Food Innovations of the Future: The Industry’s Vision

Earlier this year, Food Industry Asia (FIA) brought some of the world’s most prominent innovators together for the inaugural FIA Food for the Future Summit.

L-R: Amir Zaidman, The Kitchen Foodtech Hub; Niccolò Manzoni, Five Seasons Ventures; Matthieu Vermersch, VisVires New Protein; Eddy Lee, CoffeeVentures; Simone Frey,  Future of Nutrition; Joseph Zhou, Bits x Bites at the FIA Food for the Future Summit on the panel on the VC Perspective on the Future of Food on 26 April 2018 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

During the summit, FIA caught up with Mr Amir Zaidman and Dr Simone Frey, from food incubators The Kitchen Hub and Future of Nutrition to share their predictions on what innovations are likely to make waves in the coming years.

When asked about trends that will present growth opportunities for the food and beverage sector in the coming five years, both of Zaidman and Frey highlighted the potential of nutrition.

Amir: I think most prominently it would be “better-for-you” food and personalised nutrition which are now becoming much more well known and consumers are constantly looking for better foods, “free-from” foods, clear labels, traceable foods. The opportunity for personalised nutrition remains vast – from the possibility of nutrition based on one’s blood type, sugar level in one’s blood or even a microbiome. The technology to create a specific diet to address specific needs is available, and this presents tremendous growth opportunity for the food sector. We are hoping to find different types of food that can adjust to the different types of microbiome gut bacteria – this would make it better for people to digest and extract nutrients from it.

Simone: In the coming years, we will talk less about food but more about nutrition as a holistic approach to one’s health. For me, measurement will be the overarching anchor to potential developments in the space. Currently, there is difficulty to identify if one is well nourished or not. Unlike diseases which are likely to present symptoms, but with nutrition we are unable to see it and therefore there is a need to have more measurement tools. For instance, to measure nutrition levels in human beings, to know about their genomics, their biomarker status, their nourishment status. We’ve seen start-ups that are able to do genetic testing and biomarker measurements in blood. Measurement will not only happen in us but will also go along the value chain – supplier, food production, retailers. Currently, we see the nutrients go along the value chain but are unable to track the nutrients, and that our food has high quality nutrients. There are also start-ups coming up with rapid test-kits to measure along the value chain, and all of these rapid measurement innovations will eventually make nutrition transparent.

What types of food innovation do you hope to see in the future?

Amir: We are seeing a real revolution in the cellular agriculture space, which refer to the cultivating of cells instead of animals. For instance, cultured or clean meat and the creation of egg protein in fermentation processes instead of farming chickens that would lay eggs. Another interesting technology is CRISPR, which redefines the properties of plants to better fit our needs.

Simone: We are taking the first steps towards the concept of personalised nutrition through supporting start-ups which offers health programmes and MadeFor, which offers personalised nutrition packages that are delivered directly to consumers.

Amir Zaidman is the Vice President of Business Development of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub a technological incubator that invests and incubates foodtech start-ups in Israel.

Simone K. Frey is the Founder of Future of Nutrition, an accelerator for nutrition tech start-ups.

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