The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has announced the winner of a pan-European competition on the Food4Future call: EIT Food. EIT Food will build sustainable end-to-end food supply chains realized through transformative innovation and education initiatives, with a central role for the consumer. EIT Food has broad coverage in EU member states and associated countries and is a unique partnership of 50 leading companies, universities, and scientific partners covering the entire food value chain. With the consumers as change agents, each of them is committed to jointly transform the way in which we currently produce, distribute and consume our food. Over the next seven years, the partners will invest close to 1.2 billion euros matched with up to 400 million euros financed by the EIT.
As the future of food is high on the European Commission’s agenda, EIT Food will deliver cutting-edge European skills to rebuild a healthy and sustainable food system in Europe and beyond. The “knowledge triangle” of research, education and entrepreneurship will sharpen the global competitiveness of the European economy. Peter van Bladeren, Vice President Nestec, Global head Regulatory and Scientific Affairs for Nestlé and Chair of the Interim Supervisory Board of EIT Food: “EIT Food is committed to create the future curriculum for students and food professionals as a driving force for innovation and business creation; it will give the food manufacturing sector, which accounts for 44 million jobs in Europe, a unique competitive edge.”
EIT Food as Innovation community will become a consumer-driven innovation engine for all actors covering the food value chain. EIT Food will build a trusted food innovation ecosystem that supports consumers in their right to a healthy and more environmentally sustainable diet. Dr. Ellen de Brabander, Senior Vice President Global R&D Nutrition PepsiCo, and interim CEO of EIT Food: “By involving the consumer as change agents in all our activities, we will rebuild their trust in the food system. 60 percent of European consumers will achieve intake levels of positive nutrition including fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins by 2030 as well as reduce the levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat as recommended by WHO (World Health Organization) and European authorities. And we will cut food waste by 50 percent within ten years.”
EIT Food will organize international exchange programmes for students, and develop a unique interdisciplinary EIT labelled Food System M.Sc. for graduates. EIT Food will train thousands of students and food professionals via workshops, summer schools and online educational programmes like MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) and SPOCS (Specialized Private Online Courses).
EIT Food will set up four Innovation programmes targeting societal challenges:
- personalized healthy food (FoodConnects Assistant)
- the digitalization of the food system (The Web of Food)
- consumer-driven supply chain development and new technology adoption in farming, processing & retail (Your Fork2Farm)
- resource efficient processes, turning the food sector into the spearhead for transforming the currently linear “produce-use-dispose” model into a circular bio-economy (The Zero Waste Agenda)
“EIT Food will collaborate with adjacent sectors to accelerate the adoption of new technologies in the food production scene, while stimulating start-ups via dedicated coaching and investment programmes such as our unique innovation vehicle RisingFoodStars and the investment fund SeedInvest”, says Prof. Thomas Hofmann, Senior Vice President of the Technical University of Munich, who acted as the co-ordinator submitting the proposal.
This large-scale initiative headquartered in Belgium is leveraged by five so-called Co-Location Centres, which stimulate innovation, talent development and consumer involvement at the regional level. They are based in Leuven (Belgium, France, Switzerland), Munich (Germany, Netherlands), Reading (United Kingdom, Iceland, Ireland), Warsaw (Poland, Finland) and Madrid (Spain, Italy, Israel). EIT Food works with a large group of network partners and will be very active in Central and Eastern European countries, including Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia.
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Director Technology Development