“Quality is not enough: research and innovation are crucial to meet the challenges we are facing”
06 May 2016
“Expo Milano 2015 has created great expectations, reinforcing the Italian agro-industrial model, which grants high efficiency and low environmental impact. Now we have to be up to the challenges we are facing: 9 billion people to feed, the need to rise global food production by 70%, the fact that 800 million people are undernourished while 1.2 billion are overweight and the 1.3 billion tons of food wasted each year. The World Food Research and Innovation Forum offers the opportunity to meet and discuss about how research and innovation can help us to meet these challenges”.
Luigi Scordamaglia, president of Federalimentare, has no doubts: research and innovation will be crucial to face the feeding the planet challenge.
What concrete contribution is the food industry ready to give to meet this challenge?
Food industry has a pivoltal role. In the European Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Progamme there is a specific topic concerning sustainable food security, and an important part is about promoting a competitive food industry. In particular, industry is required to provide concrete answers to three issues: reducing food losses, improving energy efficiency along the entire supply chain and developing more sustainable and shelf-life oriented packaging.
Which characteristics of the Emilia-Romagna Region model can help making the difference in other Countries?
Emilia-Romagna is illustrative of the Italian model: it has an agri-food sector with small and medium enterprises, but also with big companies. Its contribution is to have a model where all of them work together in research and innovation and where there is a public-private partnership which is precious for the food industry and for which we have to give credit to the regional administration.
Today when we talk about internationalization we talk about a strategic priority which is necessarily linked to research and innovation. How is the food industry taking on this challenge?
In the last years we had a steady rise of the Italian agri-food exports, with excellent results particularly in the US and in China. We expect exports to continue rising in the next years, but we are conscious that quality is not enough. Innovation means covering the last mile which we still have to go in many countries to place our products on the store shelves. And it means studying new solutions in order to meet different costumers needs in different parts of the world. These innovations will be essential to increase and reinforce the positive trend of the last years.