Drivers of sustainable innovations in food production

Germany has a highly competitive domestic food market that is dominated by 5 retail chains which consolidate more than 90% of its volume. More than 5000 food processing companies operating in this market have had to cope with this situation for decades. They have learned to optimize the supply chain and particularly the processing of ingredients by using innovative technology.

Ahead of his presentation at the IUFoST /GDL workshop on Healthy Foods Through New Food Processing Technologies at Health ingredients Europe 2018, we interviewed Dr. Volker Heinz, Managing Director DIL (Germany) to find out more about the key areas of development within the highly innovative German food processing industry.

Deutsches Institut für Lebensmitteltechnik, DIL, Director Dr. Volker Heinz © Joerg Sarbach

DIL aspires to be a driving force for food processing innovation. Can you briefly explain about the work you do to achieve this goal?

“DIL has three pillars: 1. Food safety and authenticity; 2. Food structure and functionality; 3. Sustainability and Digitalization.”

“Coming from a mostly engineering approach we learned in the last years that the food system cannot be fully understood without knowledge on socio-economic factors. Here is the intersection where relevant and sustainable innovations in food start.”

A lot of innovation within the F&B industry is coming out of Germany at the moment. Why is Germany so strong in F&B processing innovation? How does it compare to the rest of Europe?

“Germany is intensively connected to European and Overseas Agrifood markets. Import as well as export makes almost a third of its food processing and trade. The highly competitive domestic food market is dominated by 5 retail chains which consolidate more than 90 % of its volume. The more than 5000 food processing companies have had to cope with this situation for decades and learned to optimize the supply chain and particularly the processing schemes and created to a large extent highly automized factories. This development has been triggered by highly innovative food machinery companies and ingredients companies.”

Don’t miss the presentation on Process Development and New Raw Materials: Drivers of Sustainable Innovations in Food Production by Dr. Volker Heinz, Managing Director DIL (Germany)

This workshop will be held on 28th November 2018 at Health ingredients Europe 2018 from 10.30 – 13.00. Find out more here.

NOTE: To gain access to this workshop you must register for an Hi Europe visitors’ pass as well as buy a workshop ticket.

Free (until 17 November) ticket for Hi Europe 2018 required: Register here 

Ticket for the workshop: Register here

You will be giving an overview of drivers of sustainable innovations in food processing in your presentation at the IUFoST/GDL workshop. What is the potential of these technologies for F&B manufacturers? What are the main benefits or challenges?

“Apart from food safety as the over-arching principle of food manufacturing, both sustainability and authenticity, i.e. the prevention of food fraud are in the middle of a highly dynamic change that is happening in the food system. Particularly the environmental footprint of food products and processes has become the target of R&D activities and investments. A rising consumer awareness of these subjects is a challenging task but it also offers opportunities to make a difference in saturated markets.”

From a food processing perspective, what are your predictions for the next 3-5 years?

“Already for a while, we have been observing a tendency to more custom-made products. The logical consequence is to move the end production of food again back closer to the environment of the consumer. New technologies like 3D printing will play an essential role in this process mattress makers. There are still obstacles in this decentralization related to food safety and how to compensate the advantages of large scale production, but digitalization and cross-sector energy concepts will help to change the known landscape very fast.”

 

October 11, 2018