Experts discuss robotics, AI and philosophy in the world of nutrition

Food Matters Summit aims to connect organisations across the food supply chain, bringing together disruptive innovators and established multinational companies

Food Matters Summit is the UK's first high-level gathering of international food experts, government representatives, technology experts and entrepreneurs who will come together to examine how the world can sustainably feed 10 billion people by 2050.

More than 100 international speakers including restaurateur and lead of the UK's National Food Strategy Henry Dimbleby, food waste champion and founder of Karma Elsa Bernadotte (Sweden), and alternative "clean meat" pioneer and co-founder of Shiok Meats, Dr Sandhya Sriram (Singapore) will take to the stage at the inaugural Food Matters Summit at ExCeL London this November to debate the critical issues facing the food industry today and in the future.

The Summit aims to connect organisations across the food supply chain, bringing together disruptive innovators and established multinational companies to inspire the very best new thinking and accelerate innovation across the global food industry.

"No part of our economy matters more than food. It is vital for life, and for pleasure. It shapes our sense of family, community and nation," said Henry Dimbleby.

"Our free market performs a million daily miracles, producing, exporting, importing, processing and serving up a dazzling variety of reasonably-priced foods in an abundance unimaginable to previous generations. But this bounty has come at a cost. Intensive farming practises have caused serious damage to the environment and the food-related disease is costing the NHS billions and drastically harming the lives of millions. Food security, too, is a growing concern: population growth, climate change, the global increase in meat eating are intensifying resource competition between nations," said Dimbleby.

New thinking

Over two days, the ambitious and wide-ranging Summit programme will focus on three central themes, which will shape the future food industry.

  • 'The Food Revolution' will examine how the food industry can respond to philosophical as well as commercial needs as it strives to feed a growing global population.
  • 'Feeding our future' looks at the consequences of an unprecedented level of food options, a shift in consumer demands towards healthy and sustainable foods, and a new generation of millennial buyers.
  • 'Tomorrow's Innovation' investigates how customer tastes and trends have changed the food industry.

How innovations and tech can be utilised for both consumer and commercial benefit? And if robotics, AI, nanotechnology, alternative proteins, nutraceuticals and more is the answer to a global food crisis.

Pete Pearson, senior director for food loss and waste at the World Wildlife Fund (US), will join Ben Elliot (food surplus and waste champion at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to examine how good practice and new technology could help eliminate food waste at all stages of the food system.

Pearson said: "What the Food Matters Summit highlights is the importance of figuring out a sustainable food system. We cannot carry on wasting food with a global population of seven or eight billion if we want to have a planet in balance with nature."

"If we lose the pollinators, clean water and healthy soil, we will not be able to feed ourselves, so addressing waste is critical. We have to find a balance with nature while still feeding humans," Pearson added.

Author and 'Food Futurist' Tony Hunter (Australia) will be joining Professor Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University (UK) to look at how new thinking and game-changing technology could revolutionise the way we grow food.

Hunter said: "Getting people to believe that there is a genuine crisis is the greatest challenge to overcoming the global food crisis."

"We've lived in an era of seemingly endless supplies of resources, but that's coming to an end. Planetary resources are finite, the population is skyrocketing, and we need to find new ways of utilising and recycling those resources," Hunter added.

The international speaker line-up also includes:

  • Dr Pasi Vainikka, CEO and Co-Founder, Solar Foods (Finland)
  • Fabrice Bienfait, Partner, ETF Partners (UK)
  • David Wagstaff, Executive Director, Europe, JUST (UK/US)
  • Dr Sandhya Sriram, co-founder and CEO, Shiok Meats (Singapore)
  • Darren O'Sullivan, Director of Plant Protein Europe & Russia, Kerry Europe and Russia (Ireland)
  • Professor Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy, City University (UK)
  • Dr Gyorgy Scrinis, Food Policy Research Group, School of Agriculture and Food, The University of
  • Melbourne (Australia)
  • Gil Horsky, Director of Innovation SnackFutures, Mondelez International (Israel)
  • Bruce Friedrich, co-founder and executive director, The Good Food Institute (US)
  • Hilary Leam, Group Director of Trading, Holland & Barrett International (UK)
  • Darren O'Sullivan, Director of Plant Protein Europe & Russia, Kerry Europe and Russia (Ireland)

Food Matters Summit allows delegates to build their own programme across 12 sessions and 3 streams. In addition to the stellar speaker line-up, the schedule allows for pre-planned meaningful meetings with potential partners alongside more informal networking.

Briony Mansell-Lewis, Director of Food Matters, said: "Food Matters Summit will provide a forum for new ideas and big thinking and is relevant for anyone with an eye on the long-term future of the food industry."

"The Summit offers delegates an opportunity to learn from industry leaders and disruptors, be inspired by futurologists and world-renowned academics and forge powerful cross-sector industry connections that will influence the future of the global food and drink industry," added Mansell-Lewis.

The event is co-sponsored by KSM-66 Ashwagandha and G.E. Digital is the technology sponsor of the Tomorrow's Innovation stream. Deborah Sherry, SVP and Chief Commercial Officer, G.E. Digital Europe, said: "Fast-paced changes in consumer tastes, regulatory requirements and the sheer velocity of new digital solutions is driving food industry professionals to ask - what's next - and how do we get there?"

The inaugural Food Matters Summit will be a focal point for the food industry to connect, engage and take the next steps to deliver the future of food. Registration is now open at www.foodmatters.co.uk/summit

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