2015 was a landmark year for food and the climate. The World Expo in Milan saw for the first time the world coming together to discuss ood; world leaders came together in New York to sign and commit to the Sustainable Development Goals; the Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted; the European Food 2030 initiative was launched; and even His Holiness Pope Francis joined the climate fight with his “Laudato Si” encyclical letter.
Climate change is one of the most significant challenges that humanity is facing, but where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. With innovation, a sustainable future is possible.
Deloitte is striving to stimulate food innovation with the newly launched FoodForward accelerator. It will be the first corporate accelerator dedicated to food, focusing on innovation, food tech, retail and “Made in Italy”. The accelerator is scouting for the best food startups – from all over the world – and will give ten teams the opportunity to grow and develop in the accelerator for 15 weeks. Applications are open until July 29th, so if you have a game-changing idea in food tech, you can still apply here.
Global Food Innovation Summit – takeaways from Seeds&Chips 2018 – Pt II
The second day of Seeds & Chips saw the former US Secretary of State John Kerry as keynote speaker. Kerry talked about the importance to value food and the need for innovations that will sustainably feed our future: “Millions of people could eat more and better if we thought smarter,” he said. Opposed to the current political views of the US President Donald Trump, Kerry believes that climate change is real, and that it’s happening faster than ever before. “86 million metric tons of water melts in the Arctic every day; all the water that greater NY, NJ and Connecticut needs in an entire year,” he said.
Nevertheless, there is hope in his words when he mentions the power that collective movements can have and the successful aftermaths of the Paris Agreement in 2015. “In the last three years more money was invested in sustainable options than in the total money invested in fuel and coal.” He invites the public to push for sustainable energy market policies and to “believe in this future, in our power, our ability to have an impact. Kerry concluded by restating the gravity of the current environmental situation and proposing a carbon tax as the only holistic way to accelerate the reverse of climate change.
“There is no planet B…and I believe in the ability of the human mind and spirit to chase solutions,” John Kerry said.
The day continued with a session dedicated to the power of women in food innovation. It has been a real inspiration to hear what this panel of women is doing to build a more just and sustainable food system. I highly recommend watching the whole talk here.
Throughout the summit, I discovered and heard about a countless number of innovations, but the one I am about to tell you is my favourite.
James Rogers is the founder and CEO of Apeel Sciences, the company behind a revolutionising innovative solution to food waste, which is a $2.6 trillion problem. Nature has been the ultimate source of inspiration for Apeel Sciences, which developed a range of natural powders to apply on produce that can double and quadruple shelf life. The powders are made by isolated molecules that can be found in every plant that lives above water. These molecules are naturally used by plants to protect themselves from desiccation and the external environment. The powders are mixed with water to obtain a liquid in which produce items can be dipped in and create optimised microclimates for all different kinds of produce. This ensures not only less waste, but also better flavour and nutritional values to final consumers. Apeel is now being rolled out in the Americas, Japan and China, but I honestly can’t wait for its introduction in the European food supply chains.
LeanPath is another company that was presented during the “Innovative Solutions to Food Waste” session. Andrew Shakman, the CEO, explained how LeanPath is helping the food service to prevent and minimise food waste by providing the right measuring tools. Its strategy is based on cutting-edge technology and empowerment of the culinary staff. The technological tools measure food waste, identify the root causes and transform the gathered data into insights and goals to drive behaviour change and improve processes. “Our mission is to make food waste prevention an everyday practice in the world’s kitchens,” he said. Shakman explained the importance of food waste measurement, because “when we measure we begin to improve things…and change culture, change how people think and how people work.” The fantastic work of the LeanPath team saved over 9.1 million kilos of food waste in the past three years, and its commitment is to make food waste measurement as accessible and affordable as possible so to eliminate food waste from every food service operation.
“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking,” ― R. Buckminster Fuller
If Apeel Sciences and LeanPath are tackling food waste towards the end of the food chain, Treasure 8 is interested in the earlier stages, specifically in-field waste and post-production. The goal is to convert food waste of a process into safe and reliable ingredients for other uses. Timothy Childs, the CEO, calls this process “the waste to nutrition pipeline”. Some of the products born from this new process are cookie thins made of vegetables and crispy beets that can be stored for more extended periods. Waste to nutrition increases health and prosperity, reduces global warming and carbon footprints.
Reduction of food waste is only one of the elements needed to develop a solution that can feed the world’s population within the next 30 years. We need to find ways to produce more and do so sustainably. Controlled environments are an innovative solution to produce food in habitats that regulate and optimise growing conditions, such as light exposure, thus maximising yields. Urban gardens, city farms, indoor and vertical farming are all examples of controlled environment agriculture, a technology that has the power to disrupt the way we produce and consume our food. During the session, several leaders presented terrific solutions to grow more and better food: from the sustainable food and energy production company of Alohas Eco-Centre; to the aquaponics farm of Nelson and Pade; and to the indoor and vertical farming solutions of Nutritower, Aponix and Sproutsío.
Check our Instagram channel for highlights of the inspiring talk by Marc Buckley, founder of Alohas Eco-Centre.
Day 2 at Seeds & Chips was an incredible source of new ideas and inspiration for a better future food system.
Stay tuned to have the key-takeaways from day 3 and 4 of the summit. If you can’t wait, you can also find the videos of all the sessions at the YouTube channel of Seeds & Chips.