The Sustainable Foods Summit will showcase innovations in sustainable and plant-based foods. Organized by Ecovia Intelligence, the executive summit will be hosted on a customized online platform on 24-27th January 2022.

The 12th North American edition will feature innovations and developments in sustainable proteins, regenerative agriculture, upcycled ingredients, fermentation techniques, cultured foods, plastic neutral packaging, and marketing communications. Key highlights are…

1. Emerging sustainable proteins
An update will be given on the growing array of sustainable proteins, especially those for plant-based foods. Naveen Sikka, CEO of Terviva, will show how the company is making plant proteins from the pongamia tree. Terviva is working with producers in Florida, Hawaii and Australia to set up pongamia orchards that follow regenerative agricultural practices. The Californian firm recently received $45 million financing, and has partnered with Danone.

Aqua Cultured Foods will show how it is using microbial fermentation to create seafood alternatives. The start-up is utilizing novel technology to create fungi-based alternatives to shrimp, calamari, tuna and whitefish.

Another start-up Arbiom is making proteins from wood timer. It is upcycling wood residue from the forestry industry to create proteins for the food and feed industries.

2. Regenerative agriculture
A growing number of producers are making commitments to regenerative agriculture, however questions remain about commercial viability. Case studies will be given of operators making the transition, as well as brands marketing ‘regenerative products’.
Kevin Warner from SCS Global Services will discuss the challenges when scaling regenerative agriculture. He will give an update on recent developments, and highlight opportunities and barriers when producers look to scale up.

Elizabeth Whitlow, Executive Director of the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROC), will give an update on its new certification scheme. Nature’s Path Foods and Alter Eco, two of the early adopters of the ROC standard, will share their experiences in marketing regenerative products. Nature’s Path Foods, producer of regenerative oatmeal cereal, was recognized as a Sustainability Leader in the 2021 Sustainable Food Awards.

3. Upcycled foods
Food and ingredient firms are increasingly investing in upcycled ingredients. Turner Wyatt, CEO of Upcycled Food Association, will discuss the opportunities provided by upcycled foods. The association with 185 members, launched its Upcycled Certification Standard this year. Adoption rates are increasing as more food companies take the certification route.
Matt Olsofsky, Co-Founder of Take Two Foods, will explain how the company is producing plant-based barley milk from spent grains. He will share details on how it has set up supply chains for upcycled barley and how it is communicating its sustainable credentials. Re-Grained and Pulp Pantry will also share their experiences in creating and marketing upcycled foods.

4. Market & consumer insights
Julie Emmett from the Plant-Based Foods Association will present the latest data on the US market for plant-based products market. Details will be given of high growth product categories as well as projections for this fast growing market. Jamie Athos, CEO of Tofurky, will discuss the impacts of plant-based foods in his keynote.

SPINS and Clearcut Analytics will present the latest market research on sustainable foods, including sales from physical and online retailers. Kory Zelikson, CEO of Vejii, will discuss the e-retailer’s experiences with vegan and plant-based foods. Vejii, one of the leading online sustainable food retailers in North America, got listed on the Canadian stock exchange last month.

Aurore de Monclain from The Healthy Marketing Team will provide guidance to sustainable brands looking at effective marketing campaigns. Julie Kunen, sustainability director at Oatly North America, will share the brand’s experience in building distribution and broadening consumer appeal. Oatly has grown from a small Swedish producer of dairy alternatives to a global brand of plant-based products.

5. Future trends
The final session of the summit explores future developments. What is the role of certification and standards as food products are increasingly marketed as ethical, plant-based, regenerative, and / or upcycled? What sustainability aspects do consumers most look for and why? What trends are on the horizon?

Deanne Bratter from Danone North America opens the session with a keynote titled ‘Future Outlook for Sustainable Foods’. Danone NA is the largest certified BCorp in the
food industry; it is also a market leader in the plant-based and organic food sectors. She will give her perspectives on the future of the sustainable food industry.

Alan Perlstein of California Cultured will discuss the opportunities for cultured foods. His company is making sustainable chocolate from cultured plant cells. Many food companies are keen to reduce their packaging footprint; Svanika Balasubramanian, Co-founder and CEO of re-Purpose Global, will discuss its plastic neutral certification. The scheme involves operators calculating, reducing and offsetting their plastic footprint. Featured speakers will also discuss approaches to move to circular systems in the food industry.

About the Sustainable Foods Summit
The aim of the Sustainable Foods Summit is to explore new horizons for eco-labels and sustainability in the food industry by discussing key industry issues in a high-level forum.
The North American virtual edition will be hosted on 24-27th January. More information is available from https://www.sustainablefoodssummit.com/northamerica/