It is a reality that science, research, and development (R&D) are fundamental in shaping the future of our diets. Laboratory research is revolutionizing the creation of foods with new ingredients aimed at addressing challenges such as food safety, the growing demand for proteins, or consumers’ new preferences. All of this will be analyzed and debated at the R&D Summit to be held within the framework of Food 4 Future – Expo Foodtech 2024, from April 16th to 18th at the BEC in Bilbao.

Among the topics for discussion are the challenges associated with the growing demand for proteins and the innovative solutions emerging in response. In this context, the Food 4 Future World Summit congress will present the latest alternative protein sources, including options for plant-based, cultivated, and sustainable proteins, featuring Abert Tseng, Co-founder of Dao Foods and representative of China at ICEX; Rodrigo Sanchez, CEO of NaturAll; and Beatriz Jacoste, Director of KM ZERO Food Innovation.

Furthermore, the successful incorporation of next-generation ingredients into various food products will also be addressed through real case studies, providing professionals in the food industry with information on the latest trends and strategies. Clemens Hollah, Managing Director of DIL and representative of Germany at ICEX, and Guillermo Mena, R&D&I Director of Fruselva, will be among those responsible for providing these insights.

The arrival of new foods and additives has brought about a revolution that also entails challenges, a new regulatory framework, and opportunities for innovation, aspects that Miguel Angel Cubero, CEO of Ingredalia; Macarena Baylos de Nárdiz, Director of Exploitation of Results at CNTA; and Thomas Dietrich, Project Manager at Tecnalia Research & Innovation, will discuss. In the bakery and snacks professionals’ realm, Eliana Bejarano, CEO of Be-Amaz; Rina Fainstein, CEO of Noga Plus; and Alejandro de la Brena, Co-founder and CEO of Griyum, will provide a strategic vision of the latest ingredients and flavor concepts, as well as emerging trends in this field and the technical aspects of product development.

Another relevant topic for the industry is food safety in a globalized and constantly changing world. John Holah, expert professor at Cardiff University, and Hugo Cunha, Scientific Researcher at AZTI, will analyze issues such as supply chain resilience, regulatory evolution, and technological innovations ensuring food safety. The congress will also showcase the potential of algae in the agri-food sector, a very current topic to be addressed by representatives from AZTI, the University of the Basque Country (EHU-UPV), and the European Algae Biomass Association (EABA).

In line with the current situation, citizens are concerned about a diet that favours optimal wellbeing and contributes to improving health. To achieve this goal, probiotics, together with the healthy properties of the lipid fraction of dairy products and the components of coffee, are essential for promoting healthy ageing, as representatives from different CSIC departments will show. This will also be addressed by experts from Eurocat and Northumbria University, who will present the latest advances in research on probiotics and their possible use in the creation of healthy dairy drinks. 

From proteins made from plant residues to edible and healthy ‘glue’

In addition to the congress area, Food 4 Future 2024 will feature an exhibition area where more than 280 firms will showcase their latest solutions. Regarding new ingredients, Moa Foodtech will present sustainable proteins developed from the fermentation of vegetable residues and by-products such as leaves, peels, or fruit skins. On the other hand, the company Nucaps will introduce its alternative to salt, named NuCla, which provides salty flavor without harming the consumer’s health. Similarly, the Japanese brand NinjaFoods will exhibit edible and healthy ‘glue paste’ made from konnyaku food, to bind ingredients for creating healthy snacks.

Other companies that will be present include Maash, with a protein produced by fermenting mushrooms, which has a texture very similar to that of meat, but with a lower environmental impact; or the biotech company Genbioma Aplicaciones, which will be exhibiting its probiotics and postbiotics that help regulate blood sugar in people with diabetes.