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The 2nd Annual Future Food Summit was held on 8th-9th March in Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club. The event brought together amazing minds from across the globe – all coming together to create a more sustainable and nutritious future. It was great to see experienced professionals, regulators, investors, accelerators and startups gather to share their ideas and perspectives on important topics such as food waste, alternative protein, foodtech, agritech and gut health.

During this summit Emnes Events had a chance interviewing experts from 311 Institute UK, WWF Malaysia, Shiok Meats Singapore, eKomoditi Indonesia, TurtleTree US and The Lost Food Project.

Emnes Events: Can you please share more on the innovation in food in the last 5 years time span? And what are the main challenges?

Matthew Griffin: Over the past 5 years, we have seen a tremendous amount of innovation in the food industry. Many of these innovations initially begin discreetly in the labs and back rooms of startups. We have seen groundbreaking innovations in cellular agriculture, alternative proteins, and more. These innovations are now beginning to scale and become more visible, growing in popularity in the marketplace and becoming industry giants.

When we consider the future of food, there are numerous challenges to address, such as supply chain insecurity, massive inflation and wars, a growing population, climate change and its impact on weather patterns, ocean acidification, and epidemics. During my presentation, I offered potential solutions to these issues.

On one hand, conventional thinking focuses on the digitization of the agricultural sector, using basic or full automation on farms or genetic engineering to create crops that are resistant to droughts and diseases. However, we can take it a step further by shifting from traditional agriculture prediction methods to precision agriculture. We can use bioreactors to grow chicken nuggets from cells, and we can take crops from the field and put them into vertical farms. Utilizing 3D/4D printing and other innovations, we can disrupt food production at its core in a sustainable and affordable way.

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Fanatical Futurist, CEO, 311 Institute UK

Senior Manager, Sustainable Commodity – Sustainable Markets Programme, WWF Malaysia

Emnes Events: What are the main causes of food insecurity and inequality?

Benjamin Loh, highlights that food insecurity and inequality stem from systemic issues related to governance, social development, and environmental factors. Any one of these factors can cause significant problems, which are seen all over the world. Our food systems are fragile, and unsustainable production and consumption, as well as inefficient distribution, leave them vulnerable to disruption. Climate change and nature loss are reducing food security globally, while pandemics and conflict also contribute to the problem. The way we produce and consume food is the biggest driver of nature loss and a significant cause of greenhouse gas emissions. A vast amount of food that we produce goes to waste, squandering natural resources, human labor, and money, and failing to nourish either people or the planet. By adopting nature-positive production practices, shifting to healthy and sustainable diets, and significantly reducing food loss and waste, we can establish food systems that safeguard and preserve nature while providing nutritious food to everyone, now and in the future.

Emnes Events: How does Shiok Meats advance processing for localized taste and texture? And what are the new trends in cultivated meat?

Brenda Hobin: Our food tech team conducts research to understand the taste preferences of the market, and then we collaborate with chefs from different industries to localize our products. For example, we work with a Japanese chef for the Japanese market and a Singaporean chef for the Singapore market. Although the food is the same, Japanese consumers may prefer their food to have a certain note, while Indonesians may prefer it to be spicier. We work with our chefs to get the taste right.

The nutritional value of cultivated meat is exactly the same as that of traditional meat. If we take a tiger shrimp, it will have the exact same components. We strive for no GMO in our products, as there are issues with current market products, such as antibiotics and microplastics used in production. We work with fisheries that have good quality produce, and we are able to find healthy cells with which we can grow the meat. These cells are free from antibiotics, microplastics, and other chemicals and diseases. Additionally, with shrimp, you can grow a shrimp from cells taken from any part of the shrimp. However, when growing beef, you need to take cells from a particular part of a cow to grow a specific part. This is what makes our work at Shiok Meats exciting!

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Group Marketing Director, Shiok Meats Singapore

Emnes Events: How do agritech innovations impact value chains, and what are the trade-offs involved? Can you tell me more about ecosystem transformation through digitization?

