Recap Future FoodTech Conference — San Francisco (March, 22nd-23rd, 2018)

Our shiny little booth ;)

Last week I flew to San Francisco to take part in Future Foodtech Conference which is acclaimed as the most international gathering of food business leaders, VC investors and food-tech innovators. As part of Rethink Ag & Food Innovation Week, Future Food-Tech San Francisco looks at transforming innovation and investment in food: from cultivated proteins to personalized nutrition and the microbiome.

As a proud partner of Future Foodtech Conference, we were invited to showcase the latest version of The Global Foodtech map which we’ll officially launch later in May this year. We have added some pretty amazing features to the new version such as a full list of the featured companies, a powerful search engine, ability to request an introduction to a specific company just to name a few….We can’t wait to share it with the world, but for now, here is a sneak peak of how it’s going to look like!

The program of the conference was simply fantastic and I feel it functioned as a global platform for innovators, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs to openly share their opinions and ideas for bettering our food system through Foodtech.

The crowd was really international and featured a mix of incredible entrepreneurs, VCs and investors, corporate executives and key thought leaders from the academic world. It’s been a great opportunity to reconnect with a few friends like Jonathan (the Kitchen Hub), Beatriz (FoodTech Madrid), Ivan & Niccolo (Five seasons Ventures) to name a few as well as making new friendships with the likes of Danone (France), Smart Kitchen Summit (Japan), Startup Bootcamp (Italy), Business France (US/France).

I was lucky enough to take part in a few panel discussions that were happening in the main hall and I was fortunate to meet fascinating people from Impossible Foods, Rocket Space, Just, Vitagora, Institute for the future, just to name a few.

Below are some of my personal key takeaways:

  • Most of the American food manufactures are way ahead in learning how to work strategically with startup companies compared to their European counter-parties. In particular both Tyson Food, Givaudan and more (cfr here) are actively working with startup companies either via their corporate venture and learning from every investment or collaboration they seal. They all seem to agree that collaborating with startups is the way forward to remain competitive in the long haul but American companies seem to be faster and perhaps more pragmatic in their approach!
  • Most of the most pioneering Foodtech companies are (still) based in Silicon Valley — I had the honor to visit Impossible Foods’ HQ and their manufacturing facilities. It’s been a pretty mind-blowing experience to hear many of their passionate scientists openly sharing how they make their burgers and see a completely new (and tech-heavy) approach to making food products. I was also particularly fascinated by the company culture that Dr Patrick Brown (their CEO) has built and fostered within the business — I can only say that with such culture I doubt they will have any issue attracting new talents like them!
Impossible Foods’ scientists explain how they prepare their burgers
  • Working in the food industry carries some emotional elements that can ‘blurry’ how we see things: each of us has a unique emotional relationship with food and it almost scared me to see so many bright and passionate people coming together and openly sharing their visions for bettering the global food system. I felt relieved to see I’m not the only one to think that most people who work in food may do it because after all they deeply care also about their own relationship with food.
  • Big ideas/visions require big sacrifices: during this trip, I feel I’ve had the chance to meet some companies (and therefore their people) that are set to become major players in this industry. They’re constantly experimenting and challenging the ‘status quo’ of our food system and, no matter how big are the hurdles they’re facing, they’re obsessed about developing new products that are better for consumers and the planet. 
    For more inspiration on this check out Impossible Foods’ website here or watch Just’s video: clean meat, a vision of the future.

But the biggest takeaway is always: Never stop dreaming and learn how to make the impossible, possible!

So get ready for the big reveal in May!

We will start to reveal our brand-new version of The Global Foodtech map design step-by-step, starting in April. We can already tell that you will be hooked by the unique user journey and storytelling that we have created together with our amazing designer giulia pieri and our kick-ass developer @RiccardoSalladini. Make sure to follow our communication on social media to be the first visitor on the new map!

Stay tuned!

To learn more about The Global Food Tech map visit: www.forwardfooding.com/globalfoodtechmap

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