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The next editions of the Sustainable Foods Summit will take place in Europe on 9-10 June, and Latin America on 29-30 June. Like previous editions, they will bring together key stake-holders (food manufacturers & retailers, ingredient suppliers, industry organizations & certification agencies, investors, packaging companies, etc.) to debate key industry issues in a high-level forum. To request more information on upcoming summits, please contact us

The North American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit was hosted in San Francisco on 20-22nd January 2016. The summit comprised four conference sessions and two interactive workshops...

Session One: Sustainability Best-Practices

With the United Nations declaring 2016 as the international year of pulses, the summit began with a keynote on the importance of plant-based proteins. A pioneering company shared its experiences in making sustainable proteins from pulses and related plant materials.

The role of sustainable agriculture in tackling many of the environmental, social and economic problems of the modern world was discussed. Another speaker highlighted the importance of water management, specifically the need to reduce the water impact of food and beverage products. The growing importance of local food markets was highlighted, whilst a case study was given of a leading retailer on how it is tackling the sustainability challenge. The session adjourned with featured speakers debating the growing complexity of sustainability in the food industry. How are, and how should, food companies & retailers be approaching this multi-faceted discipline?

Session Two: Ingredients for Sustainability

The palette of sustainable ingredients continues to widen for food and beverage applications. On one side, crops are being grown according to sustainable agricultural practices. On the other, technological processes are leading to new ingredients that have a lower environmental impact than their conventional counterparts. This session looked at important such developments.

With traditional proteins coming under scrutiny for their adverse effect on the environment, some novel sources of proteins were explored. Other papers looked at the use of food waste to create clean label ingredients, and the use of algae as a sustainable source of food ingredients.

Session Three: Marketing Developments

This session covered important developments in the marketing of sustainable foods, with a focus on free-from foods. With about 1 in 10 Americans suffering from food allergies or sensitivity, a growing number of consumers are seeking dairy-free, gluten-free or related products. Details were given into this growing demographic, as well as the market for free-from foods. What growth is projected in the coming years? What product categories have most growth potential? A Californian brand shared its marketing and distribution experiences in the non-dairy category. An update was given on GM labeling in the US. To conclude, featured speakers discussed the future direction of food labels in the food industry.

Session Four: Sustainable Packaging Solutions

Although packaging has high environmental impact, it is often neglected when food and beverage companies consider sustainability. This session looked at the various ways food and beverage companies can address their packaging impacts.

Latest research was presented on the packaging footprint of food and beverage products. An update was given on the use of eco-design approach, as well as biopolymers in packaging applications. With a growing move to re-direct packaging waste from landfill, the possibilities of closed loop systems for packaging were explored. Success stories are given of food and beverage companies with innovative green packaging. To conclude, featured speakers discussed how to overcome the obstacles to green packaging.

Workshop I: Reducing Environmental Impacts

Although there is a general consensus that food and beverage companies need to do more to lower the environmental footprint of their products, it is not always clear what practical steps can be taken. This workshop was designed to assist companies get a better understanding of their environmental impacts with view of reducing them.

The workshop gave a general introduction to environmental impacts. Details were given on how food and beverage products influence the environment in terms of sourcing of raw materials, production, distribution & logistics, consumption to post-use. With the use of case studies, guidance and practical advice was given to operators on how they can take positive steps to reduce their impacts.

Workshop II: Business Openings in Global Eco-Labeled Food Market

This new workshop gave a detailed update on the global market for eco-labeled foods, highlighting business openings to existing operators and new entrants.

The market for organic, fairtrade and related labeled foods is growing at a healthy rate. However, what is the future growth outlook for this market? What eco-labels are the most popular and comprise most revenues? What are the differences between North America and other regions? What are the business openings for brands and exporters? Such questions were addressed in this new workshop, designed for food, beverage, ingredient and related firms.


The conference proceedings are available for a professional fee. Click here for further details.

Organized by:

Organic Monitor

Powered by:

Barry Callebaut

Supporting Organizations:

Ecocert QAI
Rainforest Alliance CVV
Sustainable Food Trade Association Fairtrade America Demeter

Media Partners:

Future 500 Sustainable Food News
Organic & Wellness News
The Organic & Non-GMO Report
World Press Online