5 Hot Topics at the Sustainable Foods Summit

Virtual—Innovations in sustainable and plant-based foods will be showcased at the 12th North American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit on January 24-27, 2022. Organized by Ecovia Intelligence, the executive summit will be hosted on a customized online platform. The event will explore developments in sustainable proteins, regenerative agriculture, upcycled ingredients, fermentation techniques, cultured foods, plastic neutral packaging, and marketing communications.

Five top highlights of the event, as outlined in a press release:

  1. Emerging sustainable proteins: Experts will provide an update on sustainable proteins, with a focus on plant-based foods. Naveen Sikka, CEO of Terviva, will discuss how the company is making plant proteins from the pongamia tree, working with producers to set up pongamia orchards that follow regenerative agricultural practices. Also on tap: The start-up Aqua Cultured Foods will show how it is using microbial fermentation to create seafood alternatives, and the start-up Arbiom is upcycling wood residue from the forestry industry to create proteins for the food and feed industries.
  2. Regenerative agriculture: More producers are making commitments to regenerative agriculture, but Ecovia notes that questions remain about commercial viability. Offering a deep dive into the top, the event will feature case studies of operators making the transition, as well as brands marketing regenerative products (including Nature’s Path Foods and Alter Eco). Of note: Kevin Warner from SCS Global Services will discuss the challenges of scaling regenerative agriculture, give an update on recent developments, and highlight opportunities and barriers when producers look to scale up. Also, Elizabeth Whitlow of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROC) will discuss ROC’s new certification scheme.
  3. Upcycled foods: Food and ingredient firms are increasingly investing in upcycled ingredients. Turner Wyatt, CEO of Upcycled Food Association, will discuss the opportunities provided by upcycled foods, and the launch its Upcycled Certification
    Standard. Also, Matt Olsofsky of Take Two Foods will explain how the company is
    producing plant-based barley milk from spent grains, and brands Re-Grained and Pulp Pantry will share their experiences in creating and marketing upcycled foods.
  4. Market & consumer insights: Jamie Athos of Tofurky will discuss the impacts of plant-based foods in his keynote. Also, Julie Emmett from the Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA) will present the latest data on the U.S. market for plant-based products market, with details on high-growth product categories and projections. And experts from SPINS and Clearcut Analytics will present the latest market research on sustainable foods, including sales from physical and online retailers. Retailers and brands will also weigh in with their insights and expertise.
  5. Future trends: The final session of the summit explores future developments. A few of the questions that will be addressed:
    • What is the role of certification and standards as food products are increasingly marketed as ethical, plant-based, regenerative, and/or upcycled?
    • What sustainability aspects do consumers most look for and why?
    • What trends are on the horizon?
      The session will open with a keynote by Deanne Bratter of Danone North America titled “Future Outlook for Sustainable Foods.” Additional speakers include Alan Perlstein of California Cultured on opportunities for cultured foods and Svanika Balasubramanian of re-Purpose Global on its plastic neutral certification. Featured speakers will also discuss approaches to move to circular systems in the food industry.

Learn more about the summit here.

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