Sustainability By Clara Lu — Date 09.27.2018

Food for thought: A panel discussion on sustainability in the food & beverage industry

Food, an essential aspect of life, also forms an important part of our cultural identity and economy.

Besides acknowledging the effect it has on our health, it is also paramount to examine how food production and consumption is affecting our society, environment, and resources.

The enormous effort to satisfy big appetites across the globe creates significant environmental impacts, from pumping millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the air and fertilizers leaching into our water supplies, to overfishing, massive die-offs of bees from pesticides, and habitat loss. We make the wild biodiversity much more fragile with our insatiable demand for food.

Food production is currently responsible for one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a main user of the world’s water resources – 70% of water used by humans is for crop cultivation. Vast areas of tropical forest are also used for agriculture, which is the single largest driver of biodiversity loss. And on top of all of that, one third of the food produced globally is not eaten; it is wasted.

Globally, food production is exceeding environmental limits or is close to doing so. It’s time for us to question the long-term sustainability of the current trends in the production and consumption of food.

When it comes to food, sustainability encompasses the following: security, sustainable farming practices, low environmental impact, upholdance of animal welfare, protection of public health, good employment practices, and more. It is a collaborative network that integrates several components in order to enhance a community’s environmental, economic, and social wellbeing.

Increasingly, businesses from farms to retailers are under pressure to reduce the environmental and social impact of growing produce and providing food. We need to change our food system, what to eat and how to produce it. We need to change our production-consumption system, to break away from current take-make-waste consumption patterns.

However, the food industry is extremely complex, with many decision-makers and actors involved. It comes down to the attitudes, behaviors, and decisions of food producers and consumers to drive the sustainable food movement – to maximize performance and growth of a sustainable food model.

The good news is that coalitions of stakeholders are now coming together to try to transform the food system with one common goal: how to produce enough healthy food for everyone, and at the same time, to try to cut, to sharply reduce, the footprint from the food system on the environment.

At Mitte, we dedicate ourselves to the sustainable food movement by impacting a change regarding the way people drink water at home. We understand that this topic goes beyond water and the elimination of plastic bottles, which is why we’d like to further examine the convergence of sustainability and food.

With the intention of exploring the impact that sustainability has on the food industry, we are hosting Food for Thought: A panel discussion on sustainability in the food & beverage (F&B) industry on 17 October 2018 in Berlin.

The sustainable food movement has made its mark on the Berlin startup scene with companies striving to meet the consumer demand for sustainable, responsible, and efficient food. We believe the F&B industries can play a strong role in improving the condition of our planet by implementing a more sustainable approach. From eliminating food waste to incorporating fascinating renewable raw materials, companies are altering what they produce for consumers, shaping the future of the industry for the better.

Food for Thought brings together a handful of local entrepreneurs who are leading the charge in transforming Berlin’s F&B sector by building scalable and sustainable businesses. We will explore topics close to our heart, demonstrating that there is an economic case for protecting the planet.

The panel, moderated by Jewell Sparks, CEO of BiTHOUSE GROUP and Chairwoman of Food and FoodTech Platform Deutsche Startups includes representation from the following local sustainable F&B startups:

Mr. Julian Lechner, Founder of Kaffeeform

Julian Lechner is the Founder and CEO of Kaffeeform, a Berlin-based company that recycles coffee grounds into renewable raw material for completely new products. They collect coffee grounds from local coffee shops and turn them into sustainable and eco-friendly coffee cups.

Dr. Sebastian Stricker, Founder of share

Dr. Sebastian Stricker is the Founder and CEO of ShareTheMeal and share. The former, a meal-sharing app, has been downloaded over a million times and distributed more than 20 million daily food rations to children in need. The latter is a consumer goods brand based on the 1 + 1 principle. Each product sold supplied food and soap for people in need around the world.

Mr. Moritz Waldstein, Co-Founder of Mitte

In 2010, Moritz co-founded Coffee Circle, a local business and market leader for the online distribution of coffee in DACH markets. In 2016, Moritz started Mitte with a vision to improve lives with better water, bringing not just pure, but mineralized water to everyone. Mitte is the first of its kind smart water system that harnesses the power of the natural water cycle.

These entrepreneurs and community activists will share authentic stories behind their brands; covering insights, challenges, and learning points on how to not just grow, but also thrive in this innovative and interconnected space. We will explore the future of good, sustainable food in Europe, what consumers’ responsibilities are for going green, and set an agenda for future action.

All this is taking place at Hermann’s, an all-day restaurant, test kitchen, and playground to experiment with, reinvent, and explore the future of food. It’s located near Rosenthaler Platz in the heart of Berlin, and provides a creative space for us to meet and get inspired.

Join us at #FoodforThoughtBerlin, RSVP here.

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