It’s estimated the earth’s population will grow to 9 billion by 2050, which means those in the food industry will have a lot of mouths to feed. To discuss the “future of food," BASF hosted a two-day Creator Space™ jamming event earlier this month in Washington, D.C.
More than 30 stakeholders from the entire food value chain including farmers, academics, food manufacturers and logistic companies attended.
"The beauty of this event is that we have this huge variety of people participating, from college professors to cattle farmers," said Josef Appel, vice president global field development, BASF Bioscience Research. “We tend to work in our own fields and don’t see all the other topics that are being raised in a gathering like this one."
During the jamming session, participants brainstormed ideas on topics such as affordability and access to food, personalized nutrition, transparency for consumers and food waste.
“The future of food is complex," said Kyle Marinkovich, assistant vice president, marketing, Cargill Specialty Seeds & Oils, who participated in the event. “The themes that have come out here are inter-related and interdependent, and the complexities associated with them are major. The jamming session is an innovative way of identifying and creatively approaching the dialogue around these issues."
Designed to open a new dimension in understanding related to food, all ideas were condensed into three future scenarios: Brazil without water, personal “food-print," and meat as a luxury item.
“We’ve confirmed during this event that once we team up with partners and work together along the food value chain, we can better understand, develop and then deliver technologies and solutions for the upcoming challenges,“ said Juergen Oldeweme, senior vice president, global product safety and regulatory affairs, BASF Crop Protection.
The event was jointly hosted by BASF’s Nutrition and Health division, the Crop Protection division and the Bioscience Research division, and is part of the co-creation activities that landmark the company’s 150th anniversary year.
“We can only meet the challenge of nourishing 9 billion people in 2050 if we collaborate. We need to explore what true value contribution in the food value chain means and replace the concept of just adding more with an approach of delivering more from less," concluded Saori Dubourg, president, BASF Nutrition and Health division.
As a next step, BASF will be hosting a co-creation workshop in Chicago in June with the aim of turning the experts’ insights into new projects and initiatives to support the future of food.
Are functional foods a part of the solution? According to INSIDER’s “Form and Function,” Digital Issue, more consumers are getting nutrients from functional foods and beverages. Functionality will only be part of the much bigger equation of feeding 9 billion people, but it will play an important role nonetheless.