Smart production of food with less ecological impact and its connection between nutrition and health are the two topics that will be taking centre stage at F&A Next on the 17th and 18th of May 2017. Interested companies, startups and investors in the field of food and agri(culture) can register to attend the event.
‘The food and agri sectors faces a tremendous challenge. We must create smarter production in order to achieve higher yields, meet changing consumer patterns and, at the same time, reduce the ecological impact,’ says Jeroen Leffelaar, Managing Director, Large Corporates Food & Agri at Rabobank. ‘There is, however, not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are differences between crops, geography and what we can do depending on the company’s level. But we are already noticing the effects of climate change and the decreasing amount of agricultural land per capita.’
‘That’s why we will focus at F&A Next, on the gradual transition to smart farming, which entails the sector applying high-tech systems and data technology. We will explore this topic from different perspectives. This will provide farmers with a platform for sharing their challenges and potential solutions’, says Jeroen Leffelaar.
Health and vitality
In addition to the need for smarter production of food, the food and agri sector must also rise to challenges in the field of prevention and health. Increasing buying power, urbanisation and the ‘westernisation’ of food consumption, impacts consumer behaviour and consequently the health and vitality of people. Leffelaar: ‘Today around two billion people worldwide are overweight and 30% of these are obese. This has a huge impact on healthcare costs, productivity and general well-being. The food industry can play a key role by providing healthy and tailor-made products. There are numerous innovations at the interface of food and prevention and food and medical treatment. At F&A Next we will provide an insight into the current situation, discuss innovations and take a more in-depth look at the legal challenges.’
F&A Next is an international platform that brings together investors, startups and scale-ups in the field of food and agri. The event is organised by Rabobank, Startlife and Wageningen University & Research to stimulate disruptive innovation and entrepreneurship. Jan Meiling, Innovation Manager at Wageningen University & Research: ‘Multinationals and startups need each other. Multinationals want to stay up to date on innovations and are looking for ways to involve startups in their innovation strategies. Startups in turn need a corporate partner, such as a multinational, at a certain point in their development. This interdependence is a strong stimulus for innovation in food and agri.’
More than 100 international investment funds, as well as representatives from some of the largest international food & agri companies, will attend F&A Next 2017. F&A startups and investors will meet each other during pitch sessions, company presentations, networking opportunities and one-on-one conversations. Meiling: ‘Our program will shed light on the most relevant social and economic themes. We’re also bringing the FoodBytes! pitch concept to the Netherlands. This will provide startups with a strong international platform to pitch their innovations.’
Startups that wish to pitch their innovations can register at www.fanext.com. Food and agri companies and investors that would like to develop a partnership with F&A Next or attend the event are invited to register on the same website.