Day Three of Global Table
A brave new world of eating insects, personalised foods for your diet and finding hundreds of new uses for plants was on show at Global Table’s third and final day. Shama Sukul Lee of New Zealand plant-based protein startup Sunfed, delivered the day’s keynote, highlighting the risks to the environment if global meat consumption continues to rise.
If alternative protein is the food trend of 2019, then it was a fitting place to start the third day of Global Table, focused on the future and innovation..
“Animals are inefficient manufacturers of protein,” said Lee, Sunfed’s founder and CEO, who trained as a software engineer.
“This system is the very definition of unsustainable.”
Sunfed launched its chicken-less chicken in 2017 and the product made its Australian debut in June.
Highlighting biosecurity risks, such as avian flu, rising levels of demand from developing countries, and the significant inputs needed to create safe, healthy and nutritious meat, Lee made her case for a future where plant proteins are the first choice for more people.
“It will keep getting better as we continuously innovate, which you cannot do with an animal,” she said.
Facing some tough questions from Master of Ceremonies, Pip Courtney, presenter of ABC’s Landline, Lee conceded that there would always be a place for chicken farming and livestock, but argued that meat-free alternatives relieved pressure on an already-strained industry.
“All we’re trying to do is create options and choices – real choices.”
A record 3,037 attendees streamed into Melbourne Showgrounds for Global Table between Tuesday and Thursday, making it the largest food innovation and agribusiness event in Australia.
Food businesses keen to prepare for the future attended a one-off Coles Meet the Team session, where staff from the major retailer spoke about consumer trends, Coles’ own focus on sustainability and health, and what their buyers are looking for in food products. Later in the day, a select group had the chance to pitch their business to Coles team members one-on-one. The session was organised by Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL).
The rest of the day’s conference program was a smorgasbord of cutting-edge ideas and technology, some of it yet to be developed. Robotics in retail, restaurant menus tailored to your likes and dislikes, and food products made from insects were discussed and debated, while panels on agritourism, personalised nutrition, and the many applications of hemp offered up dozens of new ideas.
The future prospects of medicinal cannabis in Australia were discussed by a seven-person panel with expertise in Canada and Australia, with La Trobe University’s newly funded research hub for medicinal agriculture leading the discussion. Medicinal cannabis is a US$20-billion-dollar industry that’s still in its infancy in Australia, but the panel of startups and regulators were evidence of its future potential.
The intimate Fireside Chats at the Global Victoria stand continued on Day Three, with speakers including Brigitte Wolf of Mondelez International, Cam Battley of Aurora Cannabis and Dr Peter Crock of Cann Group Limited sitting down to talk about the changing health and wellness space.
Throughout the day, Teenovators took to the stage to open every conference session, delivering messages around reducing plastic consumption, protecting bee populations and more. At the end of the day, a select group of Teenovators gathered in The Arena to tell delegates why the Sustainable Development Goals mattered to them.
The conference officially closed with the presentation of awards to 12 standout innovations and ideas on show at the event. See the full list of winners below.
Among all of the seemingly futuristic discussions and ideas of the day, it was Shama Sukul Lee’s words that grounded it all.
“If there are no choices, you’re stuck in the same rut and you pass that down to future generations.”
The event continues around Victoria tomorrow with site visits to innovative food and agriculture businesses.
Global Table will return to Melbourne in September 2020. Sign up for the latest news.
Watch our wrap-up video and all the highlights of day three and make sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel for more content and updates in the following weeks
2019 Pitch Competition Winners
Deloitte Foodtech Accelerator Pitch Competition
Innovation in Foods to Watch, presented by Beanstalk in Partnership with Food Innovation Network
2019 Award Winners
Educating Our Future and Empowering Generations Award presented by La Trobe University
Unlocking Value Of Artificial Intelligence In The Food System, presented by Alibaba
Sustainable Supply Chain Solution Award, presented by Lavazza
Innovating Health Through Diet, presented by Swisse Wellness
Building A Sustainable Future Award, presented by UN Global Compact
Future Food Award presented by Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL)
Seeds&Chips Visionary Award, presented by Seeds&Chips
Hungry Planet Intelligence
Feeding Our Future Award, presented by Global Table