Sustainable Foods Summit unveils key topics

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Ethical sourcing, sustainable ingredients and marketing developments will feature prominently at this year’s Sustainable Foods Summit in Singapore taking place in March.

Asia is suffering a major biodiversity decline caused by deforestation & habitat loss, climate change, and intensive farming. South-East Asia, a biodiversity hotspot, has lost about 15% of its forests in 15 years according to researchers. By highlighting success stories, this 3rd Asia-Pacific summit aims to encourage ethical sourcing and sustainable food production. Key topics this year include:

Sustainable foods and biodiversity

Various studies show that organic and sustainable cultivation methods encourage biodiversity in ecosystems. The IBIS rice project is one such example. Launched by the Wildlife Conservation Society in 2017, the project involves the production of organic jasmine rice in northern Cambodia. Over 1,000 rice farmer families are benefiting whilst protecting 500,000 hectares of forest and wetlands that are home to 50 endangered wildlife, including the IBIS bird.

Nick Spencer, CEO of IBIS Rice, will give an update on the project. He will explain how his enterprise is marketing the organic rice as a premium product to export markets. IBIS rice is currently exported to Germany, Singapore, and Hong Kong, with plans to launch in the UK and Canada.

Ethical sourcing of ingredients

A growing number of food and ingredient firms are undertaking ethical sourcing projects in Asia. Some involve environment & biodiversity protection, whilst others focus on social impacts. Givaudan, the world’s largest flavours and fragrances firm, will share its experiences in setting up such projects. Puifung Leung from Fairtrade Hong Kong will highlight the positive impact ethical sourcing can have on producers.

Sustainability of seafood

Asian consumers are some of the highest consumers of seafood in the world. However, there are growing concerns about sustainability issues, such as overfishing, traceability, and authenticity. Anne Gabriel from the Marine Stewardship Council will highlight the solutions provided by sustainable seafood, especially the impacts of certified fisheries.

Alistair Douglas from Eachmile Technologies will discuss the use of blockchain technology. His company has created a mobile application that provides traceability and transparency in seafood supply chains. It works via Fishcoin tokens that incentivise seafood harvesters to collect data on their catch. An update will also be given on sustainable aquaculture ingredients.

Plant-based foods potential

Following Europe and North America, many new plant-based foods are being launched in Asian markets. Trang Dang from the Humane Society International will give an update on recent developments. Approaches to encourage adoption rates of plant-based foods will be tabled. Case studies will also be given of companies successfully introducing plant-based products in Asia.

Innovating with sustainable ingredients

Most food and beverage firms use sustainable ingredients to add environmental and / or social value to their products. However, some companies are also innovating with such ingredients.

The Singaporean company Doki Doki has created a novel line of superfood juices. Alex Goh, Co-Founder, will explain how the company is sourcing locally produced ingredients direct from farmers. Details will also be given of the health benefits of superfood ingredients.

Organic food market outlook

Ecovia Intelligence research shows the Asian market for organic products is the fastest growing in the global arena. China and India are some of the Asian countries that are developing strong internal markets for organic foods. Amarjit Sahota from Ecovia Intelligence will present the latest market data and trends on the global organic food market. Niki Ford from Australian Organic will give an overview of organic trade in the Asia-Pacific region. The business opportunities for Asian companies in the organic food market will be highlighted.

Retailing sustainable foods

With growing consumer interest in organic & sustainable foods, the number of dedicated retailers is mushrooming in Asia. Farmchimp is one such retailer with an innovative business model. Set up in Dubai, Farmchimp supplies traceable sustainable foods. PC Kabeer, Founder and CEO, will explain how its customers can get information on sustainable farming practices and the origins using QR codes on its products.