I think, the competition of online sellers, online retailers. So it might cause some changes in the business.

Speaker 2 (18:43)
Incredible. And we are finding that retail, food retail is up 20 % here as well last month. So very similar.

Speaker 1 (18:51)
Yeah, I can imagine. And I don’t know toilet paper, but in certain countries, it’s crazy. You cannot find toilet paper anymore.

Speaker 2 (18:59)
I don’t know. I think someone started buying it and then everyone thought everyone else is buying it. I better buy it. There’s something here. It’s the funniest thing. It is. It’s incredible. So it doesn’t matter about food, get toilet paper. And then once you get the toilet paper, get the food. I don’t know.

Speaker 1 (19:14)
Yesterday, a friend sent me a meme on WhatsApp. I’m receiving a lot about the outbreak because we are here close to home. So you have just to send jokes to friends. It was from an archaeological perspective of the situation. Was a dead body, buried in the ground. And I said, for 100 years from now, and the skeleton of this man had toilet paper in one hand and a pack of pasta in the other one. So I figure out the people now, stop buying this home. Or yet, Saturday, I was going to have a pizza here at the restaurant because they are not open in Italy, but they can still deliver. And it’s just near my home. So I was out with my dog and I said, well, can you send me up a pizza in 20 minutes, 30 minutes? There was a lady asking to buy 25 kilos of flour, the big bag. And the pizza man said, well, lady, I won’t sell you that because it will be wasted. Keep calm, please. Yeah, there’s a lot of history now.

Speaker 2 (20:24)
It’s hard to understand. But it’s going to be interesting. You’re right how things develop over the next couple of months. But hopefully we’ll be back to normal soon. And maybe everyone will all enjoy actually going out to the restaurants and cherish those moments so much more because I think around the world People are hungry to get out to experience that again. It’s just going to be incredible when everything passes. But what to do. And do you think the crisis and crisis like this make it easier for food Are there fraud, frauds, and fraud opportunities to be created?

Speaker 1 (21:04)
Well, it could be. It could be because where there is scarcity, there is opportunity for fraudsters or where there are very high prices, there is an opportunity. The incentives are higher for fraudsters, so they might jump in. If there is scarcity, also, let’s say, black market might be pushed. So yes, definitely. Unfortunately, I think there might be a risk because it’s very easy to think to dilute something or adulterate something with a lesser ingredient or a lesser raw material when there is scarcity because you can get a huge price and a huge reward if you look from the fraudster perspective. So it’s possible. Companies are really under pressures in term of production because they have to produce a lot. They have no raw materials. They have to retrieve raw materials on the market. So maybe they will change their suppliers. They have no time to qualify their suppliers. Yeah, definitely. It’s a situation where we might have risks.

Speaker 2 (22:14)
Yeah. A few more problems. Interesting. And for your clients that you’re working with at the moment, are you giving them any advice to help them strengthen their business and make potential improvements for when this all eases off?

Speaker 1 (22:29)
Well, we are looking into that with many clients. Also, if really, to be honest, now it’s more a crisis management situation. We’re in a crisis management mode. Because we have those small disruptions in the supply chain. We have to guarantee business continuity. So they are very focused about how to, of course, supply safe food, so avoid any contamination. Also, it has been said by all the scientists scientific body is that the risk of infection through food is very, very low. Food is not a good surface for the virus to stay on. It depends, of course, from the foods. You would need a study for each different food. It’s not the same if it’s bread or vegetables or fish, of course. But let’s say that the risk is very low. So they are very focused on business continuity. So how to organise the work internally in shifts in groups to avoid that if some employee is ill or is infected by a symptomatic, contaminate the whole production workforce and you are forced to stop the activity. Restaurants are trying to survive and they have to manage the same situation in small kitchens. So they need to guarantee the one metre, two metre distance all the masks and gloves and whatever.

Speaker 1 (24:04)
Delivery has different problems as well. And also related to workers because those poor guys that are bike sitting all day to get our food needs to be protected. Each business has a different type of need. But of course, in the future, things will change, as mentioned. So for sure, e-commerce will be boost. So it’s It’s obvious that if it’s convenient, you are moving now in that direction. But I think that the biggest impact that we will see will be on how we work. Because a smart working, for me, it’s normal. I travel a lot, I like 200 days per year between Asia, US, Europe. So I’m never home, I’m never office. Now it’s a bit different. So for us as a consulting business, it’s normal. But For most of the companies, especially in Italy, it’s not. So I think that there will be a big change in how, of course not the production, but all the activities managed by the offices will be structured in the future because for certain aspects, it is amazing how smart working might be efficient and might also be better for your quality of life as an employee. It depends.