Ferron Haryanto: Value chains can be positively or negatively affected by agritech innovations, depending on the trade-offs involved. In most cases, the impact is positive, but control can be a concern. To ensure data accessibility, we need people with the necessary technology, whether it’s hardware or software. However, this can lead to trade-offs regarding data privacy and security. People may provide more information than they intended or may not have access to the information they provided. It’s not always clear who owns the data.

In my opinion, digitization should begin with operational efficiency. This means ensuring that your agricultural business is profitable by knowing the cost per block, what the staff are doing, and which materials are being used. From there, we can move towards making it more sustainable, which requires a different set of requirements, such as fair wages for workers and the use of approved agriculture inputs. All of this requires digitization. Then, the ecosystem can lead to agriculture financing, such as green financing. Financial institutions can find plantations or agriculture companies that are both running well and sustainably by providing data and digitization.

From my point of view, we need to think about how to reward plantations that are running well and discourage those that are not following requirements. We can only detect “bad apples” in the industry through platforms like eKomoditi, which can help plantations digitize, train them, and set up the infrastructure. This is a long-term partnership that is required to digitize the ecosystem.

Emnes Events: What is TurtleTree’s Future Food with Precision Fermentation?

Max Rye: TurtleTree is using precision fermentation to produce dairy proteins without having to use an animal or rely on resources we use today to make dairy proteins. If we talk about our focus, we look at milk from the perspective of what is the most important part of it nutritionally. We have been drinking milk for thousands of years, but what is in there that makes it healthy? Those are proteins, one of which is called “lactoferrin” which is important for immune support, brain health, and gut microbiome. This protein is something that is incredibly valuable, but there is not enough of it in the world because in 1 litre of milk there is only 100 mg of lactoferrin. In order to make 1 kg of this powder, you need 10,000 litres of milk. Obviously, there is not enough supply. Today, only 5% of the world’s infant formula has access to it. We use precision fermentation where we can use microbes to produce this protein. It is an identical protein, and we can make it more accessible, especially in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. Currently, lactoferrin production is only available in rich countries. For example, in China, the most expensive formula has lactoferrin in it. Using this technology, we can make it accessible and more price affordable. That is TurtleTree’s focus – using technology to make food that is good for everyone, has health benefits, and is rich in proteins (not only lactoferrin).

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Co-Founder & Chief Strategist, TurtleTree US

Ab Wahab Bin Long

Emnes Events: What are the approaches for reducing food waste at all stages of the food supply chain including on the farm, in processing & distribution and at the household & retail levels?

Ab Wahab Bin Long: There are many things that we can do to manage food waste. Technologies such as retort and decomposing can be used immediately to reduce waste. Food that cannot be consumed by humans can be given to animals, and what is not suitable for animals can be processed into fertilizer. This creates a cycle and completes the ecosystem. At The Lost Food Project, we collect surplus food, sort it, and distribute it to those in need while the rest goes to our decomposing partners. We aim to create this cycle to ensure that no one goes hungry. The more affluent a society is, the more food waste happens. For example, at weddings, we tend to cook more than needed to show off, and most of the food gets wasted and thrown away. Even if it is packed and passed to guests, they usually do not consume it the following day, and after a few days, it is thrown away. If, for example, there were retort machines at these weddings, the food could be sealed air-tight and kept for another 5 years. We can give this food to NGOs or provide it as aid during disasters such as floods. Another crucial aspect is regulation and education. We can start at home by teaching our kids to cook less like the Japanese. Our portions in restaurants are too big, and neither adults nor kids can finish them.

It is undeniable that the world is currently facing significant environmental challenges, and the food ecosystem plays a vital role in finding sustainable and responsible ways to produce, distribute, and consume food. The 2nd Annual Future Food Summit 2023 was a great opportunity for all participants to come together, share knowledge, build connections, and find inspiration to tackle global food challenges. With the collective efforts we can work towards resolving the shortage of food and reducing the environmental damage caused by the humanity. As we look towards the future, let us continue to collaborate and innovate towards a sustainable and responsible food system that benefits both the planet and its people. See you next year! 





8th – 9th March 2023 | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia