Susan Barratt, CEO of IGD reflects on another extraordinary year for the food...

18 January 2022

From the ongoing impact of COVID-19 to adapting to a new relationship with the EU, plus well-publicised labour shortages, the food and consumer goods industry was rarely out of the headlines last year. Here IGD CEO, Susan Barratt, reflects on 2021 and how the industry came together to deliver incredible social impact.

The food and consumer goods industry has always been an exciting and challenging industry to work in, but never more so than in the last couple of years. Just keeping supply chains moving to ensure shelves are stocked has taken energy, ingenuity, and innovation. In this environment, any business could be forgiven for simply focusing on the task in hand and postponing longer-term projects and decisions.

I’m immensely proud that IGD sits at the heart of an industry that, even in the face of adversity, continues to prioritise the critical issues from climate change and obesity to building an inclusive and diverse workforce for the future.

In 2021 our Social Impact initiatives, highlighted in this infographic, had a huge impact, with some 4,800 companies engaging with our projects, demonstrating that creating tangible, positive change is now embedded in our industry’s DNA.

We deliver Social Impact in four key areas:

  • People: Our Attract, Develop, Thrive campaign played a key role in the industry’s effort to build a workforce fit for the future by supporting more than 10,000 young people to develop their employability skills and provided over 15,000 free learning hours to industry colleagues
  • Health: We’re helping to shift consumer behaviour towards healthier and more sustainable diets by working collaboratively to test strategies in real-life settings
  • Sustainability: We’re championing food waste reduction with more than 250,000 tonnes of food saved from going to waste via the IGD-WRAP Food Waste Reduction Roadmap. We’re also mobilising industry and critical stakeholders to develop sustainable packaging systems and accelerating our progress towards Net Zero
  • Economics: We’re supporting better strategic planning and decision-making with over 1,400 business leaders using our economic insight

We don’t do this work alone and it wouldn’t be possible without the expertise of our industry working groups, member companies, volunteers, customers, and policy makers, and of course the IGD team who are passionate about making a tangible difference.

Furthermore, IGD is an organisation of two interconnected communities – Social Impact and Commercial Insight. The profit made via Commercial Insight is reinvested into Social Impact and we’re genuinely grateful to businesses for their support, which enables us to deliver these critical projects.

So, what do we have planned for 2022? From bringing the industry together to deliver a harmonised solution on environmental labelling and developing a new shared ambition to deliver healthier and more sustainable diets, to expanding our scale and impact in People and Economics, we have an ambitious programme of work to deliver throughout the year.

We’d love more people and companies to get involved. If you’d like to find out more about our work or you’ve been inspired to join us in delivering positive social impact, visit and please get in touch.

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