ESSEC Chair: Meeting the challenges of the agri-food sector

The agri-food industry is currently undergoing major changes and its future is being created by a new generation. Dedicated to transforming agri-food companies and systems, the ESSEC Food Business Challenges Chair program prepares the future leaders of the agri-food sector for the challenges of tomorrow.

From the fields to the fork, every aspect of the agri-food sector is changing: consumer habits, health policies, agricultural practices, digitalization, environmental issues… Its companies need to support these various transformations with innovative, reliable, and sustainable solutions. Aware of these challenges and in keeping with its pioneering spirit, Lesaffre co-founded the ESSEC Food Business Challenges Chair program in 2021 to train and inspire the sector’s future decision-makers.


A program designed to give young people the keys to the agri-food industry of tomorrow

The Chair program has been devised to give students an in-depth knowledge of the transformations taking place in the agri-food sector and to jointly explore the challenges that lie ahead. It provides them with an overall understanding of the ecosystem and the resources needed – both human and technological – to lead the transition of our food and the planet. Lasting 6 months, the program includes:

  • 3 core courses: understanding the consumer, improving nutrition, and new technologies for the food market;
  • 2 seminars on the food sector’s challenges and 1 elective seminar on 6 different specialized topics;
  • events: visits, workshops, conferences…
  • a personal research project.


Multidisciplinary, partnership-based, international: a chair with a global vision

The Chair welcomes Master’s students with various areas of specialization. “Management, purchasing, supply chain, sustainability… having participants from around the world with different backgrounds brings a real richness to the program,” says Claire Decamp, Head of Human Resources Projects at Lesaffre. “As part of the Chair program, students also have to work in project groups for one term on a case study related to an issue facing Lesaffre. It’s a way for students to immerse themselves in one of our company’s activities, to better understand its challenges, and to suggest solutions.”

For Lesaffre, the initiative underlines its international dimension and also puts into practice its belief that collaboration between industry and universities creates synergies, which then lead to innovation. By examining these issues with the young people who will create the food industry of the future, Lesaffre and its industrial partners Axéréal, Bel and Metro, along with the CY Initiative of Excellence academic consortium, are able to prepare for the changes.

“Thanks to the Chair program, we are also developing a recruitment pool of qualified candidates in various fields – which creates a lot of opportunities for acting on food ecosystems, whether at the local or the international level,” adds Claire Decamp. “By being focused on raising awareness about the issues, providing knowledge of the tools available, and solving problems, the ESSEC Chair program offers students a unique learning experience that gives them the keys to rethinking the food industry of tomorrow.”



* The ESSEC Business School is a French business and management school:

"The Food Business Challenges Chair program was the ideal training course for broadening my perspective of the food sector before starting my career."
Former student on the program