Have you ever realized that the food industry represents approximately 20% of the world economy, which equals to approximately 15 trillion US dollars in experienced annual food and beverage sales? Or did you know that the global music market is less than a third of the food market in Sweden only?

This is how Johan Jörgensen, founder of Sweden FoodTech, startled the audience at the beginning of our Northern Food and Tech event on the 1st of November. The food sector is huge and has an impact on all of us and our planet. It is also affected by major trends such as urbanization, growing population and climate change as well as continuously changing consumer needs.

At Fazer, we believe that there is a need and an opportunity in the food industry to search for more sustainable and socially significant solutions. And we believe this can be best achieved with cross-disciplinary collaboration. That is why in July, we sent out an open invitation to food tech influencers to join us in building the future innovation ecosystem in food and tech in the Northern European region.

Finally, on the 1st of November 90 people – representing corporations, start-ups, governmental organizations and research institutes from and around the food industry - gathered at Maria 01 to our Northern Food and Tech event for an engaging afternoon with the ambition to build the future of food in Northern Europe.

In addition to Johan Jörgensen’s presentation on the current challenges and future opportunities of the food system, Sitra’s researcher Timo Hämäläinen gave a keynote on the importance of ecosystems. The world is becoming more volatile, more uncertain and more complicated and navigating in this complexity demands organisations to adopt new strategies. The development of new business ecosystems through networking, collaborative partnerships and open innovation can be used as a strategy for reducing this complexity. These presentations guided and inspired event participants to workshops and discussions.

The event culminated in a panel discussion, in which experts pondered on how we could make Northern Europe the hotspot for food and food tech innovation. The discussion centred most importantly around data. Panelists agreed that the future of food will be increasingly data-driven and combining food and tech more actively can lead us all towards a healthier people and planet.

We want to thank all the participants, speakers, panelists and moderators for making the event such a powerful start for building the innovation ecosystem in the food industry here up North. Many new contacts were made and thanks to the event, we now have a long list of themes and ideas for areas where we can start working on together to create new growth opportunities and make the Northern European food industry even more competitive on a global scale.

Today and in the future, food and nutrition continue to be an important basic human need. The world will, though, surely look different 50 years from now, also when it comes to the food system. Without doubt, as the global population grows, the food industry needs to change, in order to feed 10 billion people sustainably in the future. As put by one of our panelists in the afternoon - we are currently living a defining moment in the food industry for making an impact and that is why we should act. We in Northern Europe have a great opportunity to make this change. And collaboration is the key.

Follow us at #futurefood #fazeropeninnovation

Päivi Juolahti
Head of Renewal
Fazer Group