Nestlé, the world's biggest food producer, has opened a new research center of package in Lausanne. It was created to build up Switzerland's reputation as a leader in food innovation.
Around 9 billion people is going to require healthy nutrition in the nearest future. It is less than 1% of global agricultural production for 8-millions Switzerland. This is quite a little number, comparing to the USA, China, Brazil, and Germany.
However, Switzerland has significant assets in the agri-food technologies sphere. It can create an exclusive innovative ecological system of food. This is the opinion of Fathi Derder, he is the coordinator of a new project on forums in Davos, with the Nestle support, the Vaud canton, the School of Hospitality and the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).
Swiss transnational corporations (Nestlé, Syngenta, Firmenich, Givaudan, etc.) Also, the older generation pays special attention to precision lands, new packaging technologies, and research on vegetable protein. This thriving private sector uses the work of federal technology institutes, universities, supported by the government of research centers.
Derder emphasizes that it is necessary to deepen existing cooperation. This will allow Switzerland to build up its leadership position and attract talented researchers. According to Olga Dubey, the founder of the startup AgroSustainexternal (specializing in natural products and fruits), by creating a Food and nutrition Valley, Switzerland will be able to build up its agri-food business.
Today, food production creates around 30% of global emissions of greenhouse gas. Olga Dubey believes that the negative impact on the environment will help the cooperation of large agribusiness with highly innovative startups. There are some disagreements, but according to Derder, there is a common interest in the development of the sector.
Within the coming weeks, there is going to be an organization that invites cantons, start-ups, universities, and others to join it. The project will hold on a series of events with support of Swiss government and Presence Switzerland, that is aimed to increase an international image of the country.
Hughes Jeanneret, a professor at the University of Neuchâtel, specializing in innovation research, believes that the concept of Food and Nutrition Valley is inspired by the Silicon Valley model. The idea is not revolutionary, although relevant and modern. Switzerland has already implemented this recipe in the field of medicine as the Valley of Health.
Jeanneret expressed his regret that the project is focused on high-tech solutions. Problems in the sphere of nutrition are far from being limited to development of new products and manufacturing processes. We need to revise the supply chain, consumption methods, and lifestyle. According to sociolog and expert in innovation, this project can create a special space for consumers, farmers, and society. It is going to be a part of an innovative ecosystem and it will help to solve problems in complex in cooperation with the economy and society.
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