Riddet Institute hosts national agrifood summit

The Riddet Institute hosted a national Agrifood Summit attended by food industry leaders, food scientists and governmental policy advisors. The delegates discussed the notion of feeding the growing world population, dealing with an obesity and nutritional crisis, and how New Zealand is going to take its place as a key food producer.

The summit, opened by Kieran McAnulty MP for Wairarapa, as a delegate for Minister Damien O’Connor included renowned international speakers Professor Louise O. Fresco, President of Wageningen University and Research, and Professor Robert L, Thompson, University of Illinois, USA. The international speakers outlined the issues facing the primary industries such as a growing urbanised global population, sustainable food production systems, changing diets, diversifying the agricultural economy, availability of agricultural land and the impact of global warming on food producing nations.

Speakers from New Zealand highlighted the advantages of disruption and seizing opportunities for New Zealand to improve our standing as a food nation, where innovation and diversifying agricultural products would be an advantage. Hon Steve Maharey, Fonterra’s Mark Piper and KPMG’s Julia Jones say there are many possibilities for advancing New Zealand’s role from food production distribution both locally and globally, and generating more value-added products from raw materials, as well as the novel meat substitutes, plant proteins, insect products and alternative dairy or complimentary sources. At the heart of the opportunity is the changing face of consumers, their acceptance of these technologies and their nutritional advantages.

The discussion of balancing the needs of global food production with environmentally sustainable processes, or rather environmental regeneration as we produce our food, was also at the forefront of the speakers and delegates thoughts. Each of the speakers highlighted the need for Government policy and support and Lain Jager outlined the direction of policy in the area.

Prof Harjinder Singh, Riddet Institute Director said, “This exciting summit really showed the breadth of discussion on responsible food production for a growing world and how New Zealand is at the forefront of innovation in the agrifood area. The Riddet Institute is delighted to be able to offer a series of these thought-provoking summits and continues to support collaboration across the country to deliver scientific excellence in all areas of food science and nutrition.”

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