Food System Transformation

With our global food system rapidly reaching a tipping point,
businesses are finding themselves at crossroads:

  • The global population is projected to grow by 25% to 9.6 billion individuals by 2030: each of whom needs food.
  • Concurrently, the arable land, species diversity and water supplies needed to sustain this growth are in decline.

These two mega-trends are moving in opposite directions, meaning 1.7 planet Earths will be needed to sustain our human footprint.

At the same time, consumers are increasingly showing us the way forward through their food preferences while investments and government regulations are expanding year over year.

For business, however, identifying a path to success is anything but clear as this field has emerged very rapidly. Three driving questions are challenging both new and established businesses in this regard:

  • When is the right moment to react to these shifts?
    • Is there a market for my product today or in the near term? Is there a pattern among consumers leading a particular direction toward healthier, more sustainable food consumption?
    • What are the risks of not acting? Can we expect to face increasing penalties from governments and regulators or even be left behind by consumers in this rapidly developing market?
    • Has the technology associated with this transformation matured to the point that we can scale the business and price competitively in our markets?

 

  • What is the right size of reaction to establish, secure or grow our business?
    • What is the suitable level of investment and focus to deliver optimum returns and establish a platform for future growth?
    • How should we balance these new products with our current business while managing to take our customers on the same journey?
    • Where will new opportunities present themselves with this shifted offering in terms of new markets, channels and business models?

 

  • Where do we start or what should we do next to manage the transition to a new food system?
    • How do we ensure our business has the clarity needed to set a solid direction, update our capabilities and clearly measure success?
    • What materials are needed to grow and source new products and how do we guarantee the resilience of our supply chain?
    • How do we successfully engage our customers and consumers with a renewed brand vision and product portfolio to distinguish the business from competitors?

Why Integration Consulting?

Integration has over 25 years of experience in guiding our clients through complex transformations where there are no tried-and-tested paths to success.

In recent years this has included:

  • Supporting plant-based meat companies in bringing their products to new markets, including pricing, distribution and organizational capabilities
  • Designing circular economy models for packaging companies to reduce waste
  • Creating a disruptive roadmap for a cultured meat client to enter and win in selected markets globally

We also recognize that, beyond the technical skills we offer, empathy and the humility to understand the subtleties of your business’s specific situation are likewise key to ensuring success. A commitment to honesty and adherence to reality allows us to build a solid foundation for growth together.

 

We’ve executed countless projects together with diverse food and beverage clients across different geographies and links along the food system value chain:

Seeds Flavors AGRICULTURE PROCESSING RETAIL CONSUMER Aromas Manufacturing Packing/Bottling Wholesalers Distributors Cold chains Ingredients Gen Z Millennials Flexitarians Climatarian ... Vegetarians Pesticides Fertilizer Feed Vegetables Fruits Meat Seafood QSR Food service Modern Trade Traditional Trade Direct to consumer Ecommerce Dark stores

Our Clients

How do we help?

Businesses need to conquer seven transitions to lead in this new Food System Transformation. Click on each for more info:

Disposal
Consumption
Marketing
Transport
Packaging
Processing
Harvesting
Growing

The closed-loop transformation

How do we create circular models in the value chain to reduce and re-use food and ancillary categories waste?

The unapologetic brand vision

How do we develop brands with mission, purpose and connection to the consumer?

FUTURE-PROOF SUPPLY CHAINS

How do we adapt supply chains to handle new materials, be resilient and cost-effective while reducing environmental impact?

Portfolio metamorphosis

How do we adapt our portfolio, changing its form, essence and substance towards healthy consumer lifestyle choices?

Sustainable & Resilient Sourcing

How do we grow and produce food to match consumption habits and overcome environmental challenges?

Protein GTM 5.0

How do we prepare our business to develop, supply and sell a new mix within a diversified protein supply landscape?

2030 E2E strategy

What are the trends in future food systems and how do we set strategies and an organizational model fit for the future?

Business has a key role to play, and acting now will provide financial rewards.

