And that’s a wrap: Food & Drink Business LIVE 2022 was a triumph of insightful and inspiring speakers, networking and reconnecting. The breakfast forum took attendees from Bubs Australia’s thrilling ride to cutting-edge food tech with Eden Brew and how to find – and maintain – your own point of power and passion with Kate and Tal Weiss from Table of Plenty.
With this year’s theme Business NOT as Usual, it was a chance to examine the impact of Covid, catastrophic weather events, and geo-political tensions have played in changed how we do business, what has gained importance, and what is on the horizon.
The morning started with a fireside chat between Food & Drink Business editor Kim Berry and the founder and CEO of Bubs Australia Kristy Carr. They discussed the whirlwind of 2022, which manifest in more than one million tins of Bubs infant formula being shipped to the US in four months.
Kristy also shared the company’s in building its export market in China and what is needed if company’s want to succeed in large, competitive but very different markets.
“Strategy is really important. Everyone might have a different strategy, depending on the size of their business lifecycle cycle of the brand and, and the markets.
“I found that when you completely pivot, your strategy doesn’t kick in overnight. So, you’ve got to know when it’s the wrong one, and when it’s not working. But when you know what’s right and just commit to it, that can still be daunting, especially as a person leading the team.”
When Eden Brew CEO Jim Fader took the stage, many in the room had little idea of what was about to transpire. By the end of his presentation, not just about how they are making cow’s milk without the cow but how you bring a diverse team of talent in different areas together successfully, the feeling of wonder and amazement in the room was palpable.
His disarming manner and self-depreciating humour went a long way for many of us struggling with the science concepts along the way.
CEO of sustainability and environmental consultancy Cress Consulting, Julia Seddon, laid out plainly that what used to be a nice to have is now business critical. But in doing so, she also walked the room through the steps business can take and how it comes back to the old adage of “just get started”. No value judgements, no setting oneself up for failure. If business is going to reduce risk, improve its operational performance, and build climate resistance, it starts with the first step. And then another…
When KPMG national sector lead for Consumer Packaged Goods & Agribusiness, Georgie Aley, took the stage, it was an information packed session looking at six major areas FMCG businesses need to focus on today, what the big disruptors are, and how companies can use them to their advantage. It was fast, furious, and loaded with practical information.
From there, we moved to our panel for real life experience of what our speakers discussed. Kate and Tal Weiss, founders of Table of Plenty, won the room with their passion and authenticity. Their experience as a small business, then acquired by Openway Food Co, has been a thoughtful one, giving the pair more time to focus on the parts of the business they loved – innovation and product development. Their embracing approach to failure was also refreshing.
Mark Ostryn from Strategic Transactions spoke about how much of his experience working with smaller businesses looking to sell, is confidence building and reassuring founders the work they have done has value and is valuable.
Gabrielle Munzer, a principal with venture capital firm Main Sequence, was so passionate and excited about the state of food tech start-ups and research in Australia it was a whole new round of energy for a room already swooning with new knowledge. She likened it to an Aladdin’s Cave of jewels. And Georgie Aley joined the panel as well, providing more insights on what she is seeing with clients and more broadly, industry.
It was a remarkable morning, so much talent, enthusiasm, and energy in the room.
Many thanks to our partners:
Gold: Process Partners
Gold: Australian Beverages Council
Silver: Matthews Australasia
Bronze: GS1 Australia
Industry partner: APPMA