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Nestle CEO focuses on technology, quality in keynote address to Western FF meeting.

Nestle CEO Focuses on Technology, Quality In Keynote Address to Western FF Meeting

"Long range planning does not deal with future decisions, but with the future of current decisions," stated C. Alan MacDonald, president and CEO of Nestle Foods Corporation, in a keynote presentation that kicked off the American Frozen Food Institute's (AFFI) Western Frozen Food Convention in Monterey, Calif.

Emphasizing that today's decisions will determine the viability and growth of the FF business, MacDonald told delegates that "the industry can maintain its favorable position in the market as long as you identify and take advantage of all the pluses available, while avoiding the mistakes that other industries have made."

He pointed out several major factors that he feels will impact today's important decisions, all of which are linked to technology and data automation. These include U.S./ Canada trade barriers and issues involving health, food labeling and Proposition 65 (see related stories in this section).

Data Bridges Gaps

Despite the differences existing between key trade countries, such as currencies, food regulations and languages, MacDonald identified the speed and flow of data as the vital element to the reduction of trade barriers -- especially between the U.S. and Canada.

"How can these countries with such major differences even talk about linking? Because they can automate the data and create the software to do it," said the Nestle executive. "The computer can handle those barriers that we can't manage individually, intellectually."

In terms of food labeling, Proposition 65 and other related issues, he said the industry is on the edge of knowing more about the food chain than ever before.

"We will see different labeling and regulatory issues in the next five years that you never dreamed would surface," he said. "The capability to analyze, store and regulate this new data about our food chain is changing the ball game."

As for maintaining a firm position in the marketplace, MacDonald pointed out that frozen food has one significant edge over other products: quality.

"How long is fresh fresh and how soon is fresh old? It varies, but it doesn't take long. As an industry, we don't have to hang our heads and bow to fresh as being better ... because fresh gets old fast," stated MacDonald.

He also advised the industry to examine what has happened to the coffee industry over the years, and avoid making the same mistakes. Soluble coffee sales were down 7% last year, with ground coffee down 3%, said MacDonald.

"The industry deserved what it got," he claimed. "It downgraded the quality, and let itself get out-marketed by the cold beverages. Don't let that happen to frozen foods."

PHOTO : C. Alan MacDonald, president and CEO of Nestle Foods Corporation, emphasizes the important

PHOTO : roles that technology and quality will play in the future viability of the frozen food in

PHOTO : dustry.
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Title Annotation:chief executive officer C. Alan MacDonald, frozen foods
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Apr 1, 1989
Previous Article:Large market potential for frozen meals in elderly nutrition program, says study.
Next Article:Will NutraSweet come to the rescue of melting frozen novelty market?

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