Knowledgeshare live in Dubai provides insights into beverage industry challenges and opportunities

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The latest KNOWLEDGEshare Live event in Dubai provided stimulating and insightful debate on the major issues affecting the beverage industry. KNOWLEDGEshare is a beverage industry forum comprising a digital community (blog.knowledgeshare.com) of senior industry players and thought leaders, with the Live events providing the opportunity to engage in the discussions face-to-face.

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The event - the third in the KNOWLEDGEshare Live series - saw almost 150 participants from across the beverage supply chain gather in Dubai on 10-11 February 2015. Each was eager to identify how the industry can add value at every stage through a collaborative approach. Against the backdrop of various global challenges, the focus was on the many demands faced by the beverage industry and how the supply chain can work much more effectively by utilising the collective knowledge and experience that is available through such a forum.

KNOWLEDGEshare Live in Dubai 2015, presented in association with Sidel, the global provider of PET liquid packaging solutions, followed successful events staged in Germany and China in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The KNOWLEDGEshare community is growing year on year, bringing together decision-makers and influencers, to provide all those involved in the beverage supply chain with a forum for debating issues related to critical areas, from raw materials through to package design, production, transportation, point-of-sale, the consumer and beyond, including recyclability and sustainable methods of production.

Sidel President and CEO Mart Tiismann welcomed delegates to the event and commented – “A clear message raised at all three KNOWLEDGEshare Live events is the need to take a holistic view to industry issues and adopt a collective approach to addressing them. Operating in isolation, without appreciating the challenges that others within the beverage supply chain are facing, is a rather restrictive view. Of course, individual businesses must make their own decisions but there are degrees of similarity and commonality to many challenges across businesses and across sectors. There is a demand to discuss these matters in a forum where we bring together people with common interests. We have seen this in the increasing level of participation, which is helping us to gain a much clearer picture of what we face as an industry and, importantly, how we can work together to ensure a sustainable future.”

Subjects covered during KNOWLEDGEshare Live 2015 in Dubai were varied to reflect the fact that KNOWLEDGEshare is representative of the whole beverage industry. The discussion sessions were structured under three main topic streams: how PET can deliver value across the entire beverage supply chain; what the industry needs to do to respond to consumer tastes that are increasingly exotic and varied, while maintaining beverage safety and brand differentiation; and what the beverage production line of tomorrow will look like to meet the changing demands of the future.

During the three sessions, panellists from various sectors debated these issues, with many discussions arising from questions posed live by the delegates. This ensured real engagement, with the content driven directly from the floor, demonstrating the objective of KNOWLEDGEshare Live to be a neutral event that generates open-minded discussion around the issues affecting the beverage industry as a whole.

The discussions were specific to the industry and also in the context of the wider megatrends that are affecting us all. This was highlighted by one of the three keynote speakers, Rob Cameron, Executive Director of SustainAbility, an international think tank and advisory firm working to drive business and market transformation in the pursuit of sustainable development. He spoke of some of the global issues, recognising that the increasing global population is not really the main challenge – rather that while there is enough food on the planet to feed the projected nine billion people by 2050, the issue lies more in the fact that our resources are not in the right places.

Other topics discussed were wide ranging and varied: from the upsurge in demand for ‘mix your own’ drinks as consumers look for increasing choice, to the use of smart data in improving line performance and how the industry is addressing the health issues associated with sugar content in beverages.

The networking opportunities were also significant, with delegates able to discuss the challenges faced at different points in the beverage supply chain, bringing their own personal perspectives into the debate to provide a collective approach to those challenges. Concluding the opening day was a gala dinner that provided further opportunities for networking.

Sharing knowledge

KNOWLEDGEshare Live 2015 in Dubai provided a forum for the beverage industry to come together and for the delegates to benefit from the collective knowledge of the high-level speakers, industry experts and fellow invitees. Among the comments from those who attended were:

“For me KNOWLEDGEshare is about innovations in PET, what can be done with PET, the bottle and how it’s going to be adapted to future consumer demand. I really enjoyed the panel discussion today on the supply chain. I am from a supply chain background. I worked for Coca-Cola for 34 years so I really enjoyed the back and forth - the interesting differences from a marketing perspective to a technical perspective.”

Charles Mason, FABS, South Africa

“The Iraq market for PET is growing very fast. It is very useful to have these networking meetings to share experiences. Every market is a little bit different but there are many common points, especially regarding sustainability, cutting costs and having an optimum supply chain.”

Waseem Gorgees, Al Hayat Company for Soft Drinks & Mineral Water, North Iraq

“We are looking to share what’s on the market, to make it more profitable for our company. We have seen many interesting things – how to reduce our raw materials and our costs that can help our company in the future.”

Karez Junaid, UB Group, Turkey

“I think it’s outstanding. I’m really impressed by the content and the depth of the discussions. I think it’s been fascinating. I’ve personally learnt quite a lot from just listening. You’ve got the whole supply chain here and that makes such a difference.”

Chris Dow, Closed Loop Recycling, UK

This KNOWLEDGEshare event has been an eye opener for me. I was really impressed and riveted by some of the talks about the future of our communities, how we engage with each other, how we do business together, what we contribute to society now and what we leave behind for future generations. I will be working on many of the concepts that I’ve learnt about today.”

Hussain Jamil, Ecopack, Pakistan

Ongoing discussions

The beverage industry debate now continues online, with many of the questions raised during KNOWLEDGEshare Live 2015 being answered through the ongoing discussions at blog.knowledgeshare.com. Many of the panellists who spoke at the event will continue to contribute as guest bloggers, ensuring continuity from those at the heart of the debate.

The next KNOWLEDGEshare Live event takes place later this year on March 24 and 25 in Chengdu, China. For more information about KNOWLEDGEshare please visit www.knowledgeshare.com.

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