Consumers, investors and regulatory bodies are the three broad factors driving this transformation:

CONSUMERS As they become more conscious of their impact at an individual level, we’re seeing a shift in dietary behavior In China, Europe and the U.S., over 2/3 of consumers aim to reduce red-meat consumption, and many have already done so In the U.S., plant-based meats now penetrate 14% of households and account for 1.4% of a massive meat market, with 72% growth since 2020 Acceptance of milk substitutes is seeing steady growth, expected to double to 1.6 kg per capita by 2030 Governments acting on 2 major fronts: enforcing fines for adverse environmental / health actions and funding to support sustainable change REGULATIONS Pressure is increasing through carbon pricing and natural conservation (deforestation) Regulators are acting, e.g. 50+ countries tax sugary beverages , more countries are establishing nutri scores Governments have provided approximately $570 billion anually in public support for agricultural producers to meet development imperatives related to food security With a shift in consumer behavior and a need to develop new technologies, an abundance of capital is helping to accelerate change INVESTMENTS 2,700+ agtech start-ups received $30+bn investments in 2020 Alternative protein investments reached $3.1bn 2020 (+300% vs. 2019) Some top-3 meat producers already dedicating 1/2 of investments to plant or cellular-based meat (alongside wearables for healthy lifestyles, shopping locally and warehouse automation
CONSUMERS As they become more conscious of their impact at an individual level, we’re seeing a shift in dietary behavior In China, Europe and the U.S., over 2/3 of consumers aim to reduce red-meat consumption, and many have already done so In the U.S., plant-based meats now penetrate 14% of households and account for 1.4% of a massive meat market, with 72% growth since 2020 Acceptance of milk substitutes is seeing steady growth, expected to double to 1.6 kg per capita by 2030 REGULATIONS Governments acting on 2 major fronts: enforcing fines for adverse environmental / health actions and funding to support sustainable change Pressure is increasing through carbon pricing and natural conservation (deforestation) Regulators are acting, e.g. 50+ countries tax sugary beverages , more countries are establishing nutri scores Governments have provided approximately $570 billion anually in public support for agricultural producers to meet development imperatives related to food security INVESTMENTS With a shift in consumer behavior and a need to develop new technologies, an abundance of capital is helping to accelerate change 2700+ AgTech Start-ups received $30+bn investments in 2020 Alternative protein investments reached $3.1bn 2020 (+300% vs. 2019) 3/6 of Tyson Venture’s 2021 investments were in plant or cellular-based meat. (alongside wearables for healthy lifestyles, shopping locally and warehouse automation

SUCCESS STORIES

Alt Protein GTM 5.0 | Portfolio Metamorphosis | Sustainable and Resilient Sourcing

CHALLENGE

An innovative food-tech startup was seeking to conquer the emerging market of cultured meat – one that was already filled with competitors racing to develop viable products.

The challenge involved tackling a nascent market characterized by high levels of uncertainty, working on assumptions in the absence of concrete data while needing to develop and update models as new information emerged. Considering the difficulties of driving a business still largely in the R&D stage paired with uncertainty on the consumer side in terms of acceptance, sizing the actual market potential was a serious obstacle.

Apart from R&D advancements, the client needed to develop a mid-term business plan to manufacture and bring its products to market. To do so, they required support to:

  • Identify priority markets and outlets
  • Set models for key business area objectives (such as R&D, manufacturing and sales) focused on enabling scalability at pace and
  • outline a clear narrative to governments, regulators and other market players in order to accelerate approval processes.

APPROACH

Integration supported this client in carrying out a global market scale and value-chain assessment of the cultured meat industry. This involved determining the expected market size for their product in major markets as well as value-chain maps and the regulatory and taxation landscape. As new technology would be needed, it was important to answer questions such as:

  • which industries to potentially partner with
  • who had access to related technology
  • whether to process the product in-house or provide basic material to other players on that part of the value chain

To simulate revenue and costs per market over the subsequent five years, financial modeling was carried out to guide strategic choices, business planning, regulatory initiatives and product timelines. Finally, the teams worked together to develop a detailed business roadmap outlining required activities and timelines per business pillar.

RESULT

At the end of the project, the detailed market scan offered the client a clear picture of the challenge at hand, supported by information on profit-pool sizing per target market, which would serve as a basis for pitches to investors.

A simulation tool was likewise developed conjointly to facilitate up-to-date strategic decisions as new market information emerged along with a framework for the client to carry out future analyses on their own. Finally, a roadmap up to 2025 with target milestones for each key business area put the business on a clear path forward.

