Future Food-Tech – Virtual Summit Review

Over 800 senior food-tech leaders joined us for two days of live interactive discussions, small-group roundtable discussions and 1-1 networking, connecting all players within the food-tech ecosystem.

Beth Bechdol, Deputy Director-General, FAO of The United Nations led the opening panel discussion highlighting that “food security is front of mind for all of us affiliated with the global food and agricultural system.”

Check out our summit highlights below. The summit is still live until October 18, so you can follow up with new connections, reach out to anyone you missed via the 1-1 video meeting system, and watch the content on demand whenever it suits you.

Relive the action!


Food Security

Preparing for the Next Global Shock

“Food security and safety is something that’s close to our hearts at Mars not just as a good-to-do but a must-do. Ensuring that we deliver food that is both safe and secure for the billions of consumers we feed every day, is something that’s at the forefront not just of our minds in the past but ever so more now in the context of Covid-19.”

Fiona Dawson, Global President, Mars Food & Multisales, MARS 

“There are so many good ideas from start-ups and entrepreneurs trying so many things across the value chain. When I look at what people are working on you don’t just create companies on the demand stream – the further upstream you go – the more impact you can have – you’re starting at the top of the river for everyone’s life you want to make better.”

Ryan Pandya, CEO and Co-Founder, PERFECT DAY

“The pandemic has spotlighted on the gaps in our global supply chain and provided opportunities for innovative solutions to be created.

With growing world demand, there are immense opportunities for investors, start-ups, businesses and governments to work together and build the resilience of our global food systems through technology and partnerships.”

Anuj Maheshwari, Managing DirectorTEMASEK

Building Resilience

Building Resilience and Improving Health with Functional Ingredients

“It’s about unification – if we imagine a world where we are seeing exponential rise in the experimental landscape around microbiome, a lot of data sets are siloed and increasingly we have to enable collaboration to ensure meaningful insights that result in products that help people stay healthier for longer.”


“Enhancing immune health is a complex endeavour, and genuinely strategic collaborations between ingredient providers and branded product manufacturers will be required. Breakthroughs disrupting incumbents will occur via biotechnology start-ups having the agility to aggressively pursue developments in science and technology applicable to the intersection of food, nutrition, and health. The best innovation strategies will embrace advanced data analytics to generate previously unobtainable insights from data-rich environments that exponentially accelerate discovery and commercialisation of new ingredients, products and brands.”

Harold Schmitz, Managing Partner, THE MARCH FUND

“From innovation in the plant-based protein market to increased demand for immune-supporting products, interest in functional foods and ingredients is growing and consumers are seeking healthy and satisfying product options that contribute to overall wellness.

We at ADM look forward to playing an important role in developing unique food and nutritional solutions aimed at building human health resiliency.”

Leticia Goncalves, President of Global Specialty Ingredients, ADM


Nine gamechanging start-ups presented exciting innovations in health and nutrition, personalisation and digitisation and plant-based products.

Presenting Start-Ups:
Rachel Yarcony, Founder and CEO, MYAIR
Karen Scofield Seal, CEO, Charlie Bavington, CTO, OCEANIUM
Magdalena Kozłowska,
Malcolm Hebblewhite, CEO, ATMO BIOSCIENCES
Adam Behrens, CEO and Co-Founder, MORI
Adrian Kapsalis, Founder and CEO, LOEWI
Racheli Vizman, 
Co-Founder and CEO, SAVOREAT
Taly Nechushtan,
Darko Mandich,
CEO and Co-Founder, MELIBIO

Personalised Nutrition

The Key to Unlocking Value in Personalised Nutrition

“InsideTracker’s platform connects actions and makes them precise – gives recommendations for supplements, less caffeine, incorporated HIT exercise. It  supports consumers through every step of their wellness journey as an online platform that has partners bringing together data from many places.”

Gil Blander, Founder and CSO, INSIDETRACKER

Scaling Personalised Nutrition

Promising New Platforms and Markets for Mass Adoption

“The law does not advance as fast as the science, so there are restrictions from the FDA and hurdles when it comes to providing an non-consistent (purposefully) product. There is a challenge in communicating the science and realistic outcomes to ensure what is being promised is true, safe and clear in order to get approval.”

