Immediate collective action among food companies, municipal actors and NGOs is needed to avert a water crisis that poses real short-term threats to the food
and agriculture sectors in the US, water risk experts have found.
The analysis from Morningstar Sustainalytics focused on the gigantic Ogallala Aquifer in the Great Plains region in the US and found water stresses like water depletion, old pipes, irrigation, droughts and polluted water were being exacerbated by widespread water mismanagement by food companies, farmers, government bodies, water utilities and others.
It found 69 out of 114 packaged foods companies (60%) operating in the Great Plains area had weak or non-existent water management practices. Another 49 of 114 firms (43%) in related food supply chains had similarly poor water stewardship records and plans.
Report co-author, Matthew Howard, VP of Water Stewardship at Milwaukee-based The Water Council, called on food firms to “act now to mitigate risks” with even basic measures such as fixing leaks, metering water use and “adding water aspects to existing management systems.”
General Mills and Tyson Foods were called out for leading the way in this kind of pragmatic water care. “Both companies have water stewardship programs to mitigate water-related risk, including water efficiency goals and actions, which will result in reducing freshwater use.”
Think of any aspect up and down the food supply chain and the chances are artificial intelligence (AI) is being applied to make it function better in one way or another.
In formulation. In nutrient discovery. In crop and cultivar refinement. Better picking methodologies. Botanical profiling. Reduced food waste. Better distribution. Inventory control. Predictive retailer metrics. In dietary advice…the list goes on…
None of this is strictly novel – commercially applicable AI has been around for a decade or more. What is more novel in 2022 is the scale of use.
One thing is clear – AI has quickly become incredibly useful to the food industry and is fast becoming a cost-cutting and indispensable innovation driver.
Celleste Bio co-founder and CTO Hanne Volpin with the brown stuff she hopes to revolutionize. Pic: Lawrence Harris
Israeli start-up Celleste Bio is building momentum to disrupt the chocolate supply chain… by growing cocoa in a lab.
Formed in July, the firm has already attracted the interest of Big Chocolate with Mondelēz International onboard with undisclosed seed funding.
Other backers include food-focused venture capitalist, Barrel Ventures, Israeli agricultural co-op Regba Group and agri-food and medical tech VC, Trendlines.
Celleste Bio’s USP utilizes cell culture to grow high quality cocoa without the plant waste and devastated rainforests and primate populations in west African countries such as Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana where around 60% of the world’s cocoa is sourced.
“Why grow something where you use less than 1% of the entire biomass of what you are growing?” Celleste Bio co-founder and chief technology officer Hanne Volpin told FoodNavigator-USA. “And why grow a food we really don’t need on increasingly sparse arable land? We could collectively decide never to grow it again or we can get creative and look at alternatives."
“We don't have to wait until we have no more chocolate bunnies to solve that problem. And it turns out companies like Mondelēz International are interested in this for reasons both biological and environmental.”
A previously obscure, nutrient-rich Indonesian nut is set to hit European shelves after winning EU novel foods approval that could also help protect under-threat kenari forests on the archipelago.
Kenari is primed for debut in the EU’s 27 member states after decades of use in mostly eastern and northern Indonesian islands but under a shadow as logging and mining activity threaten the very kenari forests from which the nuts are sourced.
The co-founders of the Indonesian firm Kawanasi Sehat Dasacatur, which lodged the just-approved EU submission in 2020, told Ingredients Network that aside from opening important European markets, the novel foods approval bolstered its intensifying lobbying of sector stakeholders and the Indonesian government to protect some kenari old growth forests.
“It is central to Kawanasi’s business core that we support the protection of the wild forest,” Felix Kusmanto and Debby Amalia King said ahead of a meeting this month with Indonesian government officials about expanding kenari tree preservation.
“The novel foods approval helps build our case for sure so we are very excited about what it means for protecting Indonesian kenari growth areas – and growing our business. It’s all about building the ‘kenari army’.”
Age and term-restricted tenures for CEO and Board positions in banking are not widespread in Africa despite actions taken by governments like those of Tanzania and Kenya to impose them upon the finance sector.
Should they be?