How will we feed ourselves as the world's population increases? What new protein sources can we use in view of the intensifying competition for agricultural land? Can, in the future, a health-promoting diet be realized with responsible consumption styles and production processes? Answers and solutions to these and other currently discussed questions about the nutrition of tomorrow are being researched in the innovation space NewFoodSystems.
NewFoodSystems is one of four innovation spaces in the "Bioeconomy Innovation Spaces" program, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the "National Research Strategy Bioeconomy 2030". The official start date for the initial five-year funding phase, in which up to 20 million euros in funding will be made available, was Dec. 1, 2019.
The basic idea behind the innovation space is that partners from research and industry are brought together and constantly generate new project ideas that can then be implemented promptly as part of funded projects. The innovation space is coordinated by the Max Rubner Institute (MRI) in close cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV). Currently, more than 50 partners from science and industry have joined the transdisciplinary consortium and have contractually committed themselves to a joint innovation alliance.
The goal of NewFoodSystems is to find new approaches for the nutrition of tomorrow. The innovation space provides the framework for research and development of market-ready novel production methods and cultivation processes for a more sustainable production of food with high demands on its safety and quality. Particularly noteworthy is NewFoodSystem’s holistic assessment approach for products and processes in the respective legal framework, which covers quality and safety, consumer acceptance, economic viability, marketability and ecological sustainability aspects.
The Bioeconomy innovation spaces are designed to create environments conducive to innovation, within which research and development projects for marketable solutions are carried out. In this context, NewFoodSystems serves the three innovation fields "Controlled Environment Cultivation (CEC)", "New Food and Feed Ingredients", and "Resource Efficient Energy and Material Flow Management in System Integration". Initial projects on sustainable protein ingredients, indoor and vertical farming, insects and microalgae are already in progress or underway. In order to transfer research results quickly in the markets, they are tested for their usability within an innovation hub and project processes for exploitation are optimized. Marketable ideas are identified and, in the future, evaluated together with experts from the start-up scene and industry partners with regard to their economic potential and transferred to the market via new start-ups or established companies. In the process, a wide variety of measures in the three action areas of "innovation management and technology transfer," "public relations and stakeholder dialog," and "open labs" ensure the effectiveness and the claim to sustainability aspects of the innovation space.
In the view of the Bioeconomy Council of the Federal Government, food, nutrition and health are particularly suitable for bringing the topic of the bioeconomy into society. To this end, the Innovation Space seeks discourse with social groups in a variety of ways in order to provide consumers with knowledge and understanding of alternative systems for future food production. For example, the Deutsches Museum, with its new location in Nuremberg, has worked with NewFoodSystems to develop two exhibition stations for this purpose, which will act as a hook for visitor research and provide a discussion space. In addition, a NewFoodSystems Day is planned for the fall of 2022 at the Deutsches Museum in Nuremberg, where a diverse program will provide the public with insights into the topics of the innovation space in a variety of ways. NewFoodSystems thus concretely seeks dialog with the public and wants to contribute to overcoming acceptance barriers with regard to innovative and novel foods and production systems in the future.
Website of the Innovation space NewFoodSystems