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10 themes from Future Food-Tech Summit 2023 in London

The Future Food-Tech Summit in London, held on September 28-29, 2023, was a melting pot of innovation, collaboration, and forward-thinking. As participants, Biosafe was deeply immersed in the discussions, and we are thrilled to share our insights and reflections from the summit.



We put together 10 themes from the summit:

  1. Innovation in protein production: The summit kicked off with a workshop by Ginkgo Bioworks, emphasizing the importance of strain engineering for functional protein production. The potential of precision fermentation collaborations was a highlight. Ginkgo Bioworks showcased how R&D collaborations can unlock proteins and enzymes for creating more economical food ingredients, such as alternative meat products with enhanced texture and flavour.

  2. Balancing nutrition and taste: A recurring theme was the challenge of creating foods that are both nutritious and delicious. The pushback against ultra-processed foods and the need for innovative solutions to deliver healthier products, such as plant-based patties and sugar alternatives, was evident. The session named Nutrition Without Sacrifice addressed the need to produce food at scale for a growing population without compromising on nutritional quality. Brands like Unilever and Pepsico shared their strategies for navigating this balance, such as reformulating popular snack products to reduce salt and sugar while maintaining taste.

  3. Climate-smart solutions: The environmental impact of food production took centre stage. Discussions revolved around strategies to reduce emissions, innovations to minimize carbon footprints, and the potential for carbon labelling on products. Aleph Farms and Carboncloud discussed their strategies for reducing emissions across the food supply chain. Carboncloud, for instance, has developed software that helps food producers calculate and label the carbon footprint of their products, promoting transparency and consumer awareness.

  4. Fortification for health: The importance of fortifying foods to address nutrient deficiencies, such as fibre and iron, was emphasized. The role of scientific trials in achieving better nutrient bioavailability was also discussed. Nuritas and Fonterra discussed addressing deficiencies in essential nutrients. Nuritas, for instance, uses AI to discover bioactive peptides in food that can be used for fortification, ensuring consumers get essential nutrients like iron and calcium.

  5. Plant-based and alternative proteins: The growth and challenges of the plant-based sector were explored, with a focus on leveraging fermentation and ensuring taste and nutritional quality. The session A Turning Point for Plant-Based highlighted innovations in plant-based products. Oatly, for instance, shared their journey in improving the taste and nutritional profile of their oat milk, making it a popular dairy alternative.

  6. Microbiome and personalised nutrition: The complexities of the microbiome and the potential of probiotics and fungi to bolster gut health were discussed. Zoe, a company that participated in the Replenishing the Microbiome session, uses AI to analyze users' gut microbiomes and provide personalized nutrition recommendations, ensuring optimal gut health and nutrient absorption.

  7. Biotech and scaling: The challenges and opportunities in scaling biotechnologies, such as precision fermentation and cell culturing, were explored. Climax Foods, in the Next Steps for Biotech session, discussed their use of AI and computational biology to create plant-based alternatives to dairy and meat products, emphasising the importance of scaling these technologies sustainably.

  8. Consumer trends and data analysis: The summit delved into consumer behaviours, analyzing trends and drivers using data. AI Palette, in the "Consumer Deep Dive" session, showcased their AI-driven platform that analyzes consumer data to predict food and beverage trends, helping brands stay ahead of evolving consumer preferences. The impact of cost-of-living crises on food choices and the increasing interest in alt-proteins and nutrition were discussed.

  9. Financing food-tech: The future of food-tech financing, especially after a cautious period, was explored. The focus was on de-risking investments and attracting capital, especially with the growing interest in climate tech. Five Seasons Ventures, in the Financing Food-Tech session, discussed their investment strategy, emphasizing startups that focus on sustainable food production and innovative technologies that can meet the demands of a growing global population.

  10. EU regulatory issues: The session chaired by the Good Food Institute called European Spotlight: Accelerating Cell Culturing through Collaboration & R&D focused on the UK Government's support for the Cellular Agriculture Manufacturing Hub and the progress seen by the Dutch Government around cell-based tastings. It touched upon the regulatory landscape across Europe, which was of interest to Biosafe given our specialisation in EU regulatory issues.

Future Food Tech Ecosystem

Biosafe's findings:

From our perspective, the summit underscored the importance of innovation and collaboration in addressing the challenges of a growing global population and changing consumer preferences. While EU regulatory issues, an area of our expertise, were not dominant on the agenda, the convergence between the EU and the UK, especially with the UK's involvement in Horizon Europe, was a positive sign for collaborative efforts in the region.

The alignment of evolving consumer habits with R&D objectives was another critical topic, highlighting the need for sustainable and consumer-centric innovations.

In conclusion, the Future Food-Tech Summit in London was a testament to the industry's commitment to creating a sustainable, nutritious, and climate-smart future. As we reflect on the summit, we are already looking forward to the next Future Food-Tech Summit in Chicago in June 2024 and continuing our journey towards a sustainable and innovative food-tech future.

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Published: 31.10.2023

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