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Competitiveness of the European Food Industry - An economic and legal assessment 2007

Competitiveness of the European Food Industry - An economic and legal assessment 2007

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Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use which might be made of the following information.
Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use which might be made of the following information.

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Published by: dmaproiect on Mar 30, 2010
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Competitivenessof the European Food Industry
 An economic and legal assessment
J.H.M. WijnandsB.M.J. van der MeulenK.J. Poppe (eds)November 28, 2006
EuropeanCommissionEnterprise and IndustryReference no. ENTR/05/75Service contract 432403Project number 30777November 2006LEI, The Hague
01_2007_4819_txt_EN.indd 14-09-2007 12:09:26
Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is respon-sible for the use which might be made of the following information. The views expressed in thisreport are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission.Nothing in this report implies or expresses a warranty of any kind. Results from this report shouldbe used only to trigger stimulating discussion or as guidelines as part of an overall strategy.
01_2007_4819_txt_EN.indd 24-09-2007 12:09:26
The European Food Industry is an important sector which spans a wide range of economicalactivities. Two striking observations can be made about it. On the one hand, it produces an im-pressive diversity of products that ranges from the staples of our survival to luxurious sensualindulgences. On the other hand, this vast array of products emanates from a fairly limited number of famous world leading companies together with a myriad of irreplaceable and relatively un-known small and medium-sized enterprises – both of which exist side by side within the Euro-pean Community.By contrast to other prominent industrial sectors such as the car industry or pharmaceuticals, theEuropean Food Industry is
per se 
characterised by a complex value chain. This chain links theprocurement of agricultural raw materials, through their processing up to their presentation for  final human consumption and includes their economic distribution. As a result, this industry in-volves multiple players such as farmers, input suppliers, manufacturers, packagers, transporters,exporters, wholesalers, retailers and final customers with different and changing interests, cul-tural attitudes and dimensions.This huge and composite industrial and economical entity has done well at Community leveland, still constitutes a flourishing domain of which we can be proud. Nevertheless, in spite of itsleading status at Community level in terms of manufacturing, of value added and of job creation,the competitiveness of this sector is now a matter of concern: this is the clear message I received from this study. Moreover, consumers preferences are evolving very quickly and becoming moredemanding and sophisticated. Industry needs to adjust and adapt to these circumstances.This document sheds light on a truth which will appear to some people as a disturbing one. Ithighlights recent warning signals such as the diminishing capability of this sector to generateinnovation and enough profit to allow for adequate re-investment to maintain or even conquer market share in domestic and/or foreign markets.If the challenges as revealed by this document are to be met stakeholders must grasp the op-portunity to act now and trigger every single action which could improve the current situation.Truly, there are so many reasons for hope. The European Food Industry exhibits a large array of assets that have to be put to profitable use: this industry has the right cards and some very ca-pable players. It needs only to take up the challenge of adaptation of the agro-food industry tonew and demanding conditions so as to ensure continuity of its traditional excellence in manu- facturing food products of ever higher quality with more and more value added for the fulfil-ment of its consumer’s expectations. I agree this is a difficult task! But really, the reward is worththe effort! Acting! This is what I propose to do. First of all, I would like to invite all of the interested partiesto seize this document, to study it carefully and objectively, as I did myself with my collaborators,to debate it and then to gain the best profit from it. Notwithstanding its freshness of approachand originality as to the competitiveness comparability, this document is not entirely unique butit is timely. It, together with other studies which have come to similar and convergent conclu-sions, must be understood, appreciated, addressed and harnessed to create new momentum for change to meet the identified challenges in this domain.Secondly, and more concretely. The Commission, in the course of its mid-term review of indus-trial policy, has decided to launch a targeted initiative aimed at addressing the challenge of competitiveness and placing the emphasis on innovation. Having regard in particular to thelarge proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Food sector, it is anticipated thatthis initiative will be of considerable assistance in assuring the future of our vital Food Industry.
Günter Verheugen
 Vice-President of the European Commission
01_2007_4819_txt_EN.indd 34-09-2007 12:09:26

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