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Food Vision launches big debate on big three issues

‘Innovation in product development and formulation is needed for insects to emerge as a mainstream food source’: UN advisor on edible insects

By Stephen DANIELLS , 18-Feb-2014
Last updated the 18-Feb-2014 at 00:23 GMT

The inaugural Food Vision event in March 2013 attracted 130 food industry decision makers from 30 countries to Cannes
The inaugural Food Vision event in March 2013 attracted 130 food industry decision makers from 30 countries to Cannes

An advisor on edible insects to the United Nations predicts that insects on your plate is inevitable, as forward thinking restaurants like D.O.M in Sao Paulo and Noma in Copenhagen are already experimenting with the critters as food.

Arnold van Huis, tropical entomologist also said that, while insects overcome consumer concerns such as food safety, sustainability and animal welfare, “innovation in product development and formulation is needed”.

Charles Spence, Head of the Crossmodal Research Lab at Oxford University, agreed that insects will emerge as a mainstream food source but was uncertain about when: “It may be 2024 rather than 2014,” he said. 

Dr Spence and Dr van Huis are among the faculty at this year’s Food Vision event to be held in Cannes, France on March 31 to April 2 (click here for full details ). They were responding to one of three big issues scheduled for discussion at the event.

Both predicted a bright future for insects when asked what micro trends are pushing into the mainstream and what changes will they bring for formulation and marketing.

Mark Post, Professor of Physiology at Maastricht University and creator of the first ‘lab grown’ burger, add that vegetarianism is becoming more mainstream by the moment, and he predicted that acceptance of animal suffering will decline as viable protein alternatives prove their worth as well-regulated alternatives. 

The Big Debate

After the success of its inaugural event in March 2013, Food Vision is returning to Cannes with an international portfolio of speakers including thought leaders in innovation and marketing, food scientists at the cutting edge of research, and food business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Win a place at Food Vision

For a chance to shape this debate live and in-person give us your opinions about the three big issues in this 2 minute survey .  Your viewpoints could earn you a place at Food Vision. 

The program for 2014 has been informed by feedback and recommendations from the 2013 audience as well as input from the expert editorial teams of FoodNavigator and NutraIngredients, leading publications from William Reed Business Media, the organizers of Food Vision.

This year’s Food Vision will provide a forum for leaders in the food and drink industry to consider and discuss the big issues confronting their industry today, with the big debate forming part of its eclectic program of interactive discussion and best practice sharing.

The three big issues up for discussion include:
1. Tomorrow’s food today:  What’s next for ingredients, product development and open innovation?
2. Talking and listening:  How to engage with consumers in an era of information overload?
3. Niche to mainstream:  What micro trends are pushing into the mainstream and what changes will they bring for formulation and marketing?

The Food Vision team kick-started the debate by inviting some of the event’s speakers to weigh in with their thoughts. On tomorrow’s food today, futurologist and Food Vision chairman, Dr James Bellini, predicted that consumers will have a lot more say in the way food is produced.  “Product development will come out of the lab and into online communities,” he said. 

Prof Post predicted that cultured meat will not be the only alternative protein source. “Protein will be developed from plants, algae and insects as well as cultured meat,” he said.

Getting personal

Commenting on the second issue - talking and listening – Dr Bellini predicted that the future of customer communication is ‘personal’ according to James Bellini.  “Through predictive analytics and social media connectivity consumer engagement will be location-based, mood-based and directly reflective of the consumer’s lifestyle,” he said.

Dr Spence heralded the arrival of ‘synesthetic marketing’, in which “information about taste and flavor are communicated by shape, sound and other synesthetic correspondences”.  Look out for its impact on packaging and advertising, he advised.

Have your say and win a place at Food Vision

“We’ve worked with our speakers and our editorial team and identified three issues that, we believe, are the most pressing for food and drink businesses.  And we are inviting our audience to submit their own contributions too,” said Christina Wood, Vision Events Director.

The big three issues already scheduled for discussion are:

In addition to the three issues already scheduled for discussion, a worldwide call has gone out to the industry to nominate subjects for discussion.  High on the list are:
• Responsible packaging – can the industry ‘design’ for recycling?
• GMO – what are current consumer perceptions and can they be changed?
• Food waste – what is the industry’s responsibility?
• ‘Natural’ and ‘healthy’ – what should these claims mean and how can we prevent their mis-use?

“Our aim is to make Food Vision an even stronger open forum for free and frank discussion on the issues that matter most,” said Wood.  “We invite every Food Vision delegate to bring their challenges and share them with their peers.”

The Big Debate will take place on the second day of Food Vision, which will be held in Cannes, France from 31 March to 2 April 2014.  For a chance to shape this debate live and in-person give us your opinions about the three big issues in this 2 minute survey https://surveymonkey.com/s/fv_survey .  Your viewpoints could earn you a place at Food Vision.  The full Food Vision program can be viewed at www.foodvisionevent.com  

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