Recap from Global Food Talk “Gastronomy as a driver to initiate sustainable food system changes”
In connection with Copenhagen Cooking 2022, Food Nation hosted a Global Food Talk on August 25 with opening remarks from Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn. The Global Food Talk focused on gastronomy’s contribution to sustainable development.
We find ourselves in challenging times right now. The Ukraine war started 6 months ago, and we see the effect on unstable supply chains. At the same time, we are in the middle of a crisis with climate challenges that have really shown their teeth over the summer. We have experienced heat waves, fires and drought in many places.
The global food system is highly affected by this situation and therefore new dynamics are needed to sustainably transform the food system. In the Global Food Talk, the speakers addressed how sustainable gastronomy can be a lever to provide safe, healthy and responsible consumption and production of agriculture and food products.
The climate becomes what you eat
Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn opened the talk with motivating words about how innovative entrepreneurship has always been key in the Danish gastro-sector and that the increased awareness of climate-friendly food hopefully will drive and affect the entire value chain in the agri-food sector. “In Denmark, companies have already developed solutions and approaches to a green transition of the agri-food sector. An example is upcycling of spent grains from breweries to protein and fiber-rich ingredients and leftover bread turned in to delicious ice-creams sold in retail stores all over Denmark”, he said.
Gastronomy can inspire change
If we are to make any hope of transforming the world’s food production system, it requires many ideas from many fields of expertise. One of the fields capable of creating real change is the gastronomy sector. The world’s leading chefs often challenge the way things are done and challenge the way we are thinking about food, said keynote speaker William Drew, World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Chefs are also storytellers and by communicating about their choices, they can lift the commodities from solely nutrition and food on a plate to a mind-changing experience. William then gave some examples from chefs all around the world, that have created real change and worked with everything from social, economic, climate and sustainability.
Superpowers in hospitality can change the game
Our motivational speaker Melina Shannon-DiPietro from MAD Academy mentioned that the hospitality sector from Michelin restaurants to school canteens has a special superpower. They have the potential to innovate, collaborate and build the resilient food systems of the future. That is exactly the people and area where the academy works with system change in the gastronomy sector. One example is by inspiring restaurants to do what was said couldn’t be done e.g. creating a zero-waste restaurant. Another key point is that knowledge is equal to power and action can be created by multiplying a single person’s catalytic impact on teams, customers and the industry in general.
Collaboration needs mutual trust and commitment
Mette Schacht Færch, Danish Crown and Claus Meyer, who participated in the first fireside session, both agreed that the global tendency that we see right now with consumers wanting to eat less, but better, meat is interesting. The industry needs to embrace the change and adjust its product portfolio to changing times, thus providing food for all consumers. The main point is, that for the industry to succeed, they need to be where the consumers are. One way of keeping up with the latest tendencies is to engage with hospitality partners to create product development and innovation, but it requires trust.
Matt Orlando, Amass & Fredrik R. Nilsson, LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW from the second fireside session both agreed that the most important is to be aware and concrete when it comes to sustainable development. Discovering the low-hanging fruits and acting on them before initiating the harder choices, is a great first step. Then it is of uttermost importance that businesses clarify and give their own meaning to the word “sustainability”, so they are transparent with the agenda and are not just using it as a marketing goal. The collaboration between industry and gastronomy is two-sided and there are many examples of processes developed in a restaurant being implemented in industrial processes and vice-versa.