Alt Protein GTM 5.0

CHALLENGE

A pioneer of plant-based meat in its home market had its eyes set on breaking into the high-growth, highly competitive European food retail environment. The company had already formed a partnership with a local distributor, but needed help:

  • Prioritizing the markets for entry
  • Understanding the competitive landscape and specific local realities in the markets
  • Establishing a local operation to start selling in Europe

Given the rapid expansion of the market, speed to launch was particularly important to the involved stakeholders.

APPROACH

To achieve these objectives, the project started out by prioritizing markets for entry. Together with the client team, we carried out a market scan of 25 European countries considering the degree of ease and attractiveness for entry followed by a deep dive into five prioritized markets – considering success factors, profitability, category maturity, positioning etc.

An entry strategy was defined with clear phasing for the roll-outs, speed of entry in the different channels and volume distribution projection. We conducted an analysis of landed cost and price positioning in store to ensure attractive margins along the chain and competitive price to the consumer. An entry plan was also developed jointly with the distributor.

RESULT

The project led to the definition of a practical and replicable three-year growth plan. The client was able to successfully launch across eight European markets and entered into an exclusive agreement at a big-four supermarket retail chain in the UK. Finally, the project provided support in pursuing additional fundraising rounds, placing the plant-based meat startup at a valuation of over 100 million USD.

Alt Protein GTM 5.0 | 2030 E2E Strategy | Sustainable & Resilient Sourcing | Food Portfolio Metamorphosis | Unapologetic Brand Vision | Future-Proof Supply Paradigm

CHALLENGE

After becoming a leader in plant-based meat products in its home market, a food-tech startup sought to expand its presence internationally in the retail and foodservice business. The first major challenge was external: increasing revenue over 20-fold, mainly through geographic expansion into foreign markets. This meant the client needed to understand how trends were evolving to decide which market to enter. As this was an alternative food product, many different regulations existed across markets, e.g. approval, packaging, labels, naming etc.

The second major challenge was internal: fast-paced growth meant more processes and complexity, calling for improved internal organization and structure. Cultural pain points were appearing that would have to be addressed, e.g. inconsistent communication, unclear career paths and insufficient staff recognition for achievements.

APPROACH

The project aimed to create a strategic plan and define the internal organization with an updated organizational model. This would entail creating a holistic strategic roadmap using working sessions to address major objectives, KPIs and milestones related to manufacturing, marketing, systems, infrastructure, go-to-market and innovation.

As they gained scale and expanded, an assessment was needed to decide whether to stay with the third-party manufacturers or build their own plant – considering volume forecasts, cost (breakeven point), logistics and location. Markets would also have to be prioritized for entry based on the regulatory complexity. Finally, with a relatively high price point (up to 5x that of conventional meat in some markets), the sales approach had to be adjusted and we had to consider how to present and adapt the product portfolio in a way that would be attractive to customer tastes.

RESULT

These efforts led to the development of a five-year roadmap of activities and projects to achieve the mid-term ambitions. A market overview was created with the current and projected market sizes for plant-based products along with a segmentation tool to prioritize markets. After identifying Asia as the next priority region, the project provided guidance on adapting the product portfolio to optimize attractiveness in an entirely different context.

To sustain growth and maintain cost competitiveness, the decision was made to establish a global manufacturing and support hub to serve all commercial markets. The client also improved distribution by establishing a dedicated in-house sales force and optimizing logistics routes by moving to more efficient and environmentally friendly packaging.

To optimize sales in Europe, the company successfully adjusted its product and packaging to address local customer lifestyle and dietary choices when manufacturing and presenting its products – highlighting environmental and organic commitments on the packaging.

Alt Protein GTM 5.0 | Future-proof Supply Chains

CHALLENGE

An innovative food-tech client from Asia in the area of plant-based meat was seeking to expand its operations to Europe – an unknown market context. As this was a new continent for the client, with a highly diverse and heterogeneous market, the challenge would entail recalibrating the entire business to serve this entirely new context as quickly as possible.

As competition in this part of the food sector and in the local market was growing fast, speed would be key for this start-up. Additionally, support in execution was essential as the very small client team needed to tackle everything, from strategic decision-making to operational execution, to develop the right pricing architecture, screen distributors and identify launch partners.

