The consumer goods industry
The consumer goods industry is characterized by an increasing number of consumer associations and trade bodies that carry out significant actions to ensure environmentally and socially sustainable supplies and to promote healthy lifestyles.
This is the result of the knowledge gained over time through research, analysis, and theories that led to the awareness that producers and retailers are in the best position to improve the wellbeing of people across the world.
THE CONSUMER GOODS FORUM
Among the many associations operating in the consumer good industry, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), an international network of consumer good players, plays a key role for the sustainable development of this market.
The network aims to encourage the global adoption of commercial practices that increase efficiency and can guarantee a positive change for the benefit of consumers as well as the international community.
In particular, the network operates by:
- stimulating debate among members to identify the areas for intervention;
- favoring the adoption of global practices that do not harm free competition;
- sharing industry best practices;
- engaging stakeholders and regional associations in order to represent also their interests.
The network groups nearly 400 retailers, producers, service providers and other stakeholders from over 70 countries, representing nearly 3.5 billion euros worth of sales and involving approximately 10 million workers, plus another 90 million if we consider the entire supply chain.
The network is led by a Board of Directors, which includes the CEOs of 52 producers and sellers, including the Chairman Guido Barilla.
The Network focuses its work on four main areas:
- guaranteeing food quality;
- guaranteeing food safety;
- supporting the final consumer in adopting a healthy lifestyle;
- improving the quality of the entire supply chain, from field to fork.
COMMITMENTS AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE CONSUMER GOODS FORUM
In each area, the Resolutions and Commitments approved by the Board of Directors guide the network's work.
- Deforestation – deforestation is on the increase with alarming pace across the world, recording irreversible damages in several areas. The CGF stated its commitment to using all necessary resources to eliminate deforestation by 2020. Action plans will be implemented at both network and single company level to achieve this objective, with particular focus on critical raw materials like palm oil, soy, beef, paper and cardboard.
- Refrigeration – aware of the impact that different substances have on the Planet, the CGF set up a program for the reduction of HFC (hydrofluorocarbons) refrigerants from 2015, substituting them with natural alternatives, compatibly with the restrictions already found in several markets. This is a necessary measure to limit the rise in global temperature, in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement (COP21).
- Food waste - food waste is an important social, environmental and economic challenge. It threatens food security, contributes to climate change, consumes natural resources and has a significant economic cost. The Resolution's objective is to contribute to waste reduction, by halving waste within the production and retail industries by 2025.
- Resolution on “Forced labor” – Forced labor and modern slavery are still a significant social issue. The Resolution sets the objective of promoting dignified work conditions, respecting human rights and internationally approved principles, including the ILO Declaration on fundamental principles and rights at work, the OECD guidelines for multinational companies and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The following principles, in particular, should apply:
- each worker should enjoy freedom of movement;
- commissions and costs of recruitment and employment should be paid by the employer, not the worker;
- workers should work freely, knowing the terms and conditions of their work in advance, and should be paid regularly.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
- CGF approved a five-year plan to raise global awareness on product and lifestyle choices. The plan entails achieving four targets:
- making company policies public on nutrition and product formulation;
- implementing employees’ health and wellness programs
- industry-wide implementation of consistent product labeling and consumer information to help consumers make informed choices;
- eliminating marketing communications to children under 12 for food and beverage products that do not fulfill specific nutrition criteria.
- Principles of consumer engagement - Defining principles and practices that promote trust between consumers and businesses, in particular:
- provide clear communications;
- informing consumers on the advantages stemming from the use of personal data supplied to companies;
- establish consent-based data collections;
- listening to consumer feedback regarding the use of personal data;
- guaranteeing maximum protection of personal data;
- protecting data through the clear indication of any commercial interest, through social media.
Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) – This project brings together food safety experts, with a view to establishing the best practices in food safety management along the entire supply chain, and supporting the adoption of adequate audit and certification schemes. Today, GFSI partners carry out audits and certify over 100,000 operations and services in 160 countries.
Barilla actively participates to the working groups on Food Waste, Health and Wellness, Supply Chain and Food Safety. Furthermore, in 2017 Barilla sponsored the Sustainable Retail Summit, the event organized by CGF in Montréal on the issues of sustainability.
In addition to its collaboration with Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), Barilla maintains strong relations and a constant dialog with several associations, including:
- AIDEPI – Associazione delle Industrie del Dolce e della Pasta Italiane
- AIIPA – Associazione italiana Industrie Prodotti Alimentari
- ALLIANCE 7 – Fédération des produits de l’épicerie et de la nutrition spécailisée
- AIM – European Brands Association
- CAOBISCO – Chocolate, Biscuits and Confectionery of Europe
- ECR – Efficient Consumer Response
- IBC – Industrie beni consumo
- IPO – International Pasta Organization
- ITALMOPA – Associazione Mugnai d’Italia
- UNIONE ITALIANA FOOD – associazione nata dalla fusione di Aidepi e Aiipa
Universities and research centers
With a view to promoting the joint development of research projects to improve our knowledge on the themes of nutrition and and on product quality and safety, and facilitating the transfer of skills and know-how between academia and supply chain players and the adoption of better agricultural practices, the Barilla Group has been working with several universities and research centers across the world, including:
- Catholic University in Piacenza
- University of Thessaly
- Bahri Dağdaş International Agricultural Research Institute di Konya
- University of North Dakota
- University of California, UC Davis
- University of Parma
- University of Naples Federico II
- Brown University
- University of Toronto
- University of Sao Paulo
- University of Uppsala
- Istituto Nazionale di Tumori di Milano
- Parma Hospital
- VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
- Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg
- Purdue University (Indiana-USA)
- Harvard University (USA)
- University of Milan
- The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
- CNR (National Research Center of Italy)
- International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC)
- Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas - CSIC - Spain
- IFA Tulln- Vienna University
- Wageningen University and Research
- Cranfield University
- Harper Adams University
- University of Prague
- Queen’s University Belfast
These collaborations gave life to several studies and research projects; the main ones are listed below:
- In vitro and in vivo evaluation of the glycemic response to pasta and other carbohydrate-rich products
- Evaluation of the link between pasta consumption, body weight and diabetes in the Italian cohort of the EPIC project
- How introducing pasta in the diet can facilitate the obese population reaching its weight loss objectives
- Analysis of the effects of the program for wellness promotion in companies
- Systematic review of the research on the relationship between pasta consumption and effects, focusing on diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other relevant risk factors
- Effects of a rye-rich diet on body weight control
- Analysis of the results associated with pasta consumption in the NHANES survey of the US Center for Disease Control
- Research of the dynamics of the oral phase in the digestion of pasta and other carbohydrate-rich foods
- Evaluation of the satiating effect of snacks
Barilla believes in the importance of its active participation in many national and international initiatives, many of which have been an on-going tradition for years. The Group is actively involved not only in the initiatives promoted by the International Food Information Administration Council (IFIC), the Nutrition Foundation of Italy, and the American non-profit Oldways organization, but also in the following:
International Life Sciences Institute - ILSI
Sharing the international perspective and monitoring global trends on nutrition, health, food safety and environment.
