START-UP SESSION: RETHINK FOOD – BIOTECHNOLOGY AND URBAN FARMING
The future is a state of mind, and it has a name: Bioeconomy. Today, we are where we would never have dreamed of being ten years ago: We produce edible proteins, from CO2, bacteria and energy, we produce lettuce in space or in polar ice, and we can use artificial intelligence to predict future flavors and thus sales at markets. So, are we at the dawn of a bioeconomic age? The Global Food Summit on April 28 and 29 will discuss this question with politicians and start-ups, companies and scientists from all over the world. From Singapore to Bangladesh, Israel, the Netherlands and the USA. Start-ups will be able to present themselves on our new live platform and join the discussion.
Securing a sustainable food supply for humankind is becoming a major challenge. Diets with a high share of animal proteins must be adapted in order to ensure that demand is not outstripping production. Furthermore, the consumption of animal-based products in larger portions is associated with higher risks on prevalence of cardiovascular, coronary and cerebrovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes type 2 and colorectal cancer. In addition, animal meat production chains have a considerable impact on the environment through the use of land, application of fertilizers, greenhouse emissions, and water consumption, resulting in loss of biodiversity and enhancing climate change.
All these facts underline the importance of integrating new protein sources into the diet.However, this means overcoming barriers such as traditional meat consumption across many cultures. Current session is aimed on consumer barriers and incentives on the transition to a healthier and more sustainable diet.
Food is also nothing more than a string of molecules. A steak and a glass of water each consist of about 1024 molecules. These smallest, multi-atomic particles are responsible for what we taste and how food feels in our mouths. Today, we can break down food into its molecules and reassemble them in a new and sustainable way.
So, are we at the dawn of a bio-economic age? Europe drafted a Green Deal strategy reflecting the international trends for circular and bio-economic methods in food production. At the same time the precautionary principle seems not to allow for pioneering implementations such as CRISPR Cas 9. Could Europe therefore be a role model for bioeconomy? And what role do international organizations play in this new, circular approach? How can it be ensured that all societies worldwide benefit from this transformation?