Why should innovation and R&D drive the transformation of the global food system? | So Good News
BATTLE CREEK, Mich., November 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Globally, the public and private sectors are working together to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #2 – to end hunger, achieve food security and improve prosperity and sustainable agriculture by 2030. Nigel HughesSVP Global Innovation and R&D, Kellogg Company & Dr. Pam HendersonNewEdge, Inc. CEO, shares strategies for how innovation and R&D teams can transform our global food system in a new blog post.
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By 2050, the world’s population is projected to reach 9.7 billion, and with it the demand for food. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, the world will need to produce 60% more food to keep up with population growth. However, doing so within the bounds of our planet’s sustainable growth poses an existential challenge.
Improving the efficiency of current food production is not the answer. The agri-food industry is responsible for approximately 25% of greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of freshwater consumption, and is heavily dependent on animal-derived foods.
To sustainably feed the world’s growing population, we must embrace the next agricultural revolution and find new ways to innovate our food system.
Sustainable food as an innovation opportunity
The impacts of the food system on climate change and biodiversity are becoming more relevant and necessary. Rather than exploiting nature, we all need to think differently to improve it. For food companies, this cannot simply be left to the sustainability department. These are important challenges, but equally compelling and exciting innovative problems to solve. In essence, impacting the food system is an innovative opportunity.
When we apply Opportunity Thinking®, we combine the vision of market needs, the value propositions that can be created through technologies and business models, and the conditions and trends that connect them, and we begin to unlock solutions. The food system is an important opportunity: the need is deep, the value proposition of food security and independence is worth working for, and the conditions of climate change and water scarcity are ideal for transformative innovation.
Sustainable food as an opportunity for experimentation
Building the right value chains in the system is essential to ensure meaningful change. Today’s system is complex and has many stakeholders interested in its success. The challenge has been addressed by inviting large ecosystems of influencers, observers, and participants, but the result is more often discussion than action. While we need to work together and leverage each other’s strengths and roles, too many “cooks in the kitchen” stifle innovation and prevent sustainable food from expanding globally.
Changes in large-scale food systems require innovation teams to experiment with new approaches in closed systems that provide a controlled environment before scaling these solutions.
A great example of a closed-loop practice is vertical farming in the UAE, which allows year-round production without the use of fertilizers and pesticides, unlike traditional farming. Being so close to populated cities, it’s exciting to consider the opportunities to access and reduce food waste they offer.
Sustainable food requires collective decisions
No single company or actor in the system can solve the problems alone. Incremental improvements are driven by new thinking and partnerships to find collective solutions. We need to rethink our system-wide relationships and work interdependently toward win-win solutions.
Take, for example, Kellogg’s rice production programs. As part of the Better Days Promise – environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, the company created a closed-system experiment to pilot Kellogg’s Ingrained™ to help Lower Mississippi River Basin rice farmers reduce methane in the North American rice ingredient supply chain. .
Kellogg offers training opportunities in irrigation management, nutrient management and soil health to support farmers’ transition to new practices, rewarding farmers per ton of greenhouse gas reductions achieved through new practices. Feedback from participating farmers will shape and improve the implementation of the program in future years.
The case of the Food System Innovation Coalition
Innovations for the future food system must focus on more than just the planet. This gives companies the opportunity to re-evaluate where possible. For these companies, it is necessary to define what is competitive and what is competitive. When companies come together in the face of competition to innovate on sustainability, we unlock and expand their collective innovation capabilities to solve a common problem. A rising tide lifts all boats! We need to find ways to empower everyone in the system to create the scale of change needed.
We believe the largest food companies are the ones capable of creating massive transformational innovations in our global food system. They have the resources and experience to take an experimental approach with a smaller set of actors to see what works and what doesn’t in a fairly open/closed system. In this way, we make sustainability aspirations a reality.
At Kellogg Company (NYSE: K), our vision is a better and more just world where people can not only eat, but also be fulfilled. We create better days and a place at the table for everyone through trusted food brands. Included in our favorite brands Pringles®, Cheez-It®, Special K®, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes®, Pop-Tarts®, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes®, Rice Krispies®, Eggo®, Mini Cereals®, Kashi®, RXBAR®, MorningStar Farms® and others. In 2021, there was almost a net sale $14.2 billion, consisting mainly of snacks, as well as convenience foods such as cereals, frozen meals and noodles. As part of us Kellogg’s® Better Days ESG strategy, we will address the interconnected challenges of well-being, climate and food security, creating better days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030. www.KelloggCompany.com.
SOURCE Kellogg Company