Setting up a dedicated Barilla working group every year focusing on the various Task Forces, meetings and collaborative research projects. In particular, Barilla holds the Vice-Presidency of the “Process-Related Compounds and Natural Toxins Task Force”
Italian Chemical Society (SCI - Società Chimica Italiana)
- Interdivisional Group on Food Chemistry;
- Mass Spectronomy and Analytical Chemistry divisions.
Keeping up-to-date on the issue of food safety, health and quality, with the opportunity to engage with university research centers and other food companies with advanced equipments.
Regular participation to meetings and workshops, and official document release. Member of the Council of the Mass Spectrometry Division.
Italian National Unification Body (UNI - Ente Nazionale Italiano di Unificazione)
Collaborating towards the achievement of harmonized, standardized methods and associated national regulation.
Member of the Agro-food Commission and the working groups on "Additives and contaminants in plastic and paper based materials"
European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
Collaborating towards the achievement of harmonized, standardized methods and associated European Regulations
Member of the working groups on chemical testing for paper based materials, biotoxins and process contaminants
The Italian Section of the “Food for Life” European Technology Platform
Sharing the European perspective to improve knowledge transfers and promote consumer wellbeing, by improving health and longevity.
Regular participation to/organization of meetings and workshops, and official document release.
Member of the Directors' Council of the Mass Spectrometry Division.
European scientific network engaged in research on wholegrain cereals.
It is platform for debate and proposals for the definition of wholegrain for both raw materials and finished products.
Regular participation and involvement in setting up and implementing the activities of the Technology and Nutrition groups.
The Italian Section of the “Plant for the Future” European Technology Platform
Sharing the European perspective on priorities for plant research, and financing opportunities in Italy and Europe.
Attending regular meetings. Contributing to official papers.
Member of the Platform Council.
International Society for Mycotoxicology - ISM
Collaborating and promoting research on toxigenic fungi and mycotoxins in cereals, to improve food safety.
Regular meetings and workshops.
KIC Food4Future FoodBest consortium
Engaging in the European debate, with a view to ensuring that food, nutrition and sustainability issues are discussed in the KIC.
Taking part in regular meetings. Involved in the Regional Council.
Contributing to official papers. Defining and promoting the national/European framework for finance initiatives.
CL.A.N. National Agri-food Cluster
Helping define the research strategies for the Italian agro-food industry, through dialog with the Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR - Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca), projects on nutrition and health, food safety and sustainability.
Member of the Scientific Committee, contributing to setting the strategic agenda and implementation plans.
Directly involved in the Safe&Smart project on food safety.
UN Global Compact Sustainable Agriculture Business Principles (Core Advisory Group)
Co-writing the document on the principles of sustainable agriculture.
Taking part in regular meetings
Industrial Symbiosis - ASTER project
Finding new opportunities in the use of waste and production scraps as secondary raw materials for packaging or other uses.
Taking part in regular meetings. Supplying waste for testing.
Testing the materials produced.
Collaborating with suppliers and production consortia, including Morning Star, Ingomar, Consorzio Casalasco del Pomodoro, Emiliana Conserve, Cereal Docks, Americo Coppini, Unigrà, Co.Pro.B, Italia Zuccheri, Barry Callebaut.
Developing standards shared by all supply chain players and monitoring their implementation, with the objective of improving the sustainability of all supply chains delivering ingredients for Barilla recipes.
Taking part in working groups for shared good practices.
Promoting supply chain agreements.
Financing projects to accelerate the spread of good practices.
Food Integrity European Project & Network
Sharing industry-wide methods and systems to combat fraud and food adulteration within the framework of the Food Integrity project financed by the European Union.
Member of the Management Board and in charge of the Industrial Integration working table
MyToolBox European Project
Sharing international and industry-wide methods and systems for the joint development of innovative solutions to resolve mycotoxin risk in efficient and effective ways, withing the Food Integrity project financed by the European Union.
Member of the Management Board and in charge of the Post-harvest strategies working table.
FoodSmartPhone European Project
Developing smartphone-based detection and diagnostics systems for simplified on-the-spot screening of food quality and safety parameters.
Member of the Advisory Committee and Applied Research partner.
True Health Initiative
Promoting knowledge of the basic principles of healthy and sustainable diets and lifestyle.
Barilla is an Organizational Member of the initiative.