Nancy Quan, Global Reach and Development Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, explained that Coca-Cola divides its innovation into three categories: physical innovation, emotional engagement (where the innovation is connecting the company with the consumers), and social innovation (giving back to the community and to the world as a whole). She clarified her points with a few examples of Coca-Cola’s different innovation projects, such as its new Coca-Cola Life product with fewer calories and natural sweeteners, and the Ekocenter project, which brings clean water and entertainment facilities with TVs and Wifi to poor and underdeveloped areas.
The second speaker, Philip Donne, the former president of Campbell Company of Canada, stressed the importance of understanding the millennials (those born between 1980 – 2000), a group which is soon going to far exceed the baby boomers in number.
He described the millennials as non-conformists and team players, 90% of whom “sleep” with their phones. To reach out the younger generation, you have to use new ways of research and involve them in problems that need to be solved. Focus groups were described as a no-no when it comes to millennials! He wrapped up his speech by giving some examples of how to adapt consumer monitoring to the upcoming generation: more observation, more creativity/ imagination, less vetting of new ideas.
Dr. Johannes Baensch, Global Head of Research and Development, Nestlé, mentioned early in his presentation Nestlé’s ambition to be world leader in nutrition, health and wellness. He then explained the history of Nestlé leading up to the stated ambition.
He continued to describe the scientific work done by his company, such as making low-fat products feel just as creamy as the fatty version. Other examples are the products fortified with essential substances such as iron or certain vitamins to restore nutritional balance to people suffering from deficiencies.
Last but not least, Jeffrey Turner, President & CEO, Defyrus Inc, moved the focus from foods to something not completely different: proteins. With great ardour, he described his passion for proteins and described their immense versatility, stating that “For every problem, there is a protein with an answer”.
His work focused on biomimicry, especially spiders and spider web. He gave some striking examples of the difficulties of working with animals. Spiders are territorial and carnivorous and oftentimes the larger spider in the group would eat the others, which was not what the scientists wanted! He also conveyed the importance of seeing the success in failures. He proceeded to tell the audience to fail often and vigorously, because that is how you learn!
The three award categories were product and/or process innovation, including industrialization of traditional foods; package innovation, with specifics on the innovative part of the packaging and why it is important; and communicating science-related knowledge to consumers aimed at improving their lifestyle (e.g. children, teens, adults, seniors). Judging factors included when the product, package, communication was introduced; the innovative features of the product, product, communication; and why the product, package, or communication is important.
An international jury selected the following winners from finalists in each category:
Product/process innovation including industrialization of traditional foods
Haskapa, Canada – haskapa Haskap Juice
Hoan Ngoc Tea Private Company, Vietnam – Hoan Ngoc Tea 7 Nga Tay Ninh
Illovo Sugar (South Africa) Limited, South Africa – Peanut Butter and Syrup Spread
IXL Netherlands B.V., The Netherlands – e-Cooker
Marine Resources Development Co., Ltd., Thailand – Megachef Oyster Sauce
Sichuan Jiujiuai Food Co., Ltd., China – Jiujiuai Non-fried Mixed-Grain Instant Noodles
The Cookie Museum (by The V Pte Ltd), Singapore – Singapore Heritage Cookies Collection
Unicurd Food Company Pte Ltd, Singapore – Unicurd Black Soybean Silken Tofu
Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Company Limited, P.R. China – Yili Ambrosial Yogurt
Taisun Group, Taiwan, ROC – Honey Herbal Jelly
Tan Seng Kee Foods Pte Ltd, Singapore – Kang Kang Pasteurised Fresh Noodles
Communicating science-related knowledge to consumers aimed at improving lifestyles
Bokomo Foods, South Africa – HIP2B2 Campaign
Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (VINAMILK), Vietnam – VINAMILK
Elsevier, USA – Culinary Nutrition: The Science and Practice of Healthy Cooking
Fraser & Neave Limited, Singapore – F&N MAGNOLIA Lo-Fat Hi-Cal DHA Omega-3 Fresh Milk
Bokomo Foods – South Africa – HIP”B” Campaign
VINAMILK – Vietnam – ViNAMILK
Plenary: IUFoST Distinguished Lecturer – Dr. Brian Keating
The event started with an introduction from Dr. Walter Spiess, shouting the ultimate question: “Are we ready??”
