Sustainable food systems, ingredients, and waste impacts are focal themes of the North American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit (www.sustainablefoodssummit.com). Taking place on 18-20th January 2017, the summit will be hosted in San Francisco for the seventh consecutive year.
Agriculture is often cited as the cause and victim of many of the environmental and social issues facing the planet: from climate change, biodiversity loss, water scarcity to social inequality and economic migration. The opening session will highlight the role of sustainable food systems in helping resolve some of these major issues. The Regenerative Design Institute will discuss the solutions provided by permaculture, whilst another paper explores the science of biomimicry.
With proteins coming under scrutiny for their high ecological impacts, approaches to reduce environmental impacts of livestock and seafood production will be discussed. Theresa Marquez, Chief Marketing Executive of Organic Valley, will highlight the benefits provided by organic livestock farming. Elizabeth Candelario, Managing Director of Demeter Association, will explain how biodynamic agriculture can produce climate-friendly foods. The Global Salmon Initiative will show how sustainable seafood farming can help alleviate the proteins crisis.
Another session gives an update on the growing palette of sustainable ingredients available to food and beverage firms. Seema Kedia from Barry Callebaut will kick off the session with details of the company’s sustainable sourcing programs. She will give insights on how such programs are improving the lives of impoverished growers in developing countries. Other papers will cover developments in marine ingredients, natural flavorings, and natural colors.
Although the mandatory GM labeling bill has now been passed, there remain concerns about its scope and implementation. Details will be given of the new bill and its implications to the sustainable food community. Will adoption rates of voluntary schemes such as the Non-GMO Project continue to rise? What new schemes could emerge to cover GMOs in livestock products and / or the foodservice sector?
The waste impacts session highlights best-practices in tackling food and packaging waste. Over 120 billion pounds of food goes to waste in the US each year, having significant environmental, social and economic repercussions. At the same time, almost 15 per cent of the American population is experiencing food poverty.
Christine Moseley, CEO of Full Harvest, will show how its new digital platform is creating new markets for unwanted food. A case study will be given of a natural food company creating new ingredients from food byproducts. Other topics include zero waste at food manufacturing, role of packaging in waste reduction, consumer behavior, and responsible consumption.
The summit will be preceded by two workshops for sustainable food firms. With financing business growth a major challenge for some firms, the first workshop will highlight the sustainable financing options available. The second workshop covers food authenticity and traceability. Food fraud is now a major issue, with one in ten foods estimated to be adulterated or mislabelled.
The workshop will helps companies mitigate against food fraud risks and provide greater controls in their supply chains.