What Comes Next?

By Cher Mereweather

We’ve reached the end of the what comes next? 


The thing that’s keeping me up at night is what comes next.


Specifically, what comes next for the 95% of food and beverage companies who are small and medium sized enterprises.


We are all familiar by now with how the decimation of food service has impacted our industry. A sizeable minority of restaurants won’t ever re-open, it may take several years for companies servicing the leisure industry to see demand back to pre-COVID levels, and many institutions will likely remain closed for several more months.


But what comes next could be even tougher.


In an average of the last three downturns, about 20% of firms didn’t make it.


And there is a consensus among economists that what lies ahead will likely be orders of magnitude larger in impact than any of these downturns.


We risk losing a significant percentage of our domestic food and beverage production capacity over the coming months and years. 


That’s what is scaring me right now.

But what is bringing me hope is that I lead a fabulous team and network of experts who are all committed to making food sustainably. We have been helping firms across North America do this for over a decade.


We believe this crisis offers an unprecedented opportunity to create a new normal where, instead of being decimated by the depression, Canadian food and beverage production becomes more efficient, sustainable and purpose-driven.


So over the last few weeks, we have been putting our heads together to figure out how we can help food and beverage firms build resiliency now, and emerge from this even stronger.


The result of this work, I’m excited to say, is now ready to be shared!


We’ve called it R-Purpose (the R stands for resiliency, but also because it’s our purpose!) and it is a high-impact program to accelerate resiliency and growth in food and beverage companies through sustainability and purpose.


We’ve taken everything we know about making food sustainably, added a whole new layer of resiliency planning, packaged it into a program that can be delivered remotely over 4-6 months, and built in access to a suite of specially developed, award-winning software tools.


Simply put, we’ve given this our all.


Today, our ask to you is that you work with us so that we can achieve this bold ambition of creating a stronger Canadian food and beverage industry together.


If you are a government or funding body, let’s explore how we can create a fund to support the smallest and most vulnerable food and beverage companies now.


If you are a retailer, let’s look at how R-Purpose can support and strengthen your supply chain, particularly your most at-risk partners and suppliers. 


If you are a larger firm, show your leadership in the industry by engaging in the R-Purpose program and sharing your experiences with others.


If you are a founding member in the original creation of “Provision Coalition” or a trade association, let’s work together on bringing R-Purpose to your members. 


And if you are one of the 95% of SMEs that drive our food and beverage manufacturing and food security in this country - R-Purpose is for you. Send me an email or give me a call to find out how we can work together.


And if you are not in the list above and you want to get involved in this exciting new collaborative initiative then please reach out.


Our purpose, the cause that my team and I defend, is making food sustainably. We believe that now we are coming to the end of the beginning of the impacts of this pandemic, and we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to create a new normal that we can all be proud of.


I look forward to hearing from you - let’s do this together!


By Cher Mereweather, CEO and President, Provision Coalition Inc. 

P 519.822.2042 x 1

Tags: Sustainability, Purpose, Food and Beverage, Covid-19

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