We become what we think about. That’s a wise phrase. Also, that’s a phrase that definitely fits successful leaders. Nikos Manouselis, CEO at Agroknow, and his partners seem to have had big plans when starting the company. That’s why Agroknow has positioned itself as a global authority in its field, with clients mostly based in the USA but also in Europe and Asia. Agroknow’s mission is to ensure safer and more sustainable food for consumers worldwide. Nikos Manouselis explains everything we need to know about Agroknow in a very interesting interview for CEOWORLD magazine.
Q: Can you briefly explain to us the purpose of establishing the company and what it has accomplished so far?
Nikos Manouselis: Agroknow is a data & analytics company that uses AI to predict food safety risks and help its clients prevent product recalls. We offer FOODAKAI, a cloud-based risk intelligence platform that helps safety, quality and supplier assurance teams in food manufacturers, retailers, and food service chains.
We are considered to be a global expert in food & agriculture data, specializing in AI and big data applications in the food supply chain since 2008.
We are being trusted by major household brands like The Coca-Cola Company, Mondelēz International, PepsiCo, McDonald’s & Unilever, as well as international organizations like FAO of the United Nations. We have received awards for our work from the Stelios Foundation, Elastic.co, the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority, the Greek Federation of Enterprises (SEV), and others.
Q: Which business sectors do you work with, and in which countries?
Nikos Manouselis: Since our founding, the business sector that we have been specializing into is the food and agriculture one. We believe that is is a crucial sector, undergoing a major digital transformation.
Food companies all around the world want to avoid major incidents, by being more proactive and less reactive. They want to increase the amount of data that they can access, to better see around the corners and invest in the right preventive measures. Last but not least, they want to better allocate mitigation resources, to reduce investment in crisis investigation and product recalls.
We use digital technologies to help global manufacturers, retailers, and restaurant chains ensure the safety of their food products. Our clientele primarily includes companies based in the USA, but we also have clients from Europe and Asia. Our mission is to ensure safer and more sustainable food for consumers worldwide.
Q: In your experience, which will be the challenges in food safety in the coming years?
Nikos Manouselis: In today’s challenging environment, a plethora of risks threaten the safety of food products. Microbiological hazards, chemical contaminants, food fraud, and so many others. Prominent food safety experts like Professor Chris Elliott from Queen’s University Belfast point out that the future grand challenges include: climate change; foodborne viruses of animal origin; antimicrobial resistance; the economic crisis; and unintended consequences of rushing the sustainability agenda.
We regularly apply our AI models over millions of historical food safety data, in order to forecast upcoming trends and emerging risks in the food supply chain. The outcomes are often validating but also sometimes contradicting with what food safety experts say. This is why we believe that such AI-powered scanning of the horizon is going to be an essential tool for the early identification and prevention of such risks.
Q: How difficult is it to maintain a market leadership role through your company in such a sensitive and complex field?
Nikos Manouselis: It is quite a challenging but also very rewarding journey. We had to systematically invest in thought leadership activities and marketing so that we can position our company as a global authority in its field. Our participation in networks like the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) has also provided us with access to valuable knowledge and expertise.
But the #1 reason for our success is our team. We have a unique blend of digital technology experts with food & agricultural scientists, therefore enabling us to be extremely aware of the challenges that we are trying to solve. And we are proud to be a culture-driven organization, strongly committed to a work environment that puts forward teamwork, respects everyone, speaks openly, demands accountability, and celebrates walking the extra mile.
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