Ahead of her panel discussion on food security, we spoke to Susie Weintraub, CEO, Envision Group, Compass Group to find out what needs to be done to address this global challenge, what the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us and who Compass Group is looking to connect with at the Future Food-Tech Summit.

Susie Weintraub, CEO, COMPASS GROUP

What’s driving your innovation focus at Compass Group?

As we navigate our way through the ever-changing landscape, our mission remains steadfast and consistent – and has become even more vital today. We believe there is an inherent interconnectedness of the food system that includes humans, animals and the environment. Well-being for people, the welfare of animals, and respect for our environment are all directly linked to the food system.  As the world’s largest global food service provider, we feel it is our responsibility to do our part to promote the well-being of people and planet while creating positive impact in the food system.

Is open innovation part of your strategy? How do you work with innovators and what partner profiles are you looking to connect with?

We recognise the landscape of food service is changing.  Open innovation has played an integral role and part of our culture for the past 5+ years as we adapt our traditional models to deliver what customers want, when they want it, where they want it.  We welcome partners, innovators and entrepreneurs who share our vision – and passion – for balancing commercial results with doing the right thing for people and planet.  We seek partners with compelling stories who also have the ability to clearly articulate their product uniqueness and points-of-differentiation. We strive to remain entrepreneurial and committed to acting in the best interest of our associates, clients and guests by providing food and hospitality services that meet today’s needs, with the agility to adapt to tomorrow’s.

Why is it important that Future Food-Tech is taking place in September for the global food-tech ecosystem?

Now, more than ever, its critical to have food and tech leaders coming together and discussing how to, for the long term, solve the issues that our food system faces today.  The pandemic has accelerated the knowledge and awareness that there is an inherent interconnectedness with the food system, the welfare of animals and the health of the people and planet. We have a massive global opportunity to come together, educate ourselves as a food and tech community, lead provocative discussions and discover new pathways that will enable each of us to do our part to alter the course that has created the reality we are living today.

Why is your panel discussion ‘food security: preparing for the next global shock’ an important discussion to be having for the industry?

Food insecurity and food waste have been global challenges for decades.  Thankfully, these issues have risen to mainstream conversation and media and have been given prime “screen time” in the past 5+ years.  One of the biggest challenges is simply creating awareness of the facts  –

  • 40% of all of food produced in US is wasted
  • 14.3 million households in the US are food insecure (2019)
  • 821 million suffered from hunger in the world (2018)
  • All while the obesity rate is on the rise.

As these facts become increasingly at the front of the general public’s minds and education becomes more widely available on how to course-correct with simple, actionable tactics, the likelihood increases that people will in fact take steps to reduce food waste and do their part to mitigate food insecurity. It’s up to food industry leaders to lead this change.

Susie Weintraub will be speaking on the panel: Food Security: Preparing for the Next Global Shock on Thursday, September 17 at Future Food-Tech.

Discover more about Compass Group’s mission, vision and sustainability strategy on its website or by following the company on Twitter or LinkedIn.