Freshfel Europe held its Annual Event 2021 online, celebrating the Association’s 20th anniversary and the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021 (IYFV). The Annual Event, which was this year open to all fresh produce operators, featured eight high-level speakers in four sessions covering detailed insights into opportunities for the sector to lead the way for a healthy and sustainable future for Europe and beyond in the coming decade starting with the IYFV. The event also focused on the evolution of Freshfel Europe’s work as the peak EU representative body for the fresh fruit and vegetable sector.
Over a three-hour digital event open to the public, Freshfel Europe celebrated its 20th anniversary and the IYFV at its Annual Event 2021. Four sessions involved eight guest speakers, who provided a critical overview to the sector on upcoming market and policy opportunities, such as capitalizing on the European Green Deal’s objectives, the new promotion momentum founded by the IYFV this year, the evolving financial landscape and changing needs of health conscious tech-savvy consumers. The speaker line up included FAO Deputy Director General Beth Bechdol, Future Food Studio food trend researcher Hanni Rutzler, Rabobank Senior Fruit and Vegetable Analyst Cindy van Rijswick, Santander Agribusiness analyst Lorena Luiz Ponce, high-level European Commission officials Deputy Director Generals Claire Bury and Michael Scannell of DG SANTE and DG AGRI respectively, first Freshfel Europe Kai Krasemann and current Freshfel Europe President Stephan Weist.
This year’s Annual Event covered a wide variety of topics from sustainability, consumer responses and expectations to financial support for the fresh produce sector. Stephan Weist, Freshfel Europe President, highlighted, “After a long period of uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was important business operators came together at the Annual Event to reflect on aspects shaping fresh produce business, including new sustainability requirements, rapidly evolving consumer expectations and economic and financial perspectives”. Mr Weist emphasized that, “Due to the pandemic and the changing climate, we are now in a period of accelerated change societally but also at operational level in fresh produce business. The Annual Event was an excellent opportunity to take stock and envisage how we as a sector want the next ten years of European and global fresh produce business to evolve”.
Freshfel Europe General Delegate Philippe Binard affirmed that, “Today’s Annual Event was a celebration of the Association’s dedicated work on behalf of its members over the last 20 years, bringing a strong united voice to local, regional, national and multinational operators across the supply from production to retail on European and international fresh produce matters”. Mr Binard added that, “Over the next decade the Association will continue to act on behalf of its members as the peak EU representative sector body to ensure smooth and sustainable operations and stimulate fresh fruit and vegetable consumption”.
The Freshfel Europe Annual Event 2021 Public Conference was preceded by the Freshfel Europe Statutory Annual General Meeting open to Freshfel Europe members and associated members only. The Freshfel Europe 2021 Activity Report, covering the Association’s activities in the period June 2020 to June 2021, was presented to members and is available at https://freshfel.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Freshfel-Europe-Activity-Report2021.pdf