In his introduction, Dr. Spiess explained that a distinguished lecturer is invited to every World Food Congress to give a presentation speech. This year, Dr, Brian Keating, Deputy Director, CSIRO Agriculture Flagship, is the distinguished lecturer, and his presentation was undoubtedly well done. After the introduction, Dr. Keating was brought on stage for his talk.
Dr. Keating started by asking “How do we get food science, agricultural science and health science better connected? And how do we get more connected overall?” This was followed with a statement about how the number of total papers with “food security” in them has increased rapidly due to a huge food price spike in 2011 and 2012. Dr. Keating said that the key drivers of recent food price shocks are “rundown of global food stocks, poor based biofuels, ineffective trade and other policy responses”, with the main consequence of these spikes being global hunger.
Dr. Keating reminded us that, despite the progress made on global poverty, the target for undernourishment has yet to be reached. “More people, economic development and more biofuels” – these are the main drivers.
“The food has had an incredible increase in demand!”
We were then informed that there has been a rise in population of over 98% since 1961. Food production has also increased 146%. As a consequence of this, the land-per-person rate has halved over time. This occurred during initiatives known as the “Green Revolution”. Norman Borlaug (1914-2009) is known to be the father of the Green Revolution. His famous words were hilariously remixed into a song with lyrics such as “If I have anything to contribute to this world, I am going to help with the increasing problem of food for the world”.
Dr. Keating then looked forward and asked the question “What does the future hold?” We know that there are higher absolute production increases. He asked that we reduce demand, sustain proactive capacity, and fill production gaps for the future. The key message was – ‘reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint, pursue pathways but in a nutrition-sensitive way!’
Finally, the food security revolution needs to be very different from the green revolution of the 20th century. Food science and agricultural science need to tackle these challenges together.
We thank Dr. Brian Keating once again for giving his excellent presentation today.
The opening ceremony began with two representatives from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, each carrying a Canadian flag while the national anthem was played.
Dr. Rickey Yada, Co-Chair of the 17th World Food Congress and President-elect of IUFoST, then took over and introduced the ceremony. Dr. Pingfan Rao, out-going President of IUFoST, then became the first speaker. Dr. Rao argued that food science should be elevated to one of the most important fields of science, as food is the single most important thing for humans. Sadly enough, food science is not that popular, and the common man does not even realize the great amount of science that lies behind the food he eats. The next speaker, Dr. Walter Spiess, further supported this by giving an example from Germany: 90 important fields of science were listed, but none of them had anything to do with food science!
Several awards were presented. Jack Meyers, Honourary Co-Chair of the World Food Congress, received an award for his significant contributions to food science. Awards were also given to the young scientists attending this World Food Conference, and Developing Country Sponsorship Awards went to scientists from developing countries all over the world.
There were three more speakers during the ceremony. Belinda Elysée-Collen, Exhibition Committee Chair, expressed thanks for the belief in her and stressed the importance of the world conference for the hosts, CIFST. Bruce Archibald, President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), made a bilingual speech (English and French) in which he mentioned that people are demanding more from food security. This creates problems that can be combated by collaboration, innovation and communication. The last speaker was the High Commissioner of India, Admiral Nirma Verma, who spoke about the different food conditions around the globe and also about the success story of Gujarat, a part of India with poor conditions for food development that managed to create conditions suitable for food development.
Alternating with the speakers, we had the opportunity to watch a daring acrobatic display by Carpe Diem acrobats from Montreal.