This week, Elana Margulies-Snyderman talks with Charlie McNairy, CEO, International Farming.
We believe we are approaching a once-in-a-generation shift within our food system. The outdated food state is one of ‘Big Food’ with a legacy of disconnection and dissatisfaction, as a handful of massive corporations own the majority of the food and drinks we consume. Farmers have been deprived of margin, land has been exploited and the eating experience has often been degraded. Thankfully, we are moving into a time that respects farmers, food buyers and the land. Within this future state, companies that work in true partnership with producers, consumers and the environment will be rewarded.
To meet the needs of the time, we believe that investing in integrated food platforms that span the supply chain and in eco-friendly farms, agricultural businesses and farming practices that reflect consumer demand will foster the greatest opportunities. We also see great potential in branded value-added products as well as agricultural technology that empowers traceability, automation and data-driven decisions.
Seeing obstacles as opportunities to broaden thinking and sharpen strategy, here are a few we encounter in our sector:
Climate Change: Climate change is leading to unpredictable weather patterns and new environmental challenges.
Supply Chain Complexity: The food supply chain has become increasingly complex, requiring coordination across various stages.
Market Competition: The market is experiencing a spike in the number of companies and technologies that offer solutions.
In 2021, 2.3 billion people globally (29.3%) were estimated to be moderately or severely food insecure, and two out of three children did not receive the nutrients they needed to fully thrive. Yet, it is estimated that more than 34% of food is wasted. And, due to an overly complicated supply chain, farmers within the United States receive only 7 cents on the dollar for the food they work so hard to grow.
Throughout the world, the need for innovation, accountability and collaboration can be felt. As the CEO of one of the largest privately held landowners and a major food logistics company, I feel a deep responsibility to help create a more responsible and equitable food system, while also being a good steward of the resources entrusted to us by our investors.