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The next editions of the Sustainable Foods Summit will take place in 2015: The North American edition will be hosted in San Francisco (21-22 January), European edition in Amsterdam (4-5 June), whilst the Latin American edition will take place in São Paulo (end-June). Please register to receive regular updates.

The European edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit was hosted in Amsterdam on 5-6th June 2014. The summit comprised four key sessions...

Session One: Sustainability Initiatives

The summit begun with an introduction to sustainability in relation to the summit agenda. The role of smallholdings in building a sustainable food system were highlighted. Smallholder farmers comprise 85% of total farmers on the planet. Apart from making 80% of foods in developing countries, they play an important role in maintaining rural communities and conserving the environment. However, growing urbanisation is bringing risks to global food supply chains and food security. How can small farmers be encouraged to maintain their holdings and / or be encouraged to adopt sustainable production methods?

Sustainability also brings many commercial and retailing challenges. A leading Nordic supermarket chain stated how it has set its environmental and social objectives. A global brewery gave details of its sustainability action plan: how does it plan to expand its business whilst reducing its environmental footprint? Another large food company described the difficulties in its road to zero-waste. At the end of the session, featured speakers discussed approaches to overcome the obstacles to sustainable development.

Session Two: Sustainable Proteins

A proteins crisis is looming over the food industry. The expanding population and changing diets in the developing world are raising demand for proteins. Seafood supply is already under strain whilst livestock farming is having an adverse effect on the environment. Meat and seafood product prices are also rising as supply struggles to keep pace with demand. The first part of this session explored sustainable alternatives to meats and seafood. What are the protein possibilities from plants and novel sources? What are the adoption barriers to these new sustainable proteins?

The second part discussed sustainable production methods, focusing on seafood developments. The session adjourned with panellists discussing solutions to the looming proteins crisis: what is practically possible?

Session Three: New Technologies

This session focused on emerging technologies in the food industry, especially those related to sustainability and mobile communications. With consumers more informed and educated than at any other time in history, industry experts highlighted the marketing challenges this brings. How can sustainable brands reach out to the informed consumer?

A leading agency shared its findings on the sustainability footprint of food products. The use of mobile devices to measure environmental impacts was highlighted, whilst another speaker looked at the use of plant cell technology to produce sustainable food ingredients. With mobile devices becoming ubiquitous, proceeding papers give updates on social media & digital marketing, mobile apps and commerce for food and drink products. The session adjourned with a panel discussion on mobile communications: how and why are they advancing sustainability?

Session Four: Clean Label Developments

Described as one of the mega trends in the food industry, clean label is having a profound effect on food companies and consumers. Food companies are re-formulating their products to appease retailers, as consumers increasingly search for free-from labels on products. Apart from giving an update, this session gave future projections: is clean label a fad, trend or becoming a permanent fixture in the food industry?

The opening speaker highlighted the major trends and developments in the free-from foods market. Apart from dairy-free and gluten-free, what labels are gaining currency? A case study was given of how a leading free-from brand has expanded outside the food allergen segment to mainstream consumers. Other papers look at food ingredient trends, consumer insights, and marketing claims and pitfalls.


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

Organised by:

Organic Monitor

Powered by:

Control Union
IOI Loders Croklaan

Supporting Organisations:

Ecocert QAI
Tilth Demeter

Media Partners:

Future 500 Sustainable Food News World Press Online