Seminar - Gastronomy as an Engine of Change

Session chair: Blanca del Noval

This seminar was held on Friday 13 May 2022 from 13:00 - 15:00 (CET) online.

Gastronomy is a component of the global food system that has played an important role in defining many cultures throughout history. It values the origin of ingredients, how they are grown, how they reach our markets and our dishes. It can therefore be a useful tool to move towards a more balanced food production and consumption since it has a fundamental impact on society.

We can find many areas of improvement in the gastronomic value chain that can contribute to slowing the progression of climate change. One of these problems lies in the food waste that our system of production, distribution, and consumption currently generates – impacting negatively the social, environmental, and economic spheres. For that reason, one of the first actions we must take to guide the sector toward sustainable gastronomy is to develop new, more efficient, environmentally friendly systems.

The complexity of this situation represents a challenge, but also an opportunity to find proposals focused on reducing food waste, including changes both in production models, distribution channels and in the food culture of consumers.

Currently, initiatives from various fields have discovered gastronomy as an engine of change that has allowed them to transform the system at the political, economic, and social level.

Talk 1 - The role of gastronomy in the transition to a more sustainable food system
Paula Torán-Pereg, researcher and PhD student in Gastronomic Sciences, BCCInnovation, Spain
At BCCInnovation, the value of sustainability and culinary quality is incorporated transversally into different types of projects (research, innovation, and entrepreneurship) that seek a transformative change in each of the presented opportunities. Various research projects will be presented during this talk, with a special emphasis on the gastronomic valorization of discarded products to produce new value chains.
Access the presentation slides and for more information please contact Paula Torán-Pereg.

Talk 2 - Engaging citizens in the transition towards sustainability
María Mora, researcher in sensory analysis, BCCInnovation, Spain
Involving citizens in defining the next steps to move towards more sustainable urban food systems is a promising practice. It can help to identify their understanding of sustainability, deriving the key actions to build a green gastronomic city. The presentation will focus on explaining an approach to apply citizen sciences in the field of sustainability.
Access the presentation slides and for more information please contact María Mora.

Talk 3 - How microorganisms may be used to produce a new sensation and to contribute to the sustainability of food production
Nabila Rodríguez Valerón, researcher at Alchemist, Denmark 
Kokumi is a sensation present in many different foods. It is possible to reduce the concentration of fat or sugar, improving that sensation. Working on miso and different food waste substrates such as spent grain or wheat bran, the presentation will show sustainable ways to produce low-fat-food or low-sugar-food.
Access the presentation slides.

Talk 4 - Does the way we cook make a difference for the climate change impact?
Angelina Frankowska, Research Associate, Department of Environment and Geography, University of York
The cooking impact will be presented in the context of overall household energy consumption in Europe. Looking at the whole life cycle of different foods, how much does cooking actually contribute to the overall impact and does it matter how we prepare our food? The impact of different cooking methods will be shown and improvement opportunities suggested to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cooking.

After the presentations, the speakers were available for a fireside chat (panel discussion) involving the audience.

This seminar is part of the series  'Sustainable Food Systems: Connecting Expertise in Academia and Industry'  organized by the  EFFoST Working Group on Sustainable Food Systems. The seminar series aims to provide detailed insights into various facets of sustainability in the food sector. The seminars will include expert talks, practical indications from industry professionals, as well as short presentations from selected early stage researchers.

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