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SFI Inspirational Session 'Inclusive Food Transition’

Meeting Report19-11-2021

On the 11th of November 2021, the SFI hosted an inspirational session on the topic of an Inclusive Food Transition. Three speakers of Future Food, Utrecht University, shared their visions within this context. Future Food Utrecht offers a platform for inter- and transdisciplinary research and education for the discovery and implementation of new food-concepts for a growing world population. The session was hosted by Remko Boom (Food Process Engineering, WUR).

Agni Kalfagianni (Transnational Sustainability Governance) discussed the ‘Food System Transformations’.  There is a mainstream vision with technological solutions and there are alternative visions like short food supply chain and more radically movements. The alternative visions require deeper political, economic and social-cultural changes.

Ernst Worrell (Energy, Resources & Technological Change) emphasized the ‘Climate & environmental constraints’. An integrated systems analysis is needed to understand the interrelations and impact. For instance, reusable packaging is a key option but not always automatically more sustainable.

Marca Wauben (Intercellular Communication) talked about ‘Milk and learning from nature’. Processing habits are not primarily designed to preserve bioactivity. We need new technology to maintain nature-assembled structures without jeopardizing safety.

Remko Boom led the panel discussion. How can we improve the quality of our food products and make them more sustainable? The main conclusion is that we should learn from nature: food is not just a collection of molecules. It is a long-term challenge. We need diversity; there is not one route but several routes to create a robust food system.

Twice a year the Sustainable Food Initiative (SFI) organizes an Inspirational Session. Every session has a different theme in the field of sustainable food production, we invite speakers who will share their latest innovations and interact with the audience. The sessions are meant to give tools to the food industry to produce sustainable, inspire scientists and students to develop sustainable food technology and convince everyone else to make the better choice. The sessions are transparent and open for everyone to join who is interested in sustainable food.