21 Aug Technological Platforms and Networks to Deliver Innovation and Change Food System
No global challenge has a single solution. Food waste, water scarcity, hunger, increasing innovation in the agri-food sector… are global challenges which need to bring all the possible talent together. Perhaps it is because numerous collaborative projects based on networks and platforms have emerged in the agri-food industry in recent years.
allfoodexperts®, which is an open innovation platorm and community of food professionals aimed at delivering fast and reliable value added applied solutions to improve food system, and other projects, both with technical or social approaches, private and supported by administrations, draw a similar path.
Food for life, for instance, is a platform supported by the European Union (UE) to foster the delivery of a quicker and more effective, consumer-oriented food innovation, as well as a forum for ensuring multidisciplinary approaches, boosting research and sustainable business models, and identifying the best practices, among others. Currently, different groups work in food processing, packaging and quality issues, food chain management, or technology transfer within the Agri-food sector.
That’s not the only initiative of this kind supported by the UE. Launched in August 2012, Fusions is a 21-partners project, from thirteen countries including universities, knowledge institutes, consumer organizations, and businesses. It was conceived as the “European Multi-Stakeholder Platform to generate a shared vision and strategy to prevent food loss and waste across the whole supply chain through social innovation”. And equally, based on the previous experience of the technological platforms, it was created by the European Platform Transparent Food as a common meeting platform for all stakeholders in the agri-food industry with interest in the development of transparency in the food sector.
To reduce food losses, Postharvest Network, composed of Dutch specialized companies, was equally launched to implement “practical and proven” solutions in the food supply chain of fresh products.
Water and food security are other issues requiring the world’s and agri-food industry’s attention. Water and food is an example of this kind of networks, and the FAO’s recently launched a platform to support family farmers, Family Farming Knowledge Platform, another. The initiative is aimed at gathering digitized information from all over the world and being a “one-stop shop” for information, data, and legislation related to a group that produces 80% of the world’s food. Equally, it aims to recognize the contributions of these families, increase food security, and fight property worldwide.
More focused on the technical challenges, as is the case of allfoodexperts®, projects such as Bridge2food can be found, joining food experts, OpenUp, focused on food and packaging, or corporate platforms as those of Unilever or G-Win.
Combining the corporate and social aspects, Danone launched its Social Innovation Platforms. Thus, Danone finances projects which conjugate business responsibility to benefit local authorities and communities, company’s stakeholders and NGOs operating where their projects are started-up in collaboration with them.