We’ve just wrapped up an exciting week in Milano, Italy, where we were fully engaged in one of the most exciting – and important – sustainability conferences, Seeds and Chips.
Seeds and Chips is aptly named – a huge gathering where agriculture meets technology and innovation. It is the leading food innovation summit in the world housed in a building (Milano Congresi, or MICO) designed to inspire creative ideas. If you are into the topic of feeding the world, Seeds and Chips is for you.
Topics included food waste, as well as food security, water security, climate change and much more. The steady current underlying all of these themes was innovation as the engine to solutions.
Our food system challenges are formidable. We must sustainably feed an additional 10 billion global citizens by 2050, yet we are not sufficiently feeding the current population. More than 800 million are hungry, and more suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Water is scarce and growing scarcer. Temperatures are rising. Soils are being depleted. Species are in decline. Resources are increasingly constrained. And we are exceeding planetary boundaries while wasting between one third and one half of global food supplies annually.
Clearly, we need innovation for scalable solutions to the many problems of the global food system.
Seeds and Chips brings global thought leaders together to share knowledge and inspiration to find innovative solutions at all levels of the food system – from farm to fork. At LeanPath we are completely aligned with that mission, driven by the knowledge that our work on the prevention side of food waste has maximal benefit – avoiding not only wasted food but all of the resources that would otherwise have gone into producing that food, as well as the substantial environmental impact in the production and waste stages.
Our CEO Andrew Shakman participated in the session entitled Innovative Solutions to Food Waste, which was designed to convey the profound economic and environmental impacts of global food waste and the need for urgent change. Citing the longtime tendency of institutional kitchen managers to shy away from addressing recurring large levels of food waste, Andrew focused on the importance of gathering and using data to drive behavior change and food waste prevention in culinary institutions. He noted that prevention is often overlooked in lieu of food recovery efforts, and pointed to the importance of data (obtained through automated tracking of food waste events) in defining baseline and measuring change over time, conducting root cause food waste inquiries, and engaging staff members in the food waste reduction effort.
He closed by pointing out several areas for impact in institutional kitchens, such as closed loop menu planning, behavioral intervention, and post-consumer engagement, while summarizing LeanPath’s impact (9.1 million kgs – or 20 million lbs. – of food waste prevented since 2014) and inviting the global audience to join us in our journey to make food waste prevention and measurement daily practice in the world’s kitchens.
We were honored to be a part of Seeds and Chips and inspired by our peers innovating solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.