The triple threat facing our food system: Inside the IFST Spring Conference 2023

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food security Sustainability Technology Health Nutrition Automation

Hear from speakers and exhibitors of the IFST Spring Conference in this video, as they discuss the importance of this year’s themes of food security, health and nutrition, and the environment - and some of the solutions which could help.

The IFST Spring Conference examined three key challenges affecting the food and drink environment. Here, Food Manufacture hears from a range of experts who spoke and exhibited at the show.

During his speech, Dr Wayne Martindale, IFST’s honorary secretary and associate professor of food insights and sustainability at the University of Lincoln, raised the important work he and others were doing in assessing variants influencing sustainability​ and resource – a project called S3. The notable attribute of this work is that it not only looked at resource flows in real-time but also the human influence.

“This is all-too often left out of sustainability or security assessment,”​ he explained. “The one thing that always messes up carbon footprinting is us. We do strange things, we do chaotic things and we practice things in different ways.”

Meanwhile the conference chair, Barbara Bray, a consultant specialising in food safety and health, told Food Manufacture about the importance of understanding how to manage the “continuous change”.

The themes of the conference are important, Bray noted, because we need to be confident in our ability to cope with the triple burden of malnutrition, food access and insecurity.

“We want to make sure we are using all the technical tools we have in place and making sure we have the right people who are trained in the right way, so we can be successful in overcoming these challenges,” ​she explained.

Commenting on the themes as a solutions provider, Foods Connected’s Ian Collins, flagged the ways in which software could help address these challenges. He used the environment as a key example, explaining that such technology​ could be used to collect data on metrics such as recyclability, carbon footprint or energy usage to make meaningful change.

Fellow exhibitor, Richa Bedi-Navik, senior global standards manager at BRCGS, talked Food Manufacture through the way in which its standards related to the themes. “Primarily we’re focused on food security, but that interlinks with the environment and climate impact.”

Indeed, as many of the conference speakers and exhibitors referenced throughout the day – although the themes of food security​, health and nutrition​, and the environment are independent and come with their own challenges, they are also intertwined and if one is left to suffer, the others cannot succeed.

Read our full breakdown of the IFST Spring Conference here​.

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