At the heart of the discussion at the “Future Food System Synergies by Tastebud Lab” forum, one cohesive theme stood out – the crucial need for a regenerative food system. Born out of a collaboration between multiple organizations, the forum was staged at the esteemed Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. This critical discourse forms part of the larger global event, “Asean-Asset 2023: Global Summit on the Future of Future Food — Global Protein Integrity,” underscored the importance of a sustainable food supply.
Tastebud Lab and Bio Buddy, steered at the helm by the visionary CEO and co-founder, Santi Abakaz, stirred an insightful dialogue about the future of food. Santi noted that our food industry was the most robust employment sector in the world, absorbing a significant 60-70% of the global workforce. However, a stark contrast surfaced in that this sector’s lowest rung workers also garnered the least remuneration compared to various other sectors.
Adding to this conundrum, Santi highlighted the food sector’s link to climate change. He revealed the alarming fact that about a quarter of global emissions can be traced back to activities in food production, distribution, and consumption. Aware of the urgent need to address these issues, Santi pointed out the importance of systematically examining and resolving the crisis.
While various modern ideas and solutions are emerging, such as plant-based food, insect proteins, cellular culture, cultured meat, to name but a few, Santi believes that we are only at the starting gate of this sustainability race. We still need to face the problems of food production inefficiency, persistent food wastage, and how to loop food waste into the circular economy at a greater scale, he added.
Inherent in regenerative food systems is the key to unlocking these food system-related challenges, according to Santi. This perspective offers a unique lens that transforms the way we produce food from being environmentally destructive to restorative. It pioneers a model that nourishes the environment and promotes a harmonious societal existence.
At the heart of regenerative food is the concept of understanding the essence of life in all its forms, including microorganisms and living organisms. This approach fosters an ecosystem and environment conducive to growth, vitality, and symbiosis within our food systems. It’s a refreshing alternative to simply slowing down the climate crisis, focusing instead on resilience, restoration, and a sustainable future.
To buttress this, Rungphech Chitanuwatm, the Regional Portfolio Director for Asean at Informa Markets, emphasised the pivotal role of robust local food systems. She highlighted the immense potential farmers have to enhance the value of their produce if available technology could be leveraged. The goal is to empower local communities to transition from merely supplying commodities to becoming integral links in the larger food production chain.