Nobody's perfect. We are not a perfect industry and there are things we can do better - sorting out labelling and improving our environmental impact spring to mind. But while we strive to address our deficiencies, there is much we can be proud of.

What have we got be proud of? Well, if you take the whole food chain from farmers, through suppliers to retailers and foodservice our industry employs one in seven people in the UK and adds about 8% of all economic value added to the country's wealth creation.

That's not asset-based or property-based wealth. That's real money and real jobs.

In a time of increasing unemployment, this industry is actively looking for talent and actually hiring people a testament to our resilience and to the fact we have been a growth engine even in a recession.

In a time of increasing food and water scarcity, and in the absence of a political framework thanks to the failure in Copenhagen our industry is looking for long-term solutions to make our supply chains sustainable, safeguarding not only our businesses, but the planet.

There is and should always be strong competition, which drives businesses to be efficient and to innovate, which is good for consumers. But there is a huge opportunity for us to improve the profile of our industry if we can face the future with more consistency and confidence.

My experience with the Public Health Commission showed that even seemingly disparate groups with different points of view have much more in common than they think. We agreed on 98% of the issues. But arguments concerning the 2% of difference hinder progress.

Identifying commonalities and aligning ourselves behind them will enable us to work more effectively with government policymakers and other parties.

But it will also demonstrate what a resilient, forward-thinking, consumer-focused and progressive industry we are. Qualities we should be proud of.

Dave Lewis is UK chairman of Unilever and was guest editor of The Grocer

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