The Italian Tour
IPACK-IMA 2015 IGNITES A FOOD REVOLUTION by Olivia Holden, Milling and Grain
or how long can the world’s agroalimentary system be sustained? It is estimated that our global population is set to reach nine billion by 2050. Demand for food products will double by then, with an increased need for more animal proteins and processed foods. As a direct result, the food-processing sector is now gearing up to address how we are going to feed a population that is growing at a rate never experienced before by mankind. The critical question as to how we should move forward in an increasingly resource-constrained era was the subject of this year’s IPACK-IMA International Conference, Designing a Resilient Future: Food, Technology, and Sustainable Development, held on May 20, 2015 at the Fieramilano, Milan. As one of the largest food plant and technology exhibitions in the world, IPACK-IMA has become an international instrument for the dissemination and integration of food technologies. Five years in the making, this year’s IPACKIMA was described as the most important ever, to highlight a synergy and shared message with EXPO 2015 about ‘Feeding the Planet’. The cultural conference about the future of the food supply chain, driven by the initiative of Professor Claudio Peri (Scientific Advisor of IPACK-IMA, Professor Emeritus, University of Milan) brought together four distinguished figures, representing prestigious institutions in their capacity as food experts and opinion makers: Michiel Bakker, Director of Google Foodservice International, Paolo Barilla, of the Barilla Centre for Food and Nutrition (BCFN), Philippe Scholtès of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Greg Drescher, Vice President of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).
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Food security: a critical nexus
2015 marks a pivotal year in terms of global recognition and awareness towards the state of food insecurity and the pressing need to create a sustainable future. It is the very subject under global scrutiny at the aforementioned World EXPO, ‘Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life’, (also currently being hosted in Milan). There has never been a better time to examine our often emotive and complex relationship with food. At present, the global community is facing alarming contradictions. While on the one hand, there are still people going hungry, (latest FAO data indicates at least 805 million people, or one in nine worldwide, do not have enough to eat), there are also people dying from poor nutrition and disorders associated with excessive food intake. It is estimated globally there are 2.8 million deaths registered per year related to obesity or weight problems. In particular, concern is now mounting for a global diabetes epidemic spreading from the Americas to China. This timely conference connected critical links between technology and sustainability and provided an invaluable opportunity to brainstorm at a top level. As consumers, chefs, food service providers, policy makers and thought leaders, collectively, we can make concerted food choices that will have a significant bearing upon our future.
Bread as a symbol
In spite of the surrounding emphasis upon technology present at the trade fair, a loaf of bread was chosen as the key symbol for the international conference. Rich or poor, bread is often the common basis of a meal. Equally, bread is a symbol of community. ‘Sharing our daily bread’, emphasised Professor Peri, is synonymous with the need to address issues of injustice in the supply of food and the need to share our food with others. A poignant image, it was fitting to commence the conference thinking of the loaf of bread before