Outlook Concepts to feed a growing population
And the event got under way with a keynotespeech by Prof. David Hughes. He listed three problems for the global meat industry: the environment, health and animal welfare. This is one of the main reasons why even the latest UN climate report is demanding a change to human diets by calling on people to eat less meat. That said, the most consumed source of protein worldwide is not even meat, but fish and seafood (35%). The biggest trend in the current diet certainly lies in plant-based fish alternatives, with "beyond meat" burgers currently receiving the most attention. Even the large fast-food chains are now serving meatless meals or meat substitutes, according to the Prof.
Speaker Jeffrey Davis from iSeaPartners asked the question ‘What if?’ What if it were possible to optimise all production processes by connecting all end devices and machines to the cloud? Davis presented technology that makes it possible to analyse the entire supply chain, re -evaluate existing studies, calculate all variables relating to production output and quality, provide microbial diagnostic results, produce future models using machine learning, draw up cost–benefit analyses and makeefficiency forecasts for specific operational changes.
Wim de Laat from the Dutch company BioscienZ, which specialises in the development of new business models based on scientific insights, was the next speaker. He explained that fermentation processes have been used for a very long time in the production of food – we are all familiar with them from beer, wine, cheese and bread. De Laaf talked about how researchers at the BioscienZ fermentation laboratory working on a state-funded programme have developed a new fermentation process that permits the production of high-quality meat substitute using local raw materials such as potatoes and sugar beet. The result is a product with outstanding nutritional properties, an extremely high protein content and very high production capacity per hectare, allowing the project to be scaled up to produce tonnes of the product starting from next year.
Dr Matthias Moser is the managing director of Hydrosol from Ahrensburg, a company that improves the market success of food with innovative stabilising and texturizing systems. In a speech entitled ‘From the Known to the Unknown’, he critically reflected on how accustomed humans have become to eating (so much) meat. He subsequently talked about attractive alternatives to eating meat and fish as a bridge towards a plant-based future, also saying that it would remain important to work on the look, texture and taste of the food, because humans are creatures of habit who are both slow and reluctant to break with established behaviour patterns and habits.
The German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL) in Quakenbrück is dedicated to the transfer of findingsfrom research into practice; it is the link between science and practice, so to speak. Representing the institute was Prof. Stefan Töpfl, who began by identifying the big trends in current food production – processing the food as little as possible, optimising processes and automating food production, which together save a great deal of time and energy, and developing new methods for obtaining protein. New techniques that cater to these trends include high-pressure processes and pulsedelectric fields.
Thor Sigfusson, founder and chairman of Iceland Ocean Cluster made the case for reducing the silos and establishing a better link between science and business. He posed the key question of how we can use innovation and collaboration to embolden industry to create less waste and more value from the available materials, citing a striking example: the global fish industry has thrown ten million tonnes of good fish back into the sea or onto waste disposal sites to date. He then revealed a completely new value pyramid for the fish, because remains previously considered to be of no use are actually ideal for producing cosmetics, animal feed, pharmaceutical goods, health products, etc.
The final speech of this innovation day was given by Feras Alsamawi, senior manager of digital innovation EMEA at Amazon Web Services. In good old Amazon style, he is putting the cart before the horse, because Amazon always starts radically from the customer and the customer experience (in keeping with its guiding principle ‘customer obsession’) and then works its way back to the separate components and disciplines that contribute to this customer success.