Jessica O’Connell, Partner, COVINGTON

“Personalised nutrition only really works when you understand human biology – it is about gene expression, gut microbiome, immune health, what is going on inside and those triggers for inflammation, low energy etc. People think they are eating healthy diets, when really we found through testing that ‘healthy’ foods like broccoli, spinach and high-protein foods were giving some people less energy and high inflammation and weight gain due to it not matching with their microbiome (sulphates etc). What we do at VIOME is calculate exact dosage from looking at exact data (blood, saliva, stool).”

Naveen Jain, Founder and CEO, VIOME

“We are seeing that some people are taking a deeper look at their wellness and health such as cooking from scratch, keeping up and maintaining attention to weight loss and wellness, and some are not doing as well during this pandemic. Life happens and sometimes you are ready for it, sometimes you are not. At WW it is about community, so regardless of how well you are doing, we are here to support. A big part of nutrition and food is social. In the digital world, we have a private social network for members, a place to share successes and struggles.”


Big Food’s Move into Plant-Based

From Early Trends to Mass Market

“At the end of the day, we’re driven by what the consumer wants and if the consumer wants more choices, we’re going to have to offer more choices. As a leader in protein, we want to make sure that we have multiple offerings to make sure that the consumer is happy.” Florian Schattenmann, CTO and VP R&D, CARGILL

Plant-Based Products

Bleeding Edge: Latest Innovations in Plant-Based Products

“This food revolution is an extraordinary opportunity for the entire community. At Roquette we are raising the bar on farmers, and we are raising it together with them and when you do this, you improve the entire community.”

Jean-Philippe Azoulay, VP, Head of Pea & New Protein Lines, ROQUETTE

“The interaction among Consumers, Ingredients and Technology will shape the future of food. The evolution of the value chain today governing the food making and the food distribution is a must impacting the full ecosystem. The new approach should have a positive impact on planet health, consumer well-being and agriculture wealth.”

Aldo Uva, COO, Chief R&D Officer, THE LIVEKINDLY CO

“We need to provide as much food in the next 35 years as the same amount as the last 10,000 years. This gives you a perspective of the massive challenege that we have in front of us. When you work in the food industry we are deeply connected with agriculture. Agriculture is the issue (start of the problem) and at the same time, the solution.”

Cecile Beliot, Group EVP, BEL

“Be ready. Be creative and Focus. There’s room at the plant-based card table and it’s an exciting time to have a hand in the game.”

Elysabeth Alfano, Consulting Managing Director, North America, VEGCONOMIST

Sustainable and Nutritious Future

Taking Action Towards a More Sustainable and Nutritious Future

“In the years following Memphis Meats founding in 2015, over 50 companies have proliferated spanning every continent but Antartica. We’re humbled to see the extent to which the industry has taken flight.”

“We have a mandate from nature to adapt – and let’s action it”

Uma Valeti, CEO and Co-Founder, MEMPHIS MEATS

A Perfect Food System

Reaching for the Stars: Components of a Perfect Food System


“The use of AI in Food innovation is undoubtedly a necessary step towards a more sustainable food industry, from discovering new natural health ingredients in a fraction of the time and cost all the way to creating new value add products from various different plants, animals or their by-products. However, we wouldn’t be able to leverage AI in the way we do today without the significant advances in genome sequencing, proteomics, mass spectrometry, to name but a few. So although AI takes the headline, it is the integration of those different fields that makes all this possible.”

Nora Khaldi, Founder and CEO, NURITAS

“It’s everything from machine-learning, it’s functional protein separation, it’s yeast expression, it’s work on a seed level with farmers, there are a number of elements that make up this word technology that appears after food.”

Josh Tetrick, Founder and CEO, EATJUST

“Decentralisation can also help make personalisation and customisation more affordable. Imagine a future world where food is produced much more regionally, much more locally, and it is done in a high-tech way so it is more adapted to the food needs and preferences of that region.”

