The U.S. tends to be a little bit isolated from the rest of the world in many ways, but this week offers a rare opportunity to capture a picture of food retailing as it is practiced in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa — as well as in North and South America.
CIES — The Food Business Forum, based in Paris, is hosting its annual Summit at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel beginning today. The roster of speakers is an international Who’s Who of retail and CPG executives, including top officers from Delhaize Group; Safeway U.S.; Supervalu; Woolworths of Australia; Dia of Argentina; Suguo of China; Sainsbury’s of the U.K.; and Wal-Mart Stores. CPG presenters include the chief executive officers from Sara Lee Corp.; Kraft Foods; Kellogg Co.; and PepsiCo.
The theme of this year’s event is “Ingredients for Success in Turbulent Times” — a topic that promises to offer insights and new ideas for coping with the economic downturn. As Alan McClay, the CEO of CIES, told SN, “Members will be talking about the economy, consumer demands — where are the opportunities, what are the expectations? How does this crisis intersect with all the ongoing trends?”
In his interview, McClay frequently referred to the mission of CIES as serving as a vessel for sharing best practices among members. That’s a function of SN as well, and something we hope to achieve with our coverage this week.
We will be posting updates here throughout the day for the next three days, and we also plan to provide coverage of the merger of CIES with The Global Commerce Initiative and the Global CEO Forum. The new group officially launches tomorrow following final voting by members of the groups in attendance at the CIES Summit.