RE•WORK is an all-female events organising company that are addressing the latest concepts in the world of science, technology and food. Their upcoming event, the Future of Food summit in London, is set to address breakthrough technologies, scientific discoveries and new business models for the future of food production, distribution and consumption.
We spoke with event organiser Yulia Ivanova about the event, what questions they are hoping to answer and their key speakers.
Tell us about the ‘Future of Food Summit’ – what’s the aim of the event and why was it started up?
With world population set to increase to 9.6 billion by 2050, one of the key challenges we have to face is of course food. RE•WORK summits look at emerging technology and breakthrough science to see how we can create a sustainable future, so taking on the future of food as one of our topics was a very natural choice.
In October, we ran an evening workshop looking at food production and how that can be made more sustainable and efficient using technology such as hydroponics, drones and data analytics. The full day summit in June will take a more holistic overview of how we produce, distribute and consume food, covering topics such as food waste, alternative proteins, applications of artificial intelligence, the use of robotics, and more.
Our aim is to bring together industry executives, start-ups, researchers and food enthusiasts to showcase emerging technologies that are disrupting the status quo and discuss further applications that can help us re-work the food supply chain and ensure a sustainable future.
What questions are you hoping to answer and what are some of the key highlights of the event?
When looking at something as vast as future of food, I think taking the big questions like “How will we feed the world in 2050?” and breaking them down into more targeted focus areas is the best approach.
Increasingly research is surfacing on the relationship between food production and climate change; 3 in 10 people in Britain have cut down on their meat consumption over the past year; in UK more than 18 million tons of food a year end up in a landfill.
These statistics raise some clear questions we need to address such as how can we use emerging technology in agriculture to ensure food production is more environmentally friendly and which protein sources will health and environment-conscious consumers choose in the future?
The summit will cover the questions above, and hopefully raise some others that will open up the dialogue for how technology can play a key role in improving our food supply chain.
Who is speaking at the event and what are they exploring?
Our line-up of speakers consists of researchers, founders, engineers, farmers and more ensuring that all stakeholder perspectives are heard and incorporated in the discussion.
IBM Chef Watson lead engineer Florian Pinel will look at how artificial intelligence can be used in cooking, co-founder of Naranjas Del Carmen Gonzalo Alvarez-Ossolo will talk about the crowd-farming model they are using and founder of BeeSmart Technologies Ivan Kanaev will be talking about using data analytics to save honeybees and more.
In your opinion, what is the future of food?
I think an important note to make is that a lot of the challenges and solutions discussed here are US and Europe-centric. In my personal opinion, based on the changes we are seeing in consumer behaviour, emerging technologies and economic trends, I believe the future of food will be smart and sustainable farming, nutritionally optimized meals and predominantly plant-based diets.
I would also like to note that the increase in consumer-facing robotics is a very exciting development and I’m really looking forward to seeing what our kitchens will look like in 5-10 years’ time.
Who is leading this food revolution? How do you think consumers will respond?
I actually think it is the consumers that are responsible for a lot of the change we are seeing. The greater demand for local and organic produce, decrease in meat consumption, adoption of mobile apps etc. are all consumer-led trends that are inspiring change in industry giants and the creation of new start-ups.
On the other hand, when it comes to things like insects, algae and powdered meals producers are leading the revolution and the response from consumers is still unclear. There are so many cultural and emotional influences in our relationship with food that it’s a lot harder to predict whether these will integrate themselves into our daily diets.
On the technology side of things, I believe consumers are ready and open for AI, robots and drones to join the table.
What type of audience do you hope will attend the show?
Our audience is predominantly tech-based, and the event is part of London technology week so a large portion of the attendees will be company founders, CTOs, CEOs and designers. We already have confirmed attendees from Canada, Belgium, Switzerland and Turkey and are expecting to see more international delegates join in the next couple of months.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020