Food, Glorious Food

Food: from seed to table

... and how you can be involved

According to National Restaurant Association in the US, the food service industry is experiencing trends of “Local, vegetable-forward, and ethnic-inspired menu items will reign supreme in the 2018… In response, chefs are creating more items in-house and turning to global flavors.”

Here in Switzerland, the taste for international menus reflects the tastes of a more cosmopolitan population. From the spreading popularity of poke bowls to ramen cafés popping up across the country, our food chain supply has experienced a prevalent shift, which carries over to the use of modern technology of preparing and supplying food. What do the experts think about this concept in Switzerland?

We caught up with Juerg Hodel, CEO of Staufen.Inova and Stephan Keller, Director of Technical Division at V-ZUG about  the Food Chain Track which they will present at WORLDWEBFORUM 2019.

Please tell us about Food Chain Track. What will attendees take away with them?

Keller: Everyone, everywhere, needs food. Our sessions are open to all, and we invite those who are interested and keen to join in the discussion.

The thing about food chain is that so many companies are involved in the supply of food chain in some way. There are a great number and diverse set of companies (from seed production, biotech, convenience industry, such as Nestlé) that are involved with the whole food supply chain. It comprises agriculture, raw food processing manufacturing, distribution, logistics, convenience goods, new business models and service-oriented food businesses. We would like to provide a platform for participants to talk about food digitization and their inter-dependencies of using data to optimize operations.

Hodel: For takeaways, it would be great for participants to leave with a greater awareness of all the opportunities available in the food chain, and potentially leave with new collaboration partners. We would like to offer a platform to start a two-way discussion between new partners. What’s more is that we’d like to encourage businesses to move from their “insight” towards a more outward-looking collaboration mindset. We would be more than happy to be responsible for new partnerships that come from Track discussions.

Why are V-ZUG and Staufen.Inova dedicated to Food Chain at WORLDWEBFORUM?

Hodel: Staufen.Inova serves as consultants for organizations throughout the entire food chain. Whether it’s food tech companies or raw food producers and semi-finished products. We wish to provide our expertise about how digitization and Big Data affects these businesses.

Keller: V-ZUG makes appliances for food processing. We are keen to optimize end-user experience and with Food Chain Track. We hope to facilitate open discussions with many other businesses that are intertwined in the customer experience, so that we could deliver the best and full experience collectively.

What’s on the program during the Food Chain Track sessions?

Keller: It will be a diverse and open platform for all that are interested in anything to do with food! Whether it’s how it’s grown, farmed, processed, delivered, sold or consumed.

We will bring in Kevin Yu, CEO of Sidechef, a Silicon Valley-based startup (with its all-in-one cooking platform, geared with a hands-free voice command) who will be speaking about new business models for food education.

Thomas Bone, CEO of PreciBake will also be presenting: PreciBake uses AI to modify the baking process and food refinement.

Furthermore, we also have an invitation-only session with Migros Industries, with speakers from IBM who will discuss the current status of AI for Food Ontology, a publishing data about recipes, the origins of its ingredients, as well as the diets, menus, seasons, courses and occasions they may be suitable for.


Hodel: For the farming session, we will have speakers speaking about both traditional and agrochemical methods. For example, how to get vineyard fungus-resistant plants to maintain sustainable production for the future. The agrochemical part is about designing fertilizers and seeds that are climate change resistant and can still be formulated to guard us against illnesses.

Tor-Gunnar Vågen,  Geoinformatics Senior Scientist from the World Agroforestry Centre will be talking about soil science and farming; utilizing scientific data, Big Data and agricultural system modeling, to engineer sustainable farming in producer nations.

What are the main discussions you hope to ignite or join in the Food Chain Track sessions?

Keller: From the discussions, we would like to see participants recognize and identify gaps in the chain. This will help us all identify business opportunities from those gaps and mutual potential partners that we can work with, to optimize these opportunities.

Hodel: There will be many discussions around individualization and customization of food engineering, sustainability, capacity to streamline global food supply. In high- investment countries such as Switzerland, food may be engineered to suit the needs of its people, such as engineered food with specific nutrition and food-group combinations. Moreover, we wish to foster discussions about maintaining sustainable food supply in less developed nations such as protecting farmers from climate change. This includes knowledge management and Big Data modeling of future scenarios, so we can always experience and enjoy food culture as we know it today.