Food technology is a growing industry that might not yet be mainstream, but is definitely gaining momentum fast. The role for food technology incubators and food tech communities is to nurture new innovation and guide companies to get to the mass market. However, companies that have found viable solutions to our food dilemmas, need to understand what big companies that have the capability to produce and expose their product, are looking for.
This last week we had the pleasure of hosting Bill Aimutis, Global Director of External Innovation Intellectual Asset Management at Cargill, who gave us many insights on what big food companies are looking for and how to get their attention. Considering the fact that Cargill is one of the biggest privately owned companies in the world, generating $140 billion in revenue, operating in 70 countries, employing 150,000 people, is responsible for the distribution of some of the biggest food commodities including eggs and beef, processing grain and oil seed, and investing in innovations to streamline the food system – their opinion matters. Getting your product in front of these companies is one sure fire way to create more sustainable food systems and reach the mass market.
The External Innovations Branch at Cargill was developed two years ago because they understood the necessity of turning to food technology as a formative solution due to changes in the world and in the market. As Dr. Aimutus explains, as the population expands and the world become more interconnected with are experiencing what is known as VUCA. Coined by the U.S. Army, VUCA stands for vitality, uncertainty, complexity. Due the complex nature of the world, the market began looking for more transparency, sustainability and clarity. Consumers are focused on health and wellness more than ever before and today they are equipped with a lot of information.
Health and Food
When Dr. Ascher Shmulewitz decided to get into the food tech industry, he understood that the best way to ensure a healthy population, is through the use of preventative care. His years of experience studying medicine and his success in the biomedical technology industry, reaffirmed that proper diet is paramount for a healthy life.
The problem, however, was that the food industry was failing to provide any viable. sustainable, and healthy products to the mass market. As Dr. Shmulewitz saw it, the food industry was going in two directions- a trend toward “health” foods that often lacked in flavor and have been environmentally unsustainable, or fast and heavily processed foods that contribute to the high rate of obesity, heart disease and environmental deterioration.
Dr. Shmulewitz concluded that only way we can feed and distribute nutritious and delectable food to an expanding population, without destroying the planet would be through modern food technology. “Until now the food industry has compromised quality for quantity, more products with less nutritional value, but food tech is the only solution that can consolidate both quality and quantity, issues, providing nutritionally dense foods, to the mass market for a fair price.”
How so? Here are 5 ways modern food tech will help us become healthier:
When Jews around the world began migrating to Palestine, they found themselves in a conundrum: the arid land and the reliance on dry farming wouldn’t sufficiently feed the growing population. The lack of natural resources, meant that the pioneers would have to find industrious ways to farm the land sufficiently, without depleting the its resources.
In an effort to resolve this dilemma, The Agricultural Experiment Station was established. In 1921 the organization developed into the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), widely known as the Volcani Center. It was within the ranks of the ARO that experimental farming methods were developed. The ARO became responsible for inventing unique irrigation strategies and developing unrivaled methods to desalinate water, a system that not only to be successful, but spread throughout farms across the world.
The ARO also became formative in developing a mixed farming method in Israel. This form of farming which was based on a strict crop rotation, allowed Israeli farmers to produce a high yield, while replenishing the soils nutrients. Due to these innovations, there was no longer a need to depend on dry farming methods and Israel was able to develop a thriving agricultural industry, which by 2012 reached $2.4 billion in exports.
Having seen the very best, the worst, and the ugliest of the food industry, Laurent Adamowicz gives a poignant account of how our food system has dramatically changed over the last two decades. Could the obesity epidemic be directly linked to what our food has been eating?
Secondary Sugar kills? Wait, secondary sugar is the one that’s hidden and added to foods you wouldn’t suspect, so kids and parents get addicted. A horrendous revelation here is that baby formula contains added sugar. Lots of it! And less lactose than breast milk. And no nutrition label requirement? You must be kidding, right?