EU Specialty Food Ingredients News

2014-12Contribution of specialty food ingredients to environmental sustainability demonstrated at 3rd Symposium

This fruitful panel discussion was preceded by high-level presentations:
The Symposium was introduced by EU Specialty Food Ingredients President Hans Christian Ambjerg, who reminded that well-managed food systems are essential to end hunger and malnutrition as well as to protect the environment and its long-term food production capacity. With greater global demand for food; less natural resources to sustain current agriculture for an ever growing population and over 100 million tonnes of food wasted annually in the EU, Mr Ambjerg stressed that the specialty food ingredients industry was doing its utmost to play its part in these strategic times.

Wim Debeuckelaere, Head of Sector on Food Additives, Food Enzymes, Flavourings at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Consumers (SANCO), presented the EU regulators’ perspective on the development of innovative products fostering the sustainability of the food chain. He announced that the Commission will organise a workshop in the framework of the EXPO MILANO 2015 event, with the aim to analyse the appropriateness of the current EU legislative framework to support this innovation. He considered that more efforts should be made to provide consumer with fact-based information about the sector’s achievements and progress in that field.    

In a presentation focusing on energy efficiency in the food sector, Jan-Martin Rhiemeier, consultant at Ecofys, shared interesting examples of industry players adopting a climate strategy measures, launching supply chain initiatives and assessing their progress with sustainability reports or calculation tools. Convinced that all actors engaged in a sustainability strategy can always do better, Mr Rhiemeier wished to open a discussion, asking whether the specialty food ingredients industry was doing enough as a response to the urgent call of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to decarbonize the economy.

Are people ready to understand and accept positive messages on specialty food ingredients in their role to fight food waste? Adam Shaw, broadcaster and journalist, addressed this key question in his presentation. Whilst specialty food ingredients are often considered as a problem in rich countries, explaining that they are part of the solution requires a sound understanding of the public’s expectations and a major change in the industry narrative. Mr Shaw then concluded that having a compelling speech was not about facts but about direction.

Mikkel Thrane, Chair of EU Specialty Food Ingredients' Sustainability working group then exposed, with concrete examples, the multi-faceted role of specialty food ingredients in improving the sustainability of the food system, notably by producing more from less; fostering resource efficiency or increasing the shelf-life of food products. He also pointed out that the manufacturing process of a number of specialty food ingredients was based on the sustainable use of raw materials.

The EU Specialty Food Ingredients would like to warmly thank all the participants for the dynamic debate, the speakers for their very interesting and thought-provoking lectures and the moderator for her inspiring energy !

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