Meat+Poultry - August 2018 - 8


Thought for food
The challenges facing the food industry
in the future are many including some
that are more than a little daunting.
Thankfully, some of the most inventive
minds and creative thinkers are solving
food supply chain problems many
people didn't know existed. Dennis
Dimick, a former editor with National
Geographic fleshed out what he
considered some of the overarching
issues during a keynote presentation
during last month's Institute of Food
Technologists (IFT) annual meeting
and exposition. He suggested that the
food industry goals to navigate the
hurdles of the future include: freezing
agriculture's footprint; growing more
food on current farms; using resources
more efficiently (i.e. water); shifting
diets; and reducing food waste. Using
a series of captivating photos to
illustrate his points, Dimick said we
are living in an Anthropocene era and
hypothesized what it might mean for
the global environment in general and
for agriculture specifically as global
population by the year 2050 is expected
to approach 10 billion.
Dimick along with other presenters
during IFT18 made the point that
what the mushrooming population
means for the agriculture sector is
multi-faceted and not at all a one-size-

fits all proposition. He acknowledged
the potential for solutions that are
based on potentially promising genetic
manipulation to create new or better
food products in the supply chain isn't
the silver bullet. "Ag can't be fixed by
biotech alone," he said, suggesting
that opportunities to stem some of the
world's food supply chain challenges
are untapped, including sea-based
farming and exploiting the country he
considers the world's next breadbasket
due to its availability of undeveloped
land and natural resources.
While man's impact on the
environment is a hotly debated issue,
the ability of the current food supply
chain to keep up with demand in the
coming decades is a focus of some of
the most innovative thinkers in the
world. Many of these food-industry
thought leaders were gathered under
one roof at Chicago's McCormick
Center during the IFT event.
Some compelling examples of great
ideas meeting great food challenges
came from some unlikely companies
highlighted by Donna Rosa, owner of
Aidtrepreneurship. Rosa travels the
world to work with a wide variety of
small agribusiness-based enterprises
in developing countries to grow their
innovative solutions to address regional
and global problems related to food
production, processing and food
insecurity. She cited many examples
of problem-solving businesses who are

overcoming unimaginable odds. It is the
innovators behind these companies and
many other entrepreneurial business
start-ups at IFT that foster optimism
and hope in the face of a challenged
food industry. Their attention is
trained and most have global impact
when it comes to creating solutions
for agribusinesses that tackle current
and future challenges that go beyond
creating more food for more people.
The businesses Rosa has worked
with have started developing food
solutions that address global cultural
issues too, including nutritional
disorders, food safety among street
food vendors, refugees in need, and the
labor intensiveness of farming land in
undeveloped countries.
The common thread among these
businesses, Rosa said, is they are "using
food to nurture people and nations."
The innovations shared at IFT are
diverse in their goals and broad in
scope. Rosa said we all can learn from
these companies by realizing there is
no silver bullet or singular target for the
solutions that are needed. Based on the
brainstorming and ideas coming out of
today's food science community, I think
the future is more bright than daunting.
"Find a problem and solve it," Rosa
urged the food technologist-heavy
attendees packed in the exhibit hall.
"The world needs what you know,"
she said.
J O E L C R E WS, E D I TO R | j c r e w s @ s o s l a n d .c o m

The ability of the current food supply
chain to keep up with demand in the
coming decades is a focus of some of the
most innovative thinkers in the world.


MEAT+ POULTRY | 08.18 |

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