Food execs to examine solutions to biofuel threat

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food, Maize

Food industry R&D executives will be meeting in Chicago next
month to examine the impact of increased biofuel demand on their
business, in an effort to anticipate challenges resulting from a
fundamental shift in supply chain dynamics.

Organized by the American Association of Cereal Chemists International (AACCI), the symposium and workshop will examine the projected demand for biofuels, and the impact of this on the food industry supply chain, on consumers, on food formulation and on food technology. It will involve contributions from industry, academia and government, and is conveniently timed on July 26-28, just before the food industry's major annual IFT event, which will also be taking place in Chicago. "The surge in demand for biofuels signals a significant threat to food company supply chains and a huge paradigm shift in how food companies purchase ingredients, control quality and develop products,"​ said AACCI. With increased competition from the energy industry for agricultural land and water, products that lie at the core of the food supply will be affected, it said. These include grains, starches, sweeteners, sugar alcohols, acidulants, enzymes, emulsifiers, vitamins, amino acids, fats and oils, meat, dairy, poultry and egg. The meeting's program will aim to identify and review potential solutions to the price and supply issues generated by demand for corn and other agricultural commodities for ethanol production. Sessions include an examination of projected biofuels demand by Keith Sanderson, principal of USAEnergyIndependence. This presentation will involve a prognosis for both corn and cellulose based ethanol technologies, and will be given from a perspective of global energy risks and how they need to be factored into food companies' strategic planning. The impact on foods will be examined in a presentation by Chad Hart, professor of Agriculture at Iowa State University, and will include a global and country-by-country overview of the food versus biofuels situation. Ephraim Liebtag, an economist with the USDA Economics Research Service, will discuss the impact on consumers. He will outline the projected impact of biofuels on the Consumer Price Index food categories, consumer psychology, retail dynamics, and consumer buying behavior in the wake of food price increases. The impact on food technology will be examined by Daniel Hammes, president of Quality Technology International / Division of ITOCHU Corporation, which has commercialized technology allowing many of the food components of corn to be removed prior to ethanol processing. The impact of this technology with respect to food ingredients and food product development will be explored. The impact on food formulation will be examined by Richard Broz, president of Culinary Wizard, who will demonstrate how alternate grains can be substituted to mitigate some of the impact of biofuels in standard commodity products, such as breads and tortillas. The event's steering committee includes representatives from major food firms, such as Kellogg, General Mills and Sara Lee, as well as ingredient firms, such as Corn Products International. For more information, click here​.

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