November 8, 2019

FoodNext.Africa Explores the Future of Food


FoodNext.Africa Cape Town took place from 10-11 September 2019. An informative conference speaking to high profile food industry stakeholders and suppliers, it explored the future of the food and hospitality industry in depth.

Miles Kubheka, a foodruptor from the Wakanda Food Group opened the conference with a talk ‘What is the future of food innovation?’ A sunny personality, he played MC for the day, keeping spirits high. Topics discussed included why an African food ecosystem matters, how food companies are rethinking meat for the flexitarian consumer, the future of food waste, and food safety going wrong, the highs and lows of scaling a food start-up, the future of snacking, personified nutrition and cannabis as a functional ingredient – to name just a few.

The Future of Snacking

Snacking is loved by all, whether it’s a small nibble in the office or visiting the fridge at midnight. But what does the future of snacking look like? This was discussed by a panel featuring Peter Daniel, Director of Superfoods; Christina Costa, Product Development Manager for Snacking and Gifting, Wine, Beverage and Juice at Woolworths Foods; Leigh-Ann Silber, Registered Dietician at Nutritics, and Nicole Lau, Product Development and Innovation Executive at Crown Food Group.

Millennials and Gen Z were discussed in detail. These generations believe in everything being purpose-driven, and snacking is no different. They are looking for snacks that not only taste great, but are ethically produced as well. Snacks that promote environmental, animal and personal health are the future. They are focussed on moderating their consumption instead of avoiding snacks completely, and this is an important aspect for the food industry to take note of. It is a growing trend promoting mindful and intuitive eating.

Also worth considering is the snacking gap between local (low-income) communities and corporate environments.Most companies promote a healthy lifestyle, but what about communities where this is a privilege? Rural areas don’t have access to healthy snacks because of their pricing, and this contributes to the growing issue of obesity in South Africa. The food industry has to be honest, it must live what it markets, it must be transparent about its ingredients in terms of packaging, the panel concluded.

Cannabis: The New Functional Ingredient

SA Chef moderated this talk, with panellists Eric Labuschagne, MD of Yummichef; Paul Simon, Founder and CEO of Uber Flavour; Grant Mompie, Director of Plant Inc.; Boris Blatnik, CEO of KannaSwiss AG; and Moulana Muhammed Saeed Navlakhi, Theological Director of the SA National Halaal Authority.

It was a rousing discussion exploring what the recent law passed legalising CBD in South Africa, and what exactly this means for the food industry. Also covered were flavour profiles of cannabis, the extraction processes, and, of course, if it is indeed an ingredient that fits into the health food product segment. The jury is still out on this one, but cannabis, it seems, is here to stay – so industry stakeholders can either jump in and explore this food trend’s potential or pass on it until definitive results are found in the numerous international clinical trials currently underway.

More information on FoodNext.Africa can be found on www.foodnextlive.com.

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