Estimates by the World Resources Institute suggest we need to increase food production by 56% from 2010 levels to feed nearly 10 billion people on the planet by 2050. Considering the world’s limited natural resources and the effects of climate change, achieving this sustainably is a massive challenge for current AgriFood systems.
Food is complex. Food science is inherently multidisciplinary, involving the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, nutrition, and engineering. How can food science help ensure a supply of nutritious food to feed a growing world population? To find out, we spoke to Dr Hazel Khoo, Executive Director of Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI) and Michael Patane, Head of Innovation for Human Nutrition & Health at DSM Asia Pacific.
Khoo brought up how food science has helped solve big problems in the past. An example is powdered milk, which finds several uses — from infant formula to a food aid item in humanitarian missions, where transporting and storing milk might be infeasible.
Khoo and Patane both emphasised the importance of ecosystem building — bringing together diverse scientific and technological capabilities as well as different stakeholders. “We have to look at food as an ecosystem rather than its individual parts. It requires a multidisciplinary perspective to be able to deliver food that is safe, nutritious, and pleasurable to eat”, remarked Khoo.
Patane elaborated on how established companies can help startups in the AgriFood space succeed. “Startups have fantastic dedication and inspiration to solve big problems. However, they sometimes lack an understanding of the business scope, the ability to make financial projections and build business strategies,” he remarked. Patane also noted how DSM’s Bright Science Hub in Singapore aims to support innovators and startups — through collaborations with research institutions, venture capital firms, and regulatory agencies.
In the full interview below, we discussed many other aspects of food science, from new technologies and innovations to career advice for aspiring food science professionals:
If you prefer to listen to an audio-only version of these episodes, check out our podcast channel on Spotify here.
This article was first published here. The Digital Feed is an interview series created in collaboration with UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development in Singapore. This series will delve into the latest developments, trends, and insights in AgriTech and the food space.