Naveen Sikka, Founder and CEO, TERVIVA


A Game-Changing New Super-Ingredient


The company brings together some of the most successful food entrepreneurs and leading plant-based investors, with plans to work in partnership with CPG companies to open a world of possibility around whole, simple ingredients that are full of flavour and gentle on the Earth. Atlast will also move forward with launching its own product in retail.

“We want to scale our whole cut mycelium super ingredient into a lot of spaces – we see this as a big opportunity as a plant based ingredient to make a wholecut meat. We are looking for partners to accelerate the adoption of the technology. We are here to demonstrate to the world what we can do with this technology, something that is tangible, exciting, a product that people love and something people would love to have a plant-based version of.”

Eben Bayer, Co-Founder, ATLAST

Impacts on Venture Capital

Market Update: Impacts of the Pandemic on Venture Capital

“The deals that are getting done are the “hot deals”. These are deals that have signed contracts, proof of concept, proof of attraction. The main takeaway is companies that have evidence of reduced uncertainty have a serious edge in the environment.”

 Alex Frederick, Senior Emerging Technology Analyst, PITCHBOOK

“Over the past few years, most deals have been under pressure because fund size and valuations are much higher. In terms of deal stages, angel and seed deals have decreased as a proportion of total deals to 20%, which is the lowest proportion since 2012.”

 Alex Frederick, Senior Emerging Technology Analyst, PITCHBOOK

Investor Panel

As the Dust Settles

“Sustainability is a consideration in all of the investments we make. We won’t be able to hit some of the audacious goals that we have set out for the organisation unless we do make investments and build more partnerships.”

Erin VanLanduit, Managing Director, TYSON VENTURES

Plant-Based Seafood

Making the Case for Plant-Based Seafood

“The plant-based protein used in alternative seafood could go directly from the source to the consumer without any diversion.”

Carsten Krome, Managing Partner, HATCH

“We have identified plant-based alternatives seafood as the most promising option in the near future with regards to capturing market share from conventional seafood for three reasons: It is cheaper due to simpler supply chain, it has less impact through shorter logistic routes and its durability and energy efficiency due to less refrigeration needed. ”

Carsten Krome, Managing Partner, HATCH

Sustainable Packaging

Pulpex: The Future of Sustainable Packaging

“We are delighted to talk about our pulpex collaboration with Diageo, one of the worlds largest producers of spirits and beers and launching one of the first 100% PET-free pulpex bottles at a sustainable technology packaging company that we hope will make a massive impact to sustainability in the coming years.”

Sandy Westwater, CFO and Co-Founder, PILOT LITE

Presented by: 
Luca Lupini, 
Global Innovation R&D Director,  DIAGEO

Corporate Innovation

New Priorities to Navigate the Storm

Philipp Stradtmann, General Manager, BOESCH BODEN SPIES shares his key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Covid19 accelerates innovation pipelines
  • Big food extends its D2C activities including eCommerce
  • Ordering food online is the New Normal
  • Consumer ask for #healthyFood fostering immunisation
  • Plant-based is the new key-driver for growth
  • Collaboration drives the new food ecosystem

Cell-Based Meat

An Alternative Course: Can Cell-Based Meat Deliver on its Promise?

“Cultured meat is a capital-intensive business. The manufacturing world requires significant investment that a company will have to raise quickly in order to scale at the rate they need.”

Benjamina Bollag, CEO, HIGHER STEAKS

Scaling Alternative Proteins

How Can Existing Technologies be Used to Shorten Routes to Market?


Cai Linton, Co-Founder and CEO, MULTUS MEDIA

“There is a big overlap between the pharmaceutical industry and food industry in terms of handling inputs, especially in the skills and knowledge that has been developed to understand the underlying science. The infrastructure in the pharmaceutical industry may not be so easily applied to the food industry, however decentralising production and referencing existing SOPs will help make supply more robust and aid regulatory approval. Finally, investment from adjacent industries through capital, manufacturing support and distribution pipelines will help alternative protein companies gather data, scale up and bring products to market.”

