ICAS Insights: The business of food and drink
Our business of food and drink webinar brought together leading CAs from the food and drink industry for a thought-provoking conversation on the future of the industry.
Following on from a recent CA magazine article, the future of food, the webinar, led by Editor Laurence Eastham, explored the future of the food and drink industry.
Our four expert CAs shed light on the impact that Brexit, climate change and COVID-19 will have on the industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular the empty food shelves at the beginning of lockdown, brought to the forefront how important the industry is to our society. However, the pandemic hasn’t brought only challenges, it has also brought new opportunities.
Koosha Kowsari CA, of Cantina UK, explained: “It shifted the route to market […]. People buying online, people being more adventurous with their home cooking. We have had to take that opportunity moving online, which has been a very good opportunity for us.”
The industry was particularly hit by last year’s disruption. Laurence Eastham
Janne Hallinan CA, Founder of How2EnjoyWine, agreed: “The increase of online socialising […] led me to a new product last summer” Janne changed her business plan and introduced online tasting sessions and webinars.
Brexit has led to real challenges for UK and European businesses as they try to navigate new tariffs and bureaucracy. “At the moment all the impact is negative and quite big,” explains Janne, “For a small importer to import from small producers, logistically and economically I’m really unclear as to whether that will be viable.”
Joseph Fernandes CA, of Kraft Heinz, continued: “As one of the bigger players in the market we have been required to dive into conversations with the government, both the Irish and UK governments. Our supply chain really needs to be looked into [to] make an assessment on how we can look into tariffs”.
Longer term, one of the bigger impacts on the industry is climate change, effecting how and where we produce food and drink and also consumer habits.
As John Watson CA, Chair of Intelligent Growth Solutions, explained: “72% of the world’s food is imported and exported. And this creates a huge amount of CO2. Our choices for sourcing our food more sustainably, more locally, more reliably are key.”
And if there’s one thing all our panellists agreed on it’s that COVID-19 has permanently changed consumer habits and that being a sustainable business is key to success and no longer a choice.
(Please note that views and opinions expressed by speakers at ICAS webinars are their own and not necessarily reflective of ICAS’ views.)
Counts as CPD activity
Depending upon your individual role and training and development needs, watching this webinar can count towards your annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirement.
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About the speakers:
Laurence Eastham, Editor of CA magazine
Laurence is a financial journalist specialising in accountancy and insurance. Prior to heading up CA magazine, Laurence was commissioning editor at Insurance Age. Laurence read economics and management at the University of Oxford.
John Watson CA, Chair, Intelligent Growth Solutions
John joined Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) as an Operating Principal in 2013 and Chief Commercial Officer of their investment, Edinburgh Airport Limited, leading the revenue and capital investment projects teams. John works with a number of GIP investments worldwide and is CEO of one of their invested companies Crosswind Developments Ltd, established to deliver the regeneration up to 150 acres of land at Edinburgh Airport.
Prior to joining GIP, he was Managing Director of Lloyds Banking Group’s $50bn SME Lending portfolio. John was a founding Board Director of the Business Growth Fund plc. After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with PwC Corporate Finance, John joined 3i plc. He has subsequently held a number of executive and non-executive positions globally.
With over 25 years of experience, he has a BEng Mechanical Design Engineering and an MSc IT from University of Glasgow. John is a Non Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Scotland, Non Executive Director of Scottish Event Campus (SEC), Chair of Intelligent Growth Solutions, Interim Chair of Institute of Directors and a member of both the ICAS and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Governing Council Boards.
Janne Hallinan CA, Founder, How2EnjoyWine
Through How2EnjoyWine, Janne sells wines she sources directly from winemakers and offering tips and suggestions to make it easy for people to pick good wine.
Prior to starting her own wine business Janne worked in media for many years working for the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4. During her media career she worked as a programme and change manager on technology projects as television embraced digital production and digital delivery methods such as iPlayer and mobile apps. This insight into the opportunities technology can offer businesses has inspired her ever since. She advises and mentors entrepreneurs, Directors and Boards of growing SME's and start-up businesses.
Janne trained as a CA with Deloitte's in Aberdeen. She is currently studying for a Diploma in Wine at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.
Koosha Kowsari CA, Co-Founder, Cantina UK
Koosha qualified as a CA in 2016 with EY in Insurance Assurance Services. He joined an African Reinsurance Start-up, One Re Limited, as a financial controller in 2016, and worked in the business until it was sold in 2019, before joining DARAG Group Finance team during Lockdown in 2020, a major player in the run-off insurance market. All while building his food business, Cantina UK.
It was while spending a year studying in South America as part of his course that he met his business partner and discovered a passion for South American culture and cuisine. In 2018 the duo finalised their original chimichurri sauce recipe in 2018 and within the year had launched in Fenwicks' and Whole Foods Market as well as a collection of butchers and independents. In 2019 they launched their second sauce and in 2020 they launched on Amazon Prime and Sainsbury's Future Brands Trial bay across the UK.
Joseph Fernandes CA, Financial Controller, Kraft Heinz
Joseph has extensive knowledge of the accounting industry, under both IFRS and US GAAP. He graduated as a CA in 2009 and started his career at EY as an Audit Associate and then Senior in Entertainment, Real Estate & Technology Industries. Joseph moved on to Deloitte in 2013, where he worked in Financial service, before joining Kraft Heinz in 2018.
At Kraft Heinz Joseph is the Northern & Continental European Financial Controller and responsible for a number of projects, including all Northern & Continental European consolidated P&L, Balance sheet and cash flow, all fiscal reporting requirements.