Innovations Changing the Way We View Food

At the end of last year, my colleagues and I at Rabobank asked stakeholders from the across the food industry what the biggest commercial opportunities for food innovation would be over the next five years.

The responses pointed to multiple trends – from the rise of plant-based food, clean meat and customised food, to changes happening in the supply chain. It was clear to everyone that the revolution we are seeing in the food space today is pervasive. As one respondent said, “Revolution is everywhere, all along the value chain, from farm to fork, and there is no one (innovation) clearly more impactful than the others.”

The importance of innovation in the food system is going to be critical if we are to feed an estimated 9.8 billion people by 2050. This is why I am excited to be speaking at the upcoming FIA Food for the Future Summit on 26th April in Singapore. At the event, I hope to have the opportunity to meet some of the exciting innovative start-ups that will be discussing how they are revolutionising the food industry here in Asia and around the world.

Clara Foods is one such start-up that I’m looking forward to meeting. Based in San Francisco, Clara Foods is working towards a disruptive advance in food technology by creating the world’s first animal-free egg white. Clara Foods recognises that technology may hold the solution to meeting the protein needs of a rapidly growing population. Using less water, land and inputs, Clara Foods is working at the sharp end of food tech to lessen the impact that our food chain is having on the planet. I’m looking forward to learning more about how they believe technology and innovation can reduce our impact on the planet.

In addition to lab-grown proteins, we are increasingly seeing plant-based proteins being developed that offer meat eaters a replacement to traditional animal products. We’ve already seen meat-free beef burgers that look, smell, taste, and even ‘bleed’ like the real thing, but now Ricky Lin, Founder and CEO of Life3 Biotech and his team have managed to create meat-free chicken. I’ll certainly be taking this opportunity to speak with Ricky about how Life3 Biotech is taking vegetables and legumes and making them look and taste like real chicken.

The event will also be attended by Eugene Wang, Founder of Sophie’s Kitchen which produces plant-based seafood. I’ve read many articles about the sustainability issues facing the seafood value chain, so I’m particularly interested to hear how Eugene and his team are using 100 percent plant-based products to create everything from crab cakes to smoked salmon, without a single fish being caught!

The above-mentioned companies are just a handful of those that I will be meeting at the FIA Food for the Future Summit, and they all represent a huge wave of innovation that is sweeping our industry. They are the change that innovation brings, extending beyond any one food category and fundamentally changing the way we view food. I look forwarding to meeting all the innovators that will be at this year’s Summit and learning more about what they have in store for the future of food.

FIA’s inaugural Food for the Future Summit will take place on 26 April at the Grand Hyatt in Singapore. This invitation-only event for CEOs and senior leaders will feature debates around some of the biggest food trends and issues relating to food innovation, reformulation, sustainability and product packaging.

A full list of the innovators that will be attending this year’s FIA Food for the Future Summit can be found here.

Mr Nicholas Fereday, who is Executive Director and Senior Analyst of Food & Consumer Trends for Rabobank, will be giving a keynote address at the Summit.

Rabobank is a premier bank to the food, beverage and agribusiness industries and a leading renewable energy financier, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain. Prior to joining Rabobank, Mr Fereday was a Senior Economist and Vice President of Sales, Research & Marketing, at LMC International, an independent economic and business consultancy for the agribusiness sector. Prior to LMC, he worked as a Senior Research Economist for The Natural Resources Institute in the U.K. Additionally Mr Fereday has worked as a freelance economic journalist, a Senior Economist with the Government of Papua New Guinea, as well as a lecturer/tutor in Applied Economics. He holds a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Reading University in the U.K.