New Food Systems: Helping shape the nutrition of the future
fors.earth is a partner and member of the steering committee for the innovation space New Food Systems, funded by the BMBF with €20 million
By 2050, 10 billion people are projected to live on Earth. In order to feed them all in a balanced way and to prevent world hunger and malnutrition, we need to transform our food system. Food production, trade and consumption must be considered in a systematic way to tackle this challenge and find sustainable solutions.
To master this major transformation, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the innovation space NewFoodSystems as part of its "Innovation Spaces Bioeconomy" program. Under the coordination of the Max Rubner Institute (MRI) and in close cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV), the program brings together more than 50 partners from science, industry and society. NewFoodSystems was initiated by our Senior Expert for Nutrition, Prof. Hannelore Daniel, among others.
The project team will develop and test novel production methods and cultivation techniques for the sustainabl food production with the highest standards for safety and quality. The project outcomes will then be brought to market with the highest level of consumer acceptance. The BMBF will provide up to €20 million in funding over five years.
With our contribution, we will ensure that the innovation projects contribute to a future of sustainable food systems and help shape food transformation in a sustainable way. By connecting diverse partners from all areas of the value chain, we promote an exchange of knowledge and the leveraging of synergies to increase the projects' positive impact on environment and society.
NewFoodSystems serves three 'innovation fields'
Controlled Environment Cultivation (CEC)
The focus here is on the cultivation of organisms such as plants, algae, insects and fish in closed and thus controllable systems, which allows production independent of weather conditions and with several premium quality harvests per year almost without the use of pesticides. Water and nutrients from residues and waste materials can be recovered.
New food and feed ingredients
Sustainable alternatives to animal-derived foods are accepted most easily if they differ only marginally from traditional foods in terms of taste, texture, mouthfeel and nutritional and enjoyment value. In this innovation field, research is therefore being conducted on the ingredients required for this purpose, such as proteins and protein combinations, which have very specific techno-functional properties, are sensorically appealing and are also characterised by a high biological value.
Resource-efficient management of energy and material flows in system integration
By combining the novel production systems of plants, algae, insects and fish, food chains can be formed and material flows coupled so efficiently that ultimately a CO2-neutral production of food can be achieved. This innovation field will simulate material cycles and develop new sensors and process controls for the automation of food production and the energy and resource-efficient closing of cycles.
An innovation hub for market development and social acceptance of technology
In order to quickly bring research results into products and processes to the markets, research results are checked for their usability in the innovation hub and project processes are optimized for exploitation. Marketable ideas are identified and, together with experts from the start-up scene and industrial partners, evaluated in terms of their economic potential and transferred to the market via new start-ups or established companies.
Through the projects supported in the innovation space NewFoodSystems, consumers will gain knowledge and understanding of alternative food production systems of the future. An exhibition will be set up especially for this purpose in the German Museum in Nuremberg, which is scheduled to open in 2020. NewFoodSystems seeks a dialogue with the public and wants to contribute to overcoming barriers to acceptance. The initial 5-year phase of the innovation space, which is now being funded, will be followed by a permanent phase with a time horizon of 10 to 15 years, so that the topics and technologies can be further developed with new partners, among other goals.