Blog: Butterflies, Charlie Chaplin and rose petals - it must be the CIES World Food Business Summit!

Catherine Sleep | 21 June 2006

Bonjour from beautiful Paris, where I’m attending the CIES World Food Business Summit. Proceedings have got off to a, well, rather bizarre start. It’s the 50th anniversary of these annual summits, so CIES decided to strike a celebratory note in its opening ceremony. First we were treated to a quaint slide show of ‘retail through the ages’, i.e. lots of sepia shots of fat-bellied shopkeepers standing proudly behind the teak counters of their olde shoppes. The other half of the screen, randomly, displayed footage from Charlie Chaplin films. No, I’ve no idea either.

This montage then segued inexplicably into footage of goldfish and, ahem, butterflies swimming/fluttering about the place, presumably to calm us all down after the excitement provoked by the fat shopkeepers and Chaplin. The pièce de résistance was provided by a shower of real live rose petals which were released over us all, each one presumably representing a fallen shopkeeper of yore. Or something. It was all très français, and somehow girly…

…which is certainly more than can be said for the Summit itself. Of 24 speakers who will mount the podium, just one is female, a ratio reflected in the attendee base too. Such a situation is hardly particular to the food industry but it is depressing, especially given the general perception of retail as a sector in which strides have been made to create a level playing field for both genders.


Live from the CIES World Food Business Summit

Food industry leaders this week called for united lobbying efforts to achieve a more equitable deal from legislators in Washington, Brussels and Geneva....


Food industry highlights Hallowe'en pumpkin waste

UK consumers are being urged to think of other ways to use their jack-o-lanterns and cut the millions of tonnes of pumpkin that is wasted at this time of year....


Lack of healthy options at UK attractions points to opportunity

A new report by the Soil Association has highlighted a lack of healthy lunch options at the cafes of some of the UK's most prestigious visitor attractions....


just-food hits the UK's airwaves

The BBC turned to just-food today for insight on the price dispute between Tesco and Unilever....

just-food homepage

Forgot your password?