APPROACH

As a mixture of strategic guidance, PMO, task coordination and execution, the project required a very hands-on approach with constant touchpoints to ensure the client’s needs were being met at every step of the way. Cooperation was implementation-driven to generate immediate value for the client and avoid remaining theoretical for too long.

Three workfronts were addressed to drive different parts of the launch: securing foodservice outlets, organizing promotions and contracting a distributor. Setting the B2B pricing architecture required research and simulations to identify the competitor price landscape, prices across the food industry, distribution margins and final POS pricing. Manual research was needed to map distributors while web services were used to identify target foodservice outlets from a list of thousands in combination with quantitative analyses. Once defined, the team would immediately begin implementing and adjusting along the way.

RESULT

These joint efforts resulted in price definitions for the client’s plant-based meat products that exceeded the previous expectations of the management. Moreover, the product launch was achieved within a very ambitious timeframe: 10 weeks. The project essentially started from zero and succeeded in setting a distributor and launch activities such as PR, marketing, communications, promotions and partners, in a wide variety of establishments – from casual to haut cuisine.

The novel product was launched at nearly a dozen foodservice outlets in the target city and the initiative sparked interest among numerous potential partners. Cooperation was established with two distribution partners to ensure the last mile of the localized supply chain. The project leveraged the small-scale facility with just a few reactors, promoting a more local and future-proof supply chain that was smaller, leaner and free of the usual negative impacts on the surrounding community caused by animal farming.

Finally, a roadmap along with operational and organizational requirements were defined and documented to allow the start-up to more easily scale the business outside in new regions.

Talk to us

Clemens von Guggenberg

Clemens is a senior partner and managing director at our Munich Office and the global co-lead of the Leadership & Organization Practice. He brings more than 30 years of experience in management consulting and executive search across Europe and the U.S. Prior to Integration, Clemens worked for Heidrick & Struggles and Korn Ferry in Munich [...]

Daniel Lentfer

Daniel Lentfer is an engagement manager at Integration and has been working since April 2016 in the Germany office. His area of focus is Marketing & Sales, where he has deep experience in Go-to-Market strategies, market and customer segmentation, key account management and planning, and organizational redesign. Prior to Integration, he worked as a political […]

Freya Tomley

Freya Tomley is an engagement manager at Integration and has been working at the London Office since 2015. Freya has a wide range of experience in implementation and project and program management across new business/product launches, M&As (post-merger integration), and efficiency-driving initiatives (e.g. internal restructuring, systems implementation, commercial planning). In the last few years, she [...]

Jamie Gale

Jamie is a partner at our Office in London. He has spent more than 25 years in the consulting industry and private sector. Jamie is recognized for his extensive experience in digital, developing and executing strategies that enable business transformation. He has supported clients across manufacturing, retail, telecommunications, financial services, food & beverage and transportation [...]

Julian Lempp

Julian works within Integration's Munich Office. He has experience both within consulting and industry, having previously worked for a leading German consultancy and as a business development manager within an industrial goods manufacturer. While he has experience across many project types, his specialization lies in supply chain, having undertaken numerous consulting projects for procurement and [...]

Rodrigo Seabra

Rodrigo is a managing partner at our Office in Munich. He joined Integration in 2006 in Brazil and led the Mexico Office, before taking on responsibility of the Munich Office. Rodrigo is part of our Implementation Practice, has amassed international experience in industries such as consumer goods, retail, food & beverage, pharmaceutical and healthcare and [...]

Steve Monk

Steve Monk is a director at Integration's UK Office. Prior to joining the company, Steve accumulated over 20 years of experience in marketing, working as the general manager for Pladis Global’s Savoury and Healthier Business, marketing director for Pernod Ricard Gulf and Vietnam and global marketing manager for Pernod Ricard’s leading Scotch brands. Steve obtained [...]

Sven Hoffmann

Sven Hoffmann is a engagement manager at Integration's Munich Office. His experience covers projects in the areas of strategic planning and roadmaps, organizational and process redesigns, go-to-markets and innovation systems. Sven has worked in projects across Asia, Europe, North and South America. He holds a master's degree in technology management from the Technical University of [...]

  • On 6 July 2022