AI, Automation & Robotics

Leveraging Technology to Improve Agility and Resilience

“If resilience in the end is an additional flexibility in the end it is less efficient. Resilience is always a trade off and it costs something unless you really have a breakthrough new supply chain. In particular if you have a long supply chain like seed or crop protection we can only balance this off if we have innovation in other areas.”

Dirk Backhaus, Head of Product Supply, CROP SCIENCE DIVISION OF BAYER

Transforming through Blockchain

Key Innovation Levers and their Impact on the Industry

“We have deployed the IBM Transparency Applied Platform which is a blockchain platform that allows for trusted permission data sharing across an ecosystem of supply chain partners.”

Raj Rao, GM Industry Platforms, IBM

Supply Chain Resilience

Is a More Localised Food System the Answer?

Daphne Ewing-Chow, Senior Contributor, FORBES
Björn Öste, 
Co-Founder, OATLY, Member of the Board and Co-Founder and CEO, GOOD IDEA
James Rogers, Founder and CEO, APEEL SCIENCES

Microbes & Fermentation

The Race for Sustainable Protein Production

“Single-cell microbial fermentation is a highly promising and exciting area of alternative protein with the potential to play a key role in feeding 10 billion people by 2050. This technology produces efficient, nutritious, versatile protein in a transparent, clean process which inherently eliminates many of the supply chain issues associated with the meat supply chain as exposed by COVID-19.”

Costa Yiannoulis, Investment Director, CPT CAPITAL

Roundtable Discussions

Hear from the Roundtable Hosts, what were their key takeaways?

