Food and Agriculture: When Economics Aren’t Enough

By Bill Coletti, CEO, Kith


Critical Takeaways:

  • Population growth and external factors affect agricultural supply and demand
  • However, this view fails to incorporate the 3Cs, which influence attention paid to issues.


CME economist Erik Norland wrote this compelling article about the history and future of food production. Any good economists clearly articulates the constraints on the system and Norland does so by identifying population growth and geopolitical dynamics as key factors impacting both global agricultural supply and demand. He also identifies the primary unknown in the global food equation as innovation and the ability of new technology to increase units of output per unit of input. It is because of breakthrough innovation and technology that Malthus’s predictions never came to pass and production has increased at a faster rate than population.


Great story. What’s missing?


Customers. Communities. Critics.


In today’s world of increasing connectivity and inter-connectivity where anyone with a Twitter account or a Youtube account can become a global influencer, economics and traditional supply and demand considerations can no longer be the only factors driving business decisions.


As the agriculture industry continues trying to satisfy increased global demand for its output, corporations will have to consider how strategic decisions impact its’ customers, communities, and critics.  


How do you know how these groups will be impacted by a company’s decisions?
You ask. You engage. You start a dialogue. Managing a business by a spreadsheet will not enable you to lead a business successfully in the digital era. While most companies pride themselves on their ability to build relationships with customers, strategically managing relationships with communities and critics can be an entirely new realm. How do you tackle that new realm in a meaningful manner? Let’s talk about it.