How will the food industry feed nine billion people healthily and sustainably in the not too distant future?
Bühler addressed this issue, together with key customers, scientists and partners at the Bühler Networking Days gathering in Uzwil, Switzerland, August 22-24. Approximately 750 participants took part in the event.
The challenges for the food industry are enormous. Around 65% of global water consumption and 25% of all energy use is related to food and feed production. The world population is still growing and more than 30% of all food is wasted. Far too many people in developed countries are overweight or obese, with an estimated impact of US $2 trillion worldwide. At the same time, an estimated 840 million people suffer from hunger or malnourishment.
The world population is predicted to grow to over 9 billion by 2050. Feeding humankind healthily and sustainably is a huge task for agricultural systems and the international food industry. Indeed, it is believed that even today’s production of animal protein is not sustainable. Only 40% of vegetable proteins (in the form of rice, corn, wheat or soy) land on our plates, with the rest ending up in the stomachs of livestock or as food waste. Despite efforts and political agreements, no turnaround to a sustainable economic model and grain value chain has been achieved so far.
“We take the responsibility of the food and feed industry for a sustainable world very seriously. It’s time now that the private industry steps up and makes a difference,” said Stefan Scheiber, chief executive officer of the Bühler Group.
Bühler Networking Days were organized, among other things, to discuss major trends that are shaping the grain-processing industry, including developments in nutrition, sustainability, food and feed safety, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“We want to anticipate megatrends and lead the discussion about how our businesses will evolve in the future,” said Scheiber. “Our industry plays a key role – since corn, rice and wheat are the most important staple foods for four billion people. And with the impending protein gap, grain processing will become even more important.”
During the three-day event speakers provided valuable insights into the latest developments in the areas of nutrition, food and feed safety, sustainability and IoT. Break-out sessions, expert tours and a major solutions space created an inspiring environment in which participants exchanged and developed ideas, networked and discussed how the grain-processing industry can successfully feed nine billion people healthily and sustainably.
Bühler’s long-standing commitment to educating and training customers to be able to operate the latest equipment sustainably was in high profile at the event, with the presence of the Swiss and the African Milling Schools, as well as the Swiss Institute of Feed Technology.
Every year, the company invests up to 5% of its turnover into research and development. The resulting innovations make a big difference in feeding a growing world population and reducing energy and water usage. During the Bühler Networking Days, the company presented more than 30 innovations in a specifically built exhibition area covering 1,800 square meters.
A number of newly developed solutions were launched during the event. Among them: the latest generation of pasta-drying technology, Ecothermatic, which boasts energy savings of up to 40%; and the Tubex high-precision scale, which is said to reduce energy costs by over 90%.