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BIOTECHNICA 2013: Spotlight on the Food Industry


6/18/2013 10:16:05 AM

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Hannover, Germany. The Innovation in Food Marketplace is a new addition to the BIOTECHNICA show’s food biotechnology lineup. It takes a comprehensive look at the role of biotechnology in the production of safe, high-quality and ecologically sustainable food. The iFOOD Conference is also new.

There are a number of major challenges on the horizon for the food industry. Consumers tend to view the food industry with a mix of helplessness and unease – a situation not helped by recent food scandals – and are calling for tighter regulation and more transparency. But the same consumers also want year-round availability irrespective of crop seasonality, low prices and the convenience of high levels of processing. All of which adds up to something of a tightrope walk for the food industry. Food safety and year-round availability come at a price, as do convenience foods, which are often highly perishable. And then, of course, there are the challenges of increased consumer awareness of food allergies and growing consumer demand for sustainable and ecologically sound food. Clearly, the food industry is under immense pressure to find alternative methods of production.

These are issues of defining importance, and the BIOTECHNICA tradeshow has been tracking and examining them for several years. The show’s Innovation in Food Marketplace, for instance, includes seminars and lectures on the latest findings in food biotechnology R&D. It also features poster display areas where young researchers can profile their current work. The marketplace is aimed both at companies which make food-safety products and at companies which use them. It will look at ways in which the latest advances in biotechnology can help the food industry produce food that is natural and free of genetic modification, yet of high quality, safe and good to eat.

One of BIOTECHNICA’s main aims is to promote dialogue and improve consumer awareness and acceptance of the role of biotechnology in food. This aim will be pursued in a multitude of ways at this year’s fair. Companies will showcase products produced using biotechnology as well as biotech-based analytical solutions that yield dramatic increases in achievable levels of food safety. There have been a number of major advances in food safety in recent years, particularly in the area of food allergens. The good news for allergy suffers is that the latest test methods are now much more sensitive and are able to detect a greater range of new allergens. They also offer major benefits to food producers in that they are a much more affordable guarantee of food safety than conventional analysis methods.

The Innovation in Food Marketplace is supported by a symposium featuring tandem presentations on theory and practice. In each case, the latest research findings will be canvassed in one presentation, with various practical implementation examples outlined in the other. There will also be discussion on the role of biotechnology in a sustainable food chain by a panel of senior delegates from government, science, consumer protection organizations and the food industry. The panel discussion will also address the issue of what needs to be done in order to boost consumer acceptance of biotechnology in food.

Another newcomer to the BIOTECHNICA program is the iFOOD Conference, which is a platform for dialogue between the research community and the food industry. The Conference is organized by the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL) and the European Federation of Food Science & Technology (EFFoST). The main focus this year will be on recent developments in food processing, such as food preservation methods and solutions for improving food quality and food production efficiency. The Conference will also explore ways in which new technology can help facilitate the transition from our current petroleum-based economy to a bio-based economy.

For the visitors and attendees of its exhibits, special presentations and conferences, BIOTECHNICA 2013 is an opportunity to track leading-edge innovations as they transition from the lab to commercial implementation and to discuss problems and brainstorm new ideas with industry peers.

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