During the session “Reinforcing food security & sustainability” the challenges the food sector has been facing for many years now were discussed. In his presentation about Sustainable food systems in Europe, Hugo de Vries, from INRAE, France mentioned that “The conceptual framework seems to cover all ‘building blocks’ of sustainable food (sub-) systems, this allows us to follow their evolutional pathway and provide suggestions for the future food science & technology agendas.”
Ariane Voglhuber-Slavinsky from Fraunhofer (Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI), Germany followed and talked about sustainability in the future farming sector through environmental scenarios. She presented the DAKIS project which has shown that farmers experience a high level of complexity in reaching economic, social and environmental sustainability goals.
At the same time, in the special GHI session “Food security in the nearby future”, Stefan Jansson from the Umeå University of Sweden raised the issue of legislation in the food sector saying that gene technology could provide many solutions, as there are many promising cultivars with specific benefits available. However, these are unfortunately not allowed to grow as they are considered GMOs.
Subsequently, Heidi Kotilainen from the Global Harmonization Initiative described the benefits of irradiated food products and the barriers that arise out of regulatory restrictions. She added that the Global Harmonisation Initiative (GHI) proposes that any food should be allowed to be treated with irradiation with a dose necessary to achieve the technological purpose without compromising wholesomeness, safety or sensory attributes of the food.
After the short break and poster sessions, the last cluster of sessions followed. In a session dedicated to Food & Health Digitalisation, the FNS Cloud project was presented. FNS-Cloud is developing the first-generation ‘food cloud’, federating existing and emerging datasets and developing new services to support re-use by researchers including integration with the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The delegates could also follow presentations about several topics such as smart packaging, novel ingredients, food processing innovations and more.
In the Conference closing Conference Chair, Assoc. Prof. Uri Lesmes gave a number of key take-home messages, first and foremost the need to synergize human ingenuity and technology. This can be achieved by digitalization and smarter food design; improving our understanding of consumer preferences, acceptance and needs Profile; and tackling processing-food-digestibility complexity.
We would like to thank you all for attending the 34th EFFoST International Conference and hope you enjoyed all the knowledge exchanged. We look forward to seeing you next year at EFFoST2021!