One Voice For Australia’s Foodservice Sector Set to Change the Face of the Industry
Mar 23, 2021
"When you are working in an association like AFAB, a lot of it is about giving back to an industry that has given so much to us all."
A team of passionate foodservice professionals known as The Australian Foodservice Advocacy Body (AFAB) have joined forces to collaborate on the development of a new peak representative body for Australia’s $80 billion foodservice industry.
AFAB launched on March 23 as the first pan-industry collective of leading foodservice professionals in Australia working together to facilitate a platform for connectivity, education, and leadership to embrace the changing face and capability of the industry.
Members on the AFAB board span the spectrum of the foodservice value/supply chain, from producers and manufacturers to distributors, operators, and service providers.
Together they are united to offer the industry a progressive, purposeful group which is inspired to undertake meaningful work and raise the profile, scale, and criticality of foodservice as part of the broader Australian food sector.
AFAB CEO Tony Green said the association intends to fill a gap in representation for the entire sector, working with producers, manufacturers, distributor, operators, and service providers to create a sustainable and rewarding future for all in the foodservice industry.
“There is a gap in the sector for this type of “whole” representation. There is no other association that defines itself the way we define ourselves, nor any other association that wants to represent as many parts of the value chain as we do. This is the biggest challenge,” Mr Green said. “Foodservice needs one voice, we need a leading industry body to take the reins and guide a fragmented sector through the Covid19 recovery process and beyond. If you look at the numbers, there are 80,000 foodservice outlets in Australia and then there is also manufacturing and distribution.”
“Our intent is to make sure that we can get unity and consistency of voice to policymakers.”
AFAB aim to work collaboratively with the other major foodservice associations in Australia in order to achieve the best outcomes for the industry.
“We are not a competitor to other foodservice associations,” Mr Green said. “We want to have a collaborative relationship with them, and we want to represent more of the industry than what is being done now.”
The Sydney-based association is the creation of founders Sissel Rosengren (Food Industry Foresight) and Steve Ward (Core Element Executive Recruitment Partners) who collectively offer 45 years of experience in the foodservice industry.
The development of AFAB began taking shape in February last year as a reaction to the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on Australia’s foodservice industry across all areas of the sector.
Mr Green said: “The feedback Sissel Rosengren and Steve Ward had from colleagues in the foodservice industry validated the need for a contemporary industry-wide advocacy body that went the extra mile.”
“The biggest impact of the pandemic all the way through the supply chain was not only these lockdowns and closures, but also the restrictions on capacity at venues.”
“Limitations throughout the pandemic have been significant and while we felt that the existing bodies representing areas of the foodservice sector did a really good job of being the go-to, the problem was they were only the go-to for operators.”
“There was great disappointment around how the government responded during the pandemic and how there could have been alternative measures, or negotiations, to gain a whole lot more understanding about what those implications were.”
The core pillars for AFAB are based around connecting, advocating and integrating.
Connecting to “unlock”, identify opportunities, bringing foodservice capabilities together in new ways to innovate and unlock value.
Advocating for the “whole”, to policy makers and stakeholders to be aware of systemic issues in foodservice, including their causes, point of intervention, and constructive solutions.
Integrate for competitive advantage, integrating functions across the Foodservice value chain to reduce frictional handoffs and create economies of scale.
Mr Green, who started his career in foodservice 30 years ago as an apprentice chef, said: “We are really excited about the purpose of what we will do in working toward lifting Australia’s foodservice industry to its rightful position, reflecting the importance and contribution of this market to Australia’s economy.”
“When you are working in an association like AFAB, a lot of it is about giving back to an industry that has given so much to us all.”
“Speaking with foodservice industry stakeholders, listening to their plight, sharing their passion, feeling their frustrations. I am visualising how powerful we could be as one voice, AFAB is compelled to make a change.”