  • Crisis Management: Different types of disruption have different responses, there are 3 sources of disruption: Environment (everyone is impacted), Competition (industry is impacted), Internally driven within the company
    Host: Brent Drever, Co-Founder and COO, MANNA TREE PARTNERS
  • Recycling and Reuse: Focus on value vs. only price , design the package in parallel with product design vs. as an afterthought and think about shifting packaging from being a cost of good sold to the manufacturer and instead an asset.
    Host: Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO, TERRACYCLE
  • Appropriate vehicles for fortification: Consumer education to combat malnutrition remains key. In that sense, “fortification of the minds” is as important as fortification of foods and drinks.
    Host: Angelika De Bree, Global Categories Nutrition Director – Foods, Ice cream & Beverages, UNILEVER
  • Precision Nutrition: There is no such thing as a universally healthy food or diet – Which means that the same food can be superfood to one person and a food to avoid for another person based on their individual gut microbiome and other biochemical activities. For example, Broccoli, cabbage or brussels sprouts can be good for many people and can be harmful to other people who have high sulfide production by their gut microbiome.
    Host: Naveen Jain, CEO, VIOME
  • Capital Allocation: Automation in food and ag is an enormous opportunity due to labor issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, and which are expected to worsen with the increasing occurrence of future pandemics. Other benefits in ag include reduced pesticide and herbicide reliance when using AI-enabled field robotics.
    Host: Alex Frederick,
    Senior Emerging Technology Analyst, PITCHBOOK
  • Mass Adoption of Personalised Foods: While personalized products for health management is a growing consumer desire there are four primary challenges that need to be solved before the opportunities can be moved to mass adoption: Transparency of information, science to support the offerings, a proper ecosystem in place to deliver a solution and delivering offerings at a cost that is affordable for the masses.
    Host: David Behringer, CEO, PILOT LITE VENTURES USA
  • Challenges for the cultivated meat industry: The challenges that the cultivated meat/cheese/dairy industry will face are consumer acceptance, cost reduction/scaled manufacturing, regulation and superb test and texture – similar to the “real thing”.
    Host:  Jonathan Berger, CEO, THE KITCHEN FOODTECH HUB
  • Corporate Venturing: It can be a game changer and induce growth in the corporate space; it can be also a risk if it’s not properly planned before hand. Corporate Venturing units shall be strongly router within the corporation in order to have direct input from business units, finance and R&D on the real potential of external innovation.
    Host: Jose Luis Cabañero, CEO, EATABLE ADVENTURES
  • Plant-Based Brands As more players enter the arena, brand needs to differentiate themselves. Before getting out your plant-based message: focus, focus, focus on how you add value to marketplace and what makes you different.
    Host: Elysabeth Alfano, Consulting Managing Director, North America, VEGCONOMIST
  • Fuelling Next Generation Food Companies Food companies are hard requiring knowledge and access around food science, product development, consumer trends, marketing, packaging, supply chains and processing.
    Host: Phil Morle, Partner, MAIN SEQUENCE VENTURES
  • How can agile R&D increase productivity and efficiency when creating next-gen products? Agile processes are a “natural fit” for food R&D, getting timely information from the project team to the decision makers is key and managing to product timelines is challenging but manageable with agile.
    Hosts: Nigel Howard, Partner, and Chase Brennick, Associate, COVINGTON
  • Investments into Cellular Agriculture: While it may be difficult for new startups in the field to raise capital to get started, it appears like investors are continuing to support established cellular agriculture companies that have previously raised funding rounds and continue to reach scaling milestones.
    Host: Ahmed Khan, Founder and Editor, CELLAGRI
  • While large corporates seek for innovation, many struggles. We found that corporates often lack organizational foundation for innovation because it is usually optimized for existing operations. So corporate transformation in culture and organization is necessary. Finding a outside partner is the effective first step to change rigid organization. You need to widen your perspective for future and innovation – for example, food innovation could be non-technical. Then you could choose the right place to innovate for your company and focus on the resources to innovate fast.
    Host: Namiko Kajiwara, Partner, WORLD INNOVATION LAB
  • The use of AI in food innovation is undoubtedly a necessary step towards a more sustainable food industry, from discovering new natural health ingredients in a fraction of the time and cost all the way to creating new value add products from various different plants, animals or their by-products. However, we wouldn’t be able to leverage AI in the way we do today without the significant advances in genome sequencing, proteomics, mass spectrometry, to name but a few. So although AI takes the headline, it is the integration of those different fields that makes all this possible.
    Host: Nora Khaldi, Founder and CEO, NURITAS
  • Our roundtable had a robust discussion about what the next ‘plant-based’ like trend would be. We explored many of the topics discussed at the conference including cell-based meat and seafood, food-as-medicine, and personalized nutrition.  While these areas pose major opportunities, the group also felt that there are still significant opportunities within plant-based, including the next-generation of products that will have cleaner ingredient and health profiles, coming from a variety of new protein sources, like mycelium and bacteria/microbes. Overall, the group was enthusiastic that the food-tech world won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
    Host: Andrew Bluestein, Co-Founder and Managing Partner, BLUESTEIN VENTURES
  • Patient capital is crucial for a healthy capital base in food and agriculture investing. It assumes a significant part of the responsibility in
    pioneering investments into food for the greater good because of the privilege of time associated with longer investment horizons. Similarly, it allows for factors such as regulation and consumer behaviour to catch up with innovation and permits founders to focus on R&D by removing the pressure from frequent fundraising.
    Host: Leah Volger, Partner, MANTA RAY VENTURES
  • “Doing the right solution is tough”. “There is not a single right solution”We need to work on improving the health and sustainability of diets across our communities, including helping children understand where their food comes from and encourage them to eat healthy. Tackling nutritional challenges such as the childhood obesity crisis is an immense task and should start with choosing our battles carefully by identifying and prioritizing the most promising focus points in this area, and this requires long term commitment and intervention, and while we are starting including this challenge in the discussion agendas more frequently, more needs to be done towards the reduction in childhood obesity. By working together, we can continue to improve the diets of our youngest generations.
    Host: Mercedes Groba, Innovation Programme Manager, EIT FOOD

Who Joined Us?

Here are just some of the global players and industry leaders who joined us at the virtual Future Food-Tech Summit on September 17-18, 2020:

Join us next time - December 2-3

Join us next time at Future Food-Tech on December 2-3 where we focus on strengthening North America’s food system in a post-Covid-19 world,

Get in touch if you would like to help shape the content and be involved as a speaker, partner or exhibitor.

Contact Oliver Katz, Conference Producer, Future Food-Tech Series

Audience Polls