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Sustainable Foods Summit: Ingredients, proteins, packaging top agenda

Sustainable Foods Summit: Ingredients, proteins, packaging top agenda
The Sustainable Foods Summit will tackle some of the major sustainability issues concerning ingredients, proteins and packaging in the food industry.

The North American edition of the summit will discuss the environmental and social impacts of sustainable ingredients & proteins as well as the gamut of sustainable packaging options available to food and beverage companies. Organized by Organic Monitor, the summit takes place in San Francisco on January 17-18th.

With the United Nations declaring 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), the summit opens with a keynote on the positive contribution of cooperatives on sustainability. Leading cooperatives involved in sustainable development in the food industry will be featured at the summit. Frontier Natural Products will shares its experiences in using sustainability metrics and communication methods. It is one of the few natural food enterprises to produce an annual sustainability report, giving key indicators for sourcing, operations, products, packaging, employees, customers and the community. Also at the summit, Stuart Reid, Executive Director of the Food Co-op Initiative will state how food cooperatives are strengthening regional communities whilst meeting growing consumer demand for local foods.

Other papers in the Sustainability Initiatives session discuss the role of sustainable agriculture in food security and climate change. Dr. Ulrich Hoffmann from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will stress the importance of sustainable agriculture in mitigating food security risks, whilst Worldwatch Institute will show how innovations in agriculture can sequestrate carbon emissions. Emerging eco-labels, such as Non-GMO Project Verified are also featured in the opening session. Growing consumer concerns about genetically modified foods has made it is one of the fastest growing eco-labels in North America.

The second summit session hones in on Sustainable Ingredients & Proteins, with various speakers exploring methods to ‘de-commodify’ ingredients by sustainable production. Juliette Caulkins from UTZ Certified will show how the sustainability program provides traceability and encourages good agricultural practices. With the use of case studies, Fair Trade USAand West Africa Trade Hub will explain how sustainable production can generate positive impacts on social communities. The challenges of setting up sourcing projects in developing countries are the subject of Sambazon; the enterprise has set up numerous agricultural projects in the Amazon to become the largest supplier of açaí berries in the world.

As the global population has reached 7 billion, there is much debate about a pending proteins crisis. A number of papers discuss the advent of sustainable proteins to meet this emerging challenge. The Marine Stewardship Council and Safeway will cover the major developments in sustainable seafood production and marketing. The Global Animal Partnership Program will give insights into how its animal welfare rating scheme is educating consumers on sustainable meat products. Another paper looks at the growing use of plant-based proteins as meat and dairy alternatives.

DaraO’Rourke, founder of the Good Guide, kicks off the second day of the summit with an opening keynote on the marketing challenge associated with sustainable foods. Also in the Marketing & Distribution Innovations session, O’Rourke will show how mobile technology is meeting the informational needs of green consumers. The Good Guide enables consumers to obtain various environmental / social / health parameters from product bar codes whilst shopping. Kaia Foods will give insights into potential of raw foods, discussing the product development and marketing challenges. Other papers will cover distribution and supply chains, financing for sustainable food enterprises, consumer behavior and retailing best-practices.

Since packaging has the highest environmental footprint of food and beverage products, the final session focuses on Sustainable Packaging. Various methods to reduce the packaging footprint are highlighted, including latest developments in packaging materials and design. New applications of bioplastic packaging in sustainable food and beverages will be discussed, as well as ways to create positive impacts by the Cradle-to-Cradle Design approach. Albe Zakes from TerraCycle will show how innovations in recycling waste can create new packaging materials, whilst Ron Cotterman from Sealed Air will explain how developments in packaging can reduce waste reduction. A recent FAO (United Nations) report revealed that up to a third of global food production is lost through the supply chain, partly because of inadequate packaging and distribution.

About the Sustainable Foods Summit

Organized by Organic Monitor, the aim of the Sustainable Foods Summit is to explore new horizons for eco-labels and sustainability in the food industry by discussing key industry issues in a high level forum. The fifth edition of this international series of summits will take place in San Franciscoon 17-18th January 2012. More information is available from

About the Organizer

Organic Monitor is a specialist research, consulting & training company that focuses on the global organic & related product industries. In 2011, we are celebrating 10 years of encouraging sustainable development. Since 2001, we have been providing a range of business services to operators in high-growth ethical & sustainable industries. Our services include market research publications, business & technical consulting, summits, seminars & workshops. Visit us at

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