Embracing the next agricultural revolution and finding new ways to transform the food system is essential to feed the world in a sustainable manner, according to experts at the Kellogg Company and NewEdge.
Dr Nigel Hughes, SVP of Global Innovation and R&D at Kellogg Company and Dr Pam Henderson, CEO of NewEdge, Inc. have shared strategies on how innovation and research and development can transform the global food system.
The experts highlighted that sustainable food is an opportunity for innovation and solutions need to be profound, with climate change and water scarcity prime for transformational innovation.
This come on the back of data which shows that agri-food industry is responsible for around 25% of greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of freshwater consumption.
Citing vertical farming in the UAE as an example, the experts noted that changes to large-scale food systems require innovation teams to experiment with new approaches in closed systems that provide controlled environments before scaling those solutions.
The experts added that collective action is essential for developing sustainable food solutions, as partnerships are effective in finding innovative solutions.
The pilot of Kellogg's Ingrained programme, aimed at helping Lower Mississippi River Basin rice farmers reduce methane from the North American rice ingredient supply chain, created a closed system experiment.
The company provides training opportunities in irrigation management, nutrient management, and soil health to support farmers' transition to new practices.
It also rewards farmers based on per tonne of GHG reduction achieved by following innovative methods.
Another insight shared by Hughes and Henderson emphasised the need for companies to come together 'pre-competitively' to innovate on sustainability to unleash and scale their collective innovation capabilities to address a problem shared by all.
This is largely because large companies can create transformative innovation at scale as they have the resources and expertise to take an experimental approach within a sufficiently open/closed system.