Speaker 1 (25:31)
Not with too many kids at our home, but I’m experiencing some serious stress. But this will be, of course, an impact that we will see. It’s incredible how universities or even the schools of my kids organise in one week what they can’t organise in 20 years. They switch to a fully online mode in one week. Well, for all Italian University was something impossible to do.

Speaker 2 (26:03)
It’s incredible. When you’re faced with the cliff edge, you find a way to do it and you get it done. So it is very interesting how it could switch. So incredible. So while really interesting what’s happening. And as you mentioned, what’s going to happen in the future. And there’s a lot of change and disruption in the industry. I was going to ask, so anyone watching this, any food new business who is interested in the legal side of things and exporting the products around Europe, your areas of expertise, and if anyone wanted to reach out to you and have a chat, where can you help companies? And what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?

Speaker 1 (26:46)
Oh, yes, we can help because we are not just working in Italy. We have a huge network of consultants, lawyer with our approach. So we cover at the moment, like 70 countries. That’s huge. It’s incredible because you see the problems from any angle. You have products exported to Asia. Now I’m doing… I’m trying to do a label for a pet food coming from Taiwan to Europe. Honestly, it’s a bit hard because it’s a product formulated for a different country with different ingredients, names, and whatever. We have to switch it to the our rules and make it compliant. Yes, we have We have this expertise. Of course, it’s not all on me. I just speak a bit of English, as you notice, and Italian. I can manage your Taiwanese label, but we have this connexion. If you have global problems, also in terms of calls or mix scientific and legal, we have experts in any field, from traceability to allergens or testing that might help. I’m very visible on social media As you know, I have a blog named Toodolates. Com, and there is a channel on each social media, like LinkedIn, YouTube, with the same name.

Speaker 1 (28:09)
So you can reach out or you can just Google for my name and through LinkedIn and social, you find everything.

Speaker 2 (28:17)
Amazing. For sure, no escape on the Internet. And what we do, we make sure underneath this video, there’s links to all of those social networks so people can reach out to you.

Speaker 1 (28:29)
I’ll send to you.

Speaker 2 (28:31)
So a final question for me, again, we see a lot of food, as you mentioned there, e-commerce and Amazon now is like a monster here. And they don’t deliver fresh across the country yet. But we’re seeing online and e-retail. Do you think that’s going to be a big market area for food moving forward?

Speaker 1 (28:53)
Yeah, I think so. I think so. Amazon is moving big in Europe now. I think that the UK was the first country where they deliver food. And even fresh, I think, in UK.

Speaker 2 (29:04)
Maybe in the cities. You’re totally right.

Speaker 1 (29:07)
Exactly. But now they are expanding their business in other countries like Italy, Netherlands. They are creating their own on the brand of products, the business is changing. We will have many, many new retailers jumping in, new business model, I think, in future. Think also about other known, specifically food business like IKEA. Did Did you ever notice how big is in food IKEA? If you go there, you have the shop, you have the restaurant. I think, I don’t know in how many countries, everywhere in the world. At the end of the day, they are a retailer because they have their own Swedish products, local products. The market will change. The traditional business model of retail is changing, and this outbreak will have an impact. We’ll have an impact on how the consumers will purchase food, how they experience food. I think not so much in terms of what they are eating. They will keep eating pasta or bread or whatever. It’s how they will get.

Speaker 2 (30:09)
Yes. Very interesting. How it will be purchased. More on experience, of course.

Speaker 1 (30:14)
Not And just on the quality of your food or the label.

Speaker 2 (30:19)
Incredible. Very interesting. So we’re all waiting to see what happens now over the next couple of months and years. But I think you’re right. This is a major change, a major change for everyone. And companies need to be ready for that. So let us see. So again, thank you very much for your time today. I really appreciate and look forward to seeing you online.

Speaker 1 (30:40)
Thank you. It was a pleasure, really.

Speaker 2 (30:43)
Thank you. Thank you. And thank you for watching. Hopefully you enjoyed this video. If you did and found it useful, why not share it on social media? And of course, reach out, connect, and click through the links below this video and do say hello. And for sure, we’ll see you in the next video. Thank you again.

Share with our social media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *