The agrofood industry is one of the most important sectors worldwide. It has been immersed in an unprecedented transformation process: a food-tech revolution with a great deal of innovation, though also with many challenges to face in order to become a more digitalised, sustainable, and competitive sector in coming years.
Disruptive innovations, advanced technologies, and new business models are trying to respond to major challenges affecting the sector, such as demographic growth of the population or sustainability, where digitalisation and the surge of new ingredients are positioned as some of the industry’s main areas of development. The impact pursued is clear: care of the planet and of people’s state of health and wellbeing, thereby helping achieve several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The first concerns the streamlining of current supply chains and production processes to improve efficiency and generate a positive impact on the surroundings. The second concerns changing consumer priorities and promoting new more sustainable and healthy forms of consumption.
Many things are happening very quickly, which are and will be key to defining the future of food. And the food value chain is situated in a key moment full of opportunities to change the future. That is why Food4Future, a global movement for the food revolution was born. Food4Future is much more than an event; the summit is only an annual meeting point for all actors who want to be part of that change.
Food4Future has also demonstrated that this is ‘the time’ for the food sector and food-tech: investors are keen to enter the sector, they want to join in food processing and support disruptive projects in this area: alternative proteins, new ingredients created by precision fermentation, nutrition based on ‘-omic’ sciences, more sustainable packaging, 3D printing of food, fast pathogen detection methods, etc. Also, new businesses are emerging which will act as job sources for the entire food value chain.
Rogelio Pozo, CEO AZTI
- Health and wellbeing
At the BILBAO Food4Future World Summit we put forward the following Manifesto to take action:
1. All people have the same right to receive food that is safe and healthy in quantity and quality, to assure their wellbeing and a decent and active life.
2. The shift from an exclusively financial value chain to a food value chain is necessary and urgent. Integral eating habits whereby people at all times have access to food that is safe, genuine, nutritive, and healthy, and systems used to produce food that is sustainable and ethical, protect the environment and protect workers’ human rights.
3. Education and training of people should be the priority of the food system, through social commitment and the aim of companies and institutions to achieve protection of and respect for natural ecosystems, animal wellbeing, and people’s health. These goals need to accompany awareness about healthy and responsible eating habits among the population and especially among young people, with a view to ensuring a sustainable food ecosystem that can benefit the entire current and future population.
4. The demographic challenge is the great transformer of future food use. The food supply must be guaranteed for all people everywhere in the world.
5. It is clearly impossible to feed 9 billion people with the current eating habits in the developed world if we do not reinvent production methods and food preservation and distribution. Scientific knowledge and technological advances are the levers needed for food processing in all respective links.
6. Sustainability is a great challenge regarding food. More food must be produced with less greenhouse gas emissions, a smaller hydric footprint, which assures the ecosystems’ health. New more sustainable protein sources need to be developed along with more efficient production processes that consume less water, use less energy and are more renewable, generate less food waste and recover and enhance the value of by-products, integrating them once again into the food production chain.
7. These commitments require new technologies and production and transformation processes as well as agro-livestock inputs with less impact on the health of live organisms and more sustainable materials for food packaging and preservation.
8. It is urgent for the digital revolution to be extended to food, the aim being to achieve sustainability through efficiency, to connect with consumers by offering availability, convenience, and transparency, and generating trust in food.
9. Food should help achieve better levels of health among the population, from a varied offering that enables more personalised nutrition in accordance with the needs of each person and their cultural values.
10. Advances in scientific knowledge and technology have accelerated at all levels and it should be ensured that they can reach all small and medium-sized companies, facilitating equal opportunities involving the whole ecosystem (from farm to table) in the food processing that the world requires.
To download the full report please visit the AZTI website here