F&A Next: start-ups and international companies meet on the way to more sustainable food systems

Published on
May 3, 2022

For the first time in two years, you can also join F&A Next offline. On 18 and 19 May, hundreds of tech companies and start-ups will exchange insights and explore opportunities for collaborative ventures at Wageningen Campus. The focus this year is on the transformation of global food system. How can companies and investors help to make these systems more sustainable?

F&A next is a joint initiative by the Rabobank, Wageningen University & Research, Anterra Capital and StartLife, which brings together companies, investors and start-ups from the agro-food sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumption patterns in a number of ways, and climate and sustainability have become vital to making food choices. As Wageningen University & Research emphasises in its research theme ‘Feeding the World’, sustainable food security calls for cooperation. How can innovators and investors accelerate the necessary radical changes?

The role of consumers in sustainability

At F&A Next, experts from the food tech industry will share their insights and thoughts, with a particular focus on innovative agriculture and the future of proteins, but also changing consumer preferences. “Retailers can play a crucial role in making food more sustainable both through their influence on producers and consumers”, says Koen Boone of Wageningen Economic Research. He is Managing Director Europe of the Sustainability Consortium, started by the multinational retail company, Walmart.

During F&A Next, he will participate in the panel on the role of consumers in food sustainability. Owing to the pandemic and lockdowns, a lot of consumers had their groceries delivered and many switched to meal boxes. It was necessary for companies to digitise. Together with other experts, Boone will discuss how consumers can be motivated to choose more sustainable options and what the future of supermarkets is.

Investments in new food technology

Innovative start-ups will present their ideas as the “Next Heroes in Food & Agtech”. Agfunder will also present its annual European investment report, the 2022 AgFunder AgriFoodTech Investment Report. The report shows that $51.7 billion will have been invested in new food technologies by 2021. Sectors that grew as a result of the pandemic have continued to do so, such as initiatives to automate online supermarkets. The ‘Innovative Food’ sector, which includes alternative protein developers, has also proven very profitable.