COP26: Urgent Action Needed Throughout the Agri-Food Supply Chain
As the COP26 summit brings parties together in Glasgow this week, there is an urgent call for climate action. The food industry has a responsibility to create environmentally, economically and socially sustainable systems around food – and the time is now.
Future Food-Tech spoke to five active investors to hear how they are prioritizing investment decisions around sustainable supply chains, as well as five technology pioneers who are developing solutions that deliver on both human and planetary health.
“Food systems are meant to nourish and sustain our life on this planet, but they’ve become some of the greatest threats to its future, draining it of its precious resources and contributing to its rapid decline,” says Aviv Wolff, Co-Founder and CEO, Remilk.
“Our society finds itself at a crossroads. Traditional approaches to producing, distributing, and consuming food are no longer sustainable. Global and local food supply-demand problems grow more complex with each passing year,” agrees Pieter Wolters, Managing Director, DSM Venturing.
A Global Challenge
To such a global challenge there can be no single solution: Real impact will require innovation at every stage of the supply chain, and collaboration between stakeholders across sectors and borders.
“The strain on our global food supply continues as environmental, economic and social pressures intensify. This challenge is bigger than any single solution. The technology innovation required calls for greater collaboration to ensure – not only resiliency – but also transparency across the entire food system,” says Aaron Hutchinson, President and Co-Founder, CropTrak.
Priscila de Pinho, Managing Director – Global Agrochemicals Lead, Accenture, explains further: “The future of the food value chain requires leaders to become more sustainable, more efficient and to support growers and consumers in an equitable way. Cultivating this future vision combines innovation, precise planning and collaboration to harness technologies that will revolutionize the food-tech industry by forging a sustainable path for growers, healthy food for consumers and a safer planet.”
Investing in the Opportunity
By targeting funding to innovative technologies that improve the sustainability of our food supply chain, investors are enabling start-ups to make a bigger impact on the health of people and planet.
“We provide venture capital funding to start-up companies that share our vision: creating brighter lives for all. We are particularly investing in the areas of human and animal health, nutrition and biosciences including digital and tech models that help personalization and precision,’’ says Pieter Wolters, Managing Director, DSM Venturing.
“Bringing to the forefront technologies that can improve human and planetary health, without compromising on the customer’s experience, is what drives us at IndieBio and SOSV,” adds Pae Wu, CTO, IndieBio, Partner, SOSV.
“The recent stresses to the global food supply chain, combined with the world’s ever-growing population have created even more urgency in identifying, nurturing, and investing in technologies that can globally deliver high-quality proteins, cost-effectively, sustainably, and at scale,” explains Rahul Ray, Senior Director, Tyson Ventures.
Technology in Action
From microbial and precision fermentation to cellular agriculture, and personalized nutrition to food waste upcycling, technologies are emerging that improve our supply chains’ circularity, efficiency and global footprint:
Remilk is reimagining the future of food by crafting real dairy through precision fermentation.
“Eliminating the dependency on animals by using precision fermentation enables us to recreate dairy protein on a large scale in a radically more sustainable way than that of the traditional dairy production. That’s our way of ensuring the dairy industry can deliver on its original promise: feeding the world’s growing population with a stable supply of nourishing, affordable food,” Aviv Wolff, Co-Founder and CEO, Remilk
Chinova Bioworks uses the power of mushrooms to reduce food waste.
“Our mission is to add value throughout the food supply chain right from collecting mushroom stems from mushroom farmers which would otherwise be wasted and upcycling them into a usable product from working with brands to provide them with a food protection solution that improves quality, freshness, and shelf-life to the end consumer who now has a transparent and clean-label,” Natasha Dhayagude, CEO, Chinova Bioworks
MeliBio is commercializing real honey made without bees as an ingredient for various applications
“Creating a technology that empowers us not to compromise on taste, texture, functionality and nutritional side while making a positive impact on bee biodiversity is a mission that we will achieve. We invite every company using honey or other sweeteners to reach out and we will gladly co-operate on amplifying their sustainability efforts and turning their products into bee-friendly,” Darko Mandich, CEO and Co-Founder, MeliBio
Comet Bio has developed an innovative process to upcycle crop leftovers into healthy and sustainable products.
“We have seen firsthand the growing consumer demand for ingredients that address gut health and sugar reduction. In addition, every single food company we’re talking to is looking to reduce food system waste. We are poised to meet this significant market opportunity and take Comet Bio to the next level,” Rich Troyer, CEO, Comet Bio
Optimism for Growth
The industry is committed and full of optimism as it rises to the challenge of transforming our supply chain through collaboration, partnerships and innovative technologies.
“We are excited about the opportunity to support founders seeking to create a sustainable and healthier food system and remain optimistic about what is possible for people and our planet,” says Taryn Goodman Gallery, Managing Partner, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures.
The Future Food-Tech summit in San Francisco (and online) on March 24-25 will bring together food brands, retailers, ingredient manufacturers, technology providers and investors for two days of high impact networking and knowledge-exchange to accelerate technologies across the agri-food supply chain.
The full program, speaking faculty and delegate registration is available now at www.futurefoodtechsf.com