The North American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit will be hosted online on 24-27th January 2022. The agenda is currently under development; please contact us to get the detailed agenda.

The 2021 summit comprised four conference sessions…

Session One: Sustainability Update

The opening session discussed the impacts of COVID-19 on the food industry. Although distribution & retailing continued during lockdowns, the coronavirus crisis is having a major influence on the way food is produced, distributed and consumed. It is also changing the way food companies approach sustainability, with health, safety & social issues becoming more prominent.

The keynote speaker gave their views on the future of foods. How is the coronavirus crisis causing disruption? What long-term changes can we expect to see? How is the sustainability focus likely to change in the coming years? Other speakers discussed food security, social aspects and green packaging. Case studies of product innovations during the pandemic were given. To conclude, featured speakers discussed the evolution of the sustainability agenda. What issues should take precedent during the pandemic?

Session Three: Supply Chains

The coronavirus crisis has highlighted vulnerabilities in food supply chains. The flow of imported raw materials has been disrupted by transportation delays and emergency measures introduced during the pandemic. Many food & ingredient firms are now re-examining their ingredient sources as they look to build resilient supply chains. The first part of this session covered important developments in the supply of raw materials.

The second part discussed changes at the retail & consumer level. How is COVID-19 changing the way food is distributed and consumed? What solutions are provided by regional / local markets? What is the retailing outlook for sustainable foods? With consumers becoming more information savvy, what are the marketing implications? How is the pandemic changing the way consumers shop and eat? The session adjourned with featured speakers discussing the outlook for ingredient supply chains.

Session Two: Food Ingredients

Food & beverage companies are looking more closely at ingredients to add sustainable value to their finished products. This session covered recent trends & developments. The coronavirus crisis has elevated consumer interest in health & wellness products as they look to boost their personal immunity. Details were given of specific ingredients and their nutrients that raise immunity, as well as their applications in finished products.

Soy is a widely used ingredient, however it is under scrutiny because of monoculture and sourcing. An update was given on sustainable sourcing of soy, as well as future trends. Details were given of a new certification scheme that ensures ingredients are ethically sourced and respect biodiversity. Other speakers covered new technologies, plant proteins, and emerging ingredients. To conclude, the panel discussed the social value of ingredients.

Session Four: Future of Sustainability Schemes

The number of sustainability schemes for food products continues to increase. With the absence of a single sustainability standard for food & beverages, there are questions about the future? Will we see more proliferation in sustainability schemes and standards, or will there be some convergence? This session gave an update of recent developments and gave some future projections.

The opening speaker discussed the impacts of sustainability standards. With a growing number of food companies opting for in-house schemes, the merits of third party schemes were highlighted. Subsequent speakers gave updates on popular sustainability schemes in the food industry. A leading food company shared its experiences in adopting sustainability standards. To conclude, the panel debated the evolution of sustainability schemes in the coming years.