Food Engineering

Editor's Note: The times they are still a-changing'

September 1, 2011
The current economic climate is reshaping the face of our industry like never before, with many of the largest food and beverage companies obtaining more than half of their income from outside their home markets.

In my editor’s note last month, I addressed the many changes our industry is experiencing in food safety and sanitary design as well as staffing issues concerning up-and-coming manufacturing management styles.

In this edition of Food Engineering, we cover many more changes in the food and beverage manufacturing arena, particularly with our annual cover story on the World’s Top 100 Food and Beverage Companies. In some cases, the changes are astounding.

As this month’s cover states, a major global power shift is underway. The current economic climate is reshaping the face of our industry like never before, with many of the largest food and beverage companies obtaining more than half of their income from outside their home markets. In addition, the Top 100 list now includes newcomers from Brazil, China and Japan.

According to our Top 100 report, CEOs from leading food and beverage manufacturing companies believe finding the right talent to lead our industry will be a challenge. They say talent that is truly global in experience and thinking is needed to lead the food industry in the coming decades.

According to a recent NPR report, US policymakers want entrepreneurs to create new jobs to boost the economy. The problem is that many foreign-born entrepreneurs who want to come to the US are held up by immigration laws. Innovation and economic development experts are now advocating passage of legislation called the Startup Visa Act, states NPR News. These experts say it is time for the US to put aside political battles and get these entrepreneurs here to create hi-tech jobs that will boost our economy.

Two things are true. One is the obvious need to stimulate the economy and keep American business on top. The other is the not-so-obvious need to open our doors to foreign entrepreneurs to help rebuild the American economy and provide global thought leaders to boost our talent pool.

The times are changing, and now is the time to act. Tumultuous times demand outside the box remedies.