Innovation Challenge 2021 webinar

CHAP Innovation Sector Lead Dr Réka Haraszi attended a Future Food Tech webinar on 19th January. The event was held to launch two innovation challenges seeking to develop alternative healthy foodstuffs.

CHAP is constantly monitoring trends and innovation needs in the agri-tech sector both pre- and post-farm gate across the food and drink industry. This event, which involved two major food companies, Kellogg’s and Unilever, was a great opportunity to gain insights into current dietary trends and food industry needs.

D’Anne Hayman, Vice President, Global Innovation Platforms, R&D, Kellogg Company introduced the company’s interest to invest in ‘New Microbiome-based Innovation for Gut Wellness’. It is looking for new plant fibres, valorised fibres from waste streams, prebiotics, postbiotics, fermented ingredients and new non-spore food stable probiotics to improve existing, and create new, product lines by better feeding the gut microbiome. It wants to find sustainably sourced ingredients with minimal processing challenges.

Andre Pots, Director R&D Science and Technology Product and Process for Foods within Unilever, introduced the company’s challenge in ‘Improving the Taste, Texture, Sustainability and Affordability of Plant-based Meat and Dairy Alternatives’. The company is hoping to find alternative functional proteins beyond soya, pea and wheat, ingredients made by better processing and the development of plant-based ice creams.

As the sector is increasingly looking to deliver crops that support healthy diet and new dietary trends, this webinar was a good opportunity for CHAP to understand critical industry needs. CHAP is constantly working to develop innovation projects, so keeping up with post-farm gate trends provides valuable input when formulating new ideas.

The increasing trend of veganism, the use of alternative plant proteins, fibre-rich diets and processing-proof ingredients were all identified as current market opportunities that need support from innovators.

CHAP is looking to widen the scope of our own innovative thinking, with a multidisciplinary mindset that can provide interconnectivity between the agriculture sector, food industry and policy makers. The follow-up webinars in the Future Food Tech series may provide similar further opportunities for CHAP to attend and get first hand information on the innovation needs in the agrifood sector.


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