12, 2020
5 min

Hosting 100 participants from 20 countries, GELITA once again invited attendees to discover new product developments, innovations and novel concepts at its biennial Food Symposium in October 2019. But, offering much more than just a conference, this inspiring and fun event served up a comprehensive mixture of high-quality presentations, an interactive program of varied activities and plenty of peer-to-peer networking.

In what was described as a professional and very pleasant atmosphere that was both relaxed and intimate, company spokespeople of GELITA addressed the audience on both days of the symposium, starting on day one with Suzane Leser, Director of the Nutrition Communication Business Unit, Health & Nutrition, who addressed the role that collagen peptides play in the growing market of sports nutrition.

Discussing some of the most pressing issues of our time and providing food for serious thought, the Zukunftsinstitut’s Daniel Anthes proposed that “individualisation and digitalisation are increasingly impacting the food industry” as individuals yearn for better health and wellbeing and drive the need for healthy snacks.

Equally as compelling, Dr Sebastian Schwark, Managing Director, Edelmann, discussed the world’s confidence crisis, explaining that trust in the media, politics and supplier companies is declining. By contrast, the influence of peer groups is becoming increasingly important. The take-home message? Most consumers don’t think that industry is equipped to feed the world’s future population! In addition, the potential effect of food production on the environment and people’s health is also a worry. Going forward, noted Dr Schwark: “Transparent communication from leaders within the industry will be key to regaining trust.”

In previous years, the GELITA Symposium has focused on interactivity and creativity … and 2019 was no different! Plus, adding a little competitive spirit to the event, participants took part in a nutrition quiz and were asked to adopt the role of product developer and create a dessert concept with collagen peptides — tailored to the needs of a fictional person.

After the day’s presentations and described by some as a highlight, the delegates were invited to tour the SAP Arena, home to the Mannheimer Adler Bundesliga ice hockey team. Enjoying exclusive, behind the scenes access to this modern, multifunctional hall, GELITA’s guests were given the rare opportunity to take to the ice themselves and participate in a private training session with some of the professional players. And with a variety of culinary treats on offer too, it was a truly memorable experience.

Day two was also opened by spokespeople of GELITA: First, Michael Teppner, Global Vice President, Marketing & Communication, reported on the market development of gelatin and collagen peptides. Dr Margarethe Plotkowiak, Head of Global Product Management Food, then encouraged current and future customers to integrate GELITA early on in the innovation process to make the best possible use of the often-underestimated potential of gelatin.

Richard Brown, Director of market research company, Gira, shone a spotlight on some of the challenges facing the industry, presenting detailed market research on finance and supply chain issues. He went on and reminded delegates about “one of the greatest challenges the global meat market has ever faced.” The African swine flu outbreak in China and other parts of Southeast Asia has certainly impacted many suppliers, including GELITA. “Although prices have risen significantly, the decisive message was that sufficient raw material is still available for the entire industry … and with our global network of suppliers, GELITA is well positioned to meet this challenge,” noted Thomas Muthny, Global VP of Material Management/Supply Chain.

And, looking towards a positive and fascinating future, Marius Robles, cofounder of Food By Robots/CEO and cofounder of Reimagine Food brought the symposium to a close by questioning the audience about how we’ll feed ourselves in ten, twenty or thirty years and what role digital technologies or even robots might play.

With impressive examples, Robles demonstrated that what was once considered to be science fiction is now, already, science fact! With food from 3D printers, vertical farming and steaks that are produced in space from stem cells already on the menu, Robles also illustrated his presentation with examples of coffee shops and pizzerias that are operated fully automatically by robots. So, if you’re looking for a well-organized event to attend that inspires, entertains and informs, don’t miss the 2021 edition. Or, for a more pharmaceutically focused experience, look out for our 2020 event, which will take place in the US. Contact us to find out more!

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