Disruption in Food & Sustainability Summit 2018 - Highlights

Singapore is gearing to set the lead in APAC for food disruption

· Sustainability,plant-based protein,social impact,Disruption,Shared Value

With a rise in affluence in South-East Asia and the public desire to be more healthy, Disruption in Food & Sustainability Summit (DFSS) provides a perfect opportunity for Australian food businesses to connect with the industry leaders in Singapore. This is a stepping stone to the 650 Million people in South East Asia.

The DFSS was held in June 2018. Per the previous blog, topics included all areas of the food supply chain and behaviour change. The overall theme is being asked by many government bodies and the UN in general. While the reference was largely related to Singapore, these facts can be applied to all high GDP nations.

Worldwide Dilemma - how do we feed 9 to 10 billion people well, by 2050?

While all the presentations offered great insight, I’ve summarised the top five highlights for our audience.

  •  Virginia Cha from Platform E –an entrepreneurship program and incubator/accelerator shared the gaps in the market and Singapore Gov’t initiatives.
  • Dr Susianto – The public myths around iron, protein, omegas and lifestyle diseases.
  • Andy Kusumo (Quorn) – The alternative to meat and plant-based protein.
  • Kerry Anne Shanks (Bow Leaf) - Urban Food Farming – How we can grow the majority of our food in urban locations.
  • CK Vishwasharma  - Internet of Things (IoT) and Food Waste – As nation rises the GDP ladder, the food waste also increases. IoT may be one answer.
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Virginia Cha - Platform E

Can we feed 9 to 10 Billion people with the current patterns of food consumption?

The answer is a resounding no.

So Singapore is looking at the different approaches to bring about change:

  • Production
  • Food Choices – What do people want
  • Good Food – Healthy food delivered to them.

Singapore imports 90% of its food supply. In Australia, while we export 65% of the food we produce, we still import $16.8 Billion or approximately 50% of the grocery budget.

These issues highlighted in Singapore are universal, as written by Bill Bellotti from the University of Queensland.

A greater study of Australian food imports can be visualised in this interactive world map, by category.

There are plenty of opportunities across the global food supply chain as seen in the following diagram.

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The food innovation addressed 3 dimensions:

  • Food Stand ( Deliveroo, Marley Spoon, Amazon Prime in the USA, Precision Nutrition, Pre-order and delivery, E-commerce)
  • Food Science ( Mineral enhanced Foods, personalised Foods, Health and Wellness, Protein Alternatives)
  • Food Source & Waste (Food Waste Management, Agtech)

While the Food Stand area is thriving, the Food Science and the Food Source areas offer a lot of opportunity for startup businesses. The Singapore Government is encouraging startups in this space.

Dr Susianto PhD - Nutritionist - Public myths around iron, protein and lifestyle diseases

Dr Susianto from Indonesia shared the benefits of the plant-based diets for the overall health of a nation. Like many high GDP nations, Singapore is plagued by the high diabetes rate in the country. Singapore has the second highest in the OECD nations. So the government is taking active steps with primary prevention.

The usual questions were covered about plant-based protein, Iron, Calcium and Omega 6s and 3s in food. Also the nutrition of Tempe vs meat.

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You'll notice on the slide above, the risk of diabetes on a fully plant-based diet decreases significantly versus the control group.

Dr Susianto concluded by sharing a slide from the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine in the USA – The Precautionary Principle to Nutrition and Cancer below.

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Andy Kusumo PhD - the Director of Science and Technology at Monde Nissin - The alternative to meat and plant-based protein.

Most are now aware of plant-based protein and animal protein. Many don’t know the 3rd protein source - our humble mushrooms!

Andy shared the history of Quorn the Mycoprotein as well as the need to move away from meat-based protein due to the devastating environmental impact.

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Kerry Anne Shanks (Bow Leaf) - Urban Food Farming

Did you know the largest food exporter in the European Union is the Netherlands. How does a tiny country with limited land mass become the largest exporting nation in the EU. The answer is thanks to greenhouses and urban farming.

They simply adopted a practice of ‘producing twice as much food with half as much resources’ and voila!

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5 - CK Vishwakarma – Internet of Things (IoT) & Food Waste

Food waste is a massive issue. As a nation’s GDP rises, the food waste increase. For example in Australia, it’s estimated that 30% of the groceries become waste.

If the world food waste was considered to be a country, then it would be the 3rd highest emitter of CO2 in the world after the US and China.

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This area needs a lot of work from public education to human centred design and innovation in bringing about the change in public behaviour.

There are two major approaches to deal with food waste:

a) Reduce Waste

The Internet of Things can be handy when our local garden and greenhouse can be monitored regularly via the phone. Sensors will update us on when the nutrients or water need topping up. Even the most optimal time to harvest the product.

Once a product is on the shelf, there could be tiny sensors attached to each batch. These will tell us the optimal time to eat the product before the food becomes rotten.

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b) Reuse Waste

Personal consumer food waste can be reduced by composting. There are many companies looking to create compost for the home, like Whirlpool.

Commercial Waste – this is the larger and easier more impactful change. Where commercial food waste is ‘saved’ before it goes bad. It was nice to see Australian Ozharvest being recognised at the world stage for the work they do. Let the War on Waste begin.


The Disruption on Food and Sustainability Summit brought industry thought leaders together and allowed dialogue between key industries along the supply food chain.

With the growing worldwide population and affluence, we are talking about the biggest shift in agriculture since industrialisation – so this is going to be a massive effort by governments, institutions, public and private bodies.

From what I’ve seen at this summit, there is hope!

I’ve been told the DFSS 2019 will focus more on plant-based foods. I’m looking forward to attending this summit again. I hope to see more Australian businesses be represented here in 2019.