Is it possible to innovate food with and for the consumer? This will be the provocative question opening the panel debate organised by EIT Food at the 4th edition of the International Food Journalism Festival in Turin this week.
Involving consumers in the innovation process is one of EIT Food’s priorities. As new, more sustainable, safer and healthier types of food hit the market, it is important to ensure that these are co-created with and supported and adopted by the consumer.
Yet, achieving this requires overcoming the low level of consumer trust in the actors in the food supply chain. This is a big challenge. Addressing it will require multiple solutions, tackling the different facets of a complex problem.
It is about the way the food industry – but also researchers, innovators, farmers and other stakeholders – communicate with consumers and how much their concerns are listened to. Trust cannot exist when a proper communication culture, including both talking and listening, is lacking.
Education plays a role too. Food entrepreneurs, innovators and manufacturers need to have the right skills and knowledge to solve the big issues affecting food production and consumption. Increasingly, this requires a systemic approach, whereby health, sustainability and societal, cultural and economic issues are considered as integrated components of one big picture. Without awareness of this big picture, it will be impossible to improve it.
Finally, trust is won when the proposed solutions deliver results. This is where concrete innovations and the startups bringing them to life can make a difference. Some of the startups from our RisingFoodStars network are already working with farmers and industries to minimise the use of pesticides and fertilisers through precision and digital farming, and to trace more responsible products through the supply chain.
These topics and more will form the basis of our panel discussion in Turin, with Saskia Nuijten (@Saskia_NL), Director of Communication at EIT Food (@EIT_Food) , Luca Cocolin, Professor at the Department of Agronomic and Food Sciences of the University of Turin (@Unito), and Andrea Cruciani (@kokkete), CEO of Agricolus (@AgricolusSuite).
Venue: "Torino Incontra", via Nino Costa 8, 10123 TORINO
Time: 21-23 February 2019 (EIT Food session: 21 February, 11:00 am)
Join the debate online: #FoodFest19