Technion to host European Food Tech, innovation conference online

Three Israeli startups are expected to speak at the conference: Redefine Meat - a 3D meat printing technology, Amai Proteins - a new type of artificial sweetener and Solutum - a pioneer in packaging

Redefine Meat has produced the world's first 3D-printed plant-based steak (photo credit: Courtesy)
Redefine Meat has produced the world's first 3D-printed plant-based steak
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Food in the future could be quite different to that which we're used to today, according to the innovative start-ups due to assemble at 34th International Conference of the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST) this week. Among the Israeli startups scheduled to speak are a 3D printed meat, a new artificial sweetener, and smart food packaging.
This year the conference is hosted by the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa, marking the first time that the event is held under the leadership of an Israeli team of researchers. The event, to be held online on November 10-12, 2020, will explore the theme, “Bridging high-tech, food-tech and health: Consumer-oriented innovations” and will be attended by over 400 researchers, industry professionals and students.
The conference will discuss a broad variety of topics at the forefront of food, nutrition and sustainability science and technology.
Many of the world’s leading experts are expected to speak at the conference, as well as three Israeli startups: Redefine Meat, winner of the Technion’s EIT Food Accelerator Network Program in 2018, which has developed a proprietary 3D meat and meat substitute printing technology; Amai Proteins, which is working to create a new type of artificial sweetener; and Solutum, pioneers in breakthrough food packaging technology.
Day 1 of the conference will be broadcast live and will feature nine top experts from industry and the academic world, including speakers from the Technion, the US, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, as well as experts from Nestle (Switzerland) and the Good Food Institute (US). Day 2 and Day 3 will include 5 tracks of parallel sessions with over 90 pre-recorded lectures as well as live broadcasts of plenary speakers, plus Q&A.
Sessions will include lectures by world-class experts on a variety of topics, including eating habits, a balanced diet and processed foods (Prof. David Raubenheimer, Australia); smart food packaging, prevention of food contamination and shelf life extension (Prof. Esther Segal of the Technion); use of artificial intelligence in food product development (Prof. Christoph Hartmann, Switzerland); intelligent planning of decentralized food production and food personalization (Prof. Alejandro Marangoni, University of Guelph, Canada); science-based innovation in the food world (Prof. Julian McClements, University of Massachusetts, US); and nonthermal food processing (Prof. Indrawati Oey, University of Otago, New Zealand).
According to Conference Chair Prof. Uri Lesmes from the Technion's Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Engineering, “Population growth, the COVID-19 pandemic and growing awareness of human health and environmental quality have created new challenges for the food industry, and only through collaboration between industry and academia will we be able to devise innovative, creative science-backed robust solutions. This is precisely the goal of the conference – to share scientific and technological knowledge and forge partnerships that will enhance the food sector’s ability to deliver healthy, tasty and varied solutions that are aligned with environmental awareness and human diversity.”
Last year, EFFoST decided to hold the conference, for the first time since the conference's inception in 1986, in Israel, under the leadership of the Technion. However, due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19, it will be taking place online.
“These are difficult times, and certainly very challenging when it comes to holding international conferences, and it’s no wonder that this is one of the only prominent food conferences taking place these days,” Prof. Lesmes said. 
He explained the importance of holding such a conference during a pandemic, saying “Despite the numerous difficulties, we insisted not only on holding the conference, but also on the high level of our featured speakers and the many lectures. The current pandemic, which has led to product shortages and caused shoppers to raid the supermarket chains, has emphasized the importance of food in modern life and raised the need for efficient production, local production and a shift in the prevailing perceptions of supply chains in the food industry." 
"I am in no doubt that the EFFoST2020 Conference will lead to a better understanding of the challenges we face, and to the formulation of solutions that promote variety in the food world, the availability of products, and their impacts on our lifestyle, our health and the environment,” Prof. Lesmes concluded.