With strategy being one of Eat Well Global’s core capabilities, we work with key players across the food system to “chart the course” and ensure success in their corporate and commercial plans. But what does strategy actually mean? Is it relevant to all players in food and nutrition? How can one develop and deliver on strategy, and what comes next?

To answer all of these questions, we interviewed Sue Cloran, MBA, RD(SA) and Senior Vice President at Eat Well Global, on all things strategy. As a global nutrition marketing and communications expert with over 15 years of leadership experience worldwide, Sue has been spearheading key strategy projects on behalf of our clients for the last three years. Here is what she had to say on strategy, solutions, and success:

What is strategy?

“Strategy” is often associated with being big, scary, and daunting. But, really, what it comes down to is choices. At its simplest, strategy is deciding what to do and importantly, what not to do. Answering the question: where should we focus our limited resources? Also, I find that the word strategy is misused – people confuse strategy with frameworks or plans. A strategy sets direction (“where do we want to go and how will we get there?”), whereas frameworks are ways to organize and present information. On the other hand, plans answer the tactical “what will we do concretely to meet our goals?”. It’s an important distinction.

Why is nutrition and sustainability strategy essential for food players?

To begin with, nutrition and sustainability strategy must be tied to the overall company vision, mission, and strategy in order to be impactful. In other words, company strategies should have nutrition and sustainability elements built in! At its core, defining such strategies for brands or companies matters because it helps set the direction, supports impact generation, and provides an accountability framework, i.e., it’s a concrete way to measure success.

What goes into strategic planning?

Nutrition and sustainability strategy can mean many things to us at Eat Well Global. It varies from defining a nutrition or sustainability strategy for the respective functions within a company or the company as a whole, to setting brand-specific nutrition guardrails for brands, to developing a strategy to reach target audiences with important messages. So, depending on what we’re working towards, the process can look a bit different. That said, the strategy development process typically begins with a stage of landscaping (both internal and external). Then it’s all about identifying the strategic framework, performing risk analysis, and laying out the action plan, including resources and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Finally, we set everything into motion with appropriate monitoring and witness the magic!

How does one ensure a successful strategy in the food business?

We find that there are two things that trip up companies when creating nutrition and sustainability strategies: one is stakeholder management, and the other is decision making. So, to tackle both, from the get-go, it’s important to define which internal or external stakeholders need to be brought in at which point, and set expectations about their specific contributions (e.g., are they a decision-maker or merely being informed?). It is critical to clearly outline and communicate such roles and responsibilities early on to enable efficient decision-making and move forward. In addition, having a common definition of what success looks like is paramount to success!

What comes after strategy?

The worst case is that the beautiful strategy is just admired and never gets put into action! That said, usually, we’d see a planning period before getting into any execution. For example, we would be clicking down to the next level of detail, such as the regional business units’ role in delivering the global strategy. Or it could be mobilizing resources to put the strategy into action through workshops, trainings, internal communications, and more.

What can nutrition strategy look like for food and nutrition players?

It’s no surprise that strategies are kept internal and highly confidential – it’s the companies’ “recipe for success”, a competitive advantage. Externally, we often see commitment statements or the implementation of strategic initiatives such as nutrition guidelines, new partnerships, or product reformulation. All of these indicate strategic choices coming to life.

How can Eat Well Global help build your nutrition strategy?

Eat Well Global specializes in tailoring strategy work to our partners’ unique needs - we translate landscaping and insights into strategic frameworks and help companies plan their next steps. We’re true experts at identifying and synthesizing relevant information, running facilitated workshops, designing impactful communications plans, and ultimately, guiding those all-important “choices” our partners need to make. With a team of over 20 nutrition experts with experience across leading brands worldwide, we deeply understand what nutrition and sustainability strategy means and which tools to leverage to make it successful!


Curious about what strategy can mean for you and your stakeholders? Sue would be thrilled to chat about your specific strategy needs via email, or her direct meeting booking system.