Systems Thinking and the Legacy of Big Food, with Dr Nigel Hughes, Kellogg

The decisions by major food companies impact consumers, farmers, and the environment at every stage of the agrifood value chain. But the status quo strategies of ‘Big Food’ don’t always acknowledge the complex, interconnected systems at play around the world.

Our guest this week is Dr. Nigel Hughes, Senior Vice President of Global R&D at Kellogg. After spending a career in what he would unwillingly call Big Food, Nigel now advocates for the urgent recoupling of the many smaller systems, from farming to processing to distribution, that have become detached as they’ve been optimized over decades.

In this episode Nigel speaks about:

  • The dimensions of change driving how Kellog thinks about the future of our food system 
  • Whether consumers or regulations will drive action on sustainability and climate risk
  • Kellog’s specific climate risk profile, Scope-3 emissions, and focus on fertilizer as a lever for action

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Key takeaways

  • [04:40] The main drivers shaping strategy for legacy food companies
  • [06:23] Did food companies wait too long for consumers to drive expectations about sustainability?
  • [17:13] How Kellogg thinks about its climate impact through the supply chain