On each episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast we dive deeper into the unanswered questions shaping the food and drink landscape. Expect to hear from industry leaders, influencers and innovators on the ground driving the change each and every day.
Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by tagging us @foodmatterslive or keep up to date with the podcast on https://www.foodmatterslive.com.
Is it time for environmental impact scores on food?
How much do consumers want to know about the environmental impact of the food products they buy?
There's no doubt that environmental issues are increasingly on the minds of shoppers, but it can be difficult to know if what you're buying is "good" or "bad" for the planet.
With that in mind, Foundation Earth is trying to establish a simple front-of-pack grading system that offers answers at a glance, whilst also providing the opportunity for further reading through a QR code.
The United Nations estimates that the food system accounts for more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emission, a sobering thought.
But the environmental impact of a food product goes well beyond just how much carbon is pumped into the atmosphere.
Foundation Earth says we need to be looking much more broadly at things like land use, water pollution, and biodiversity.
And it's no use just looking at how production impacts the environment without considering transport, how the product is cooked, and how waste packaging is disposed of.
In short, it is very difficult to calculate the environmental impact of a food product. But, it is not impossible.
Listen to this episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast to hear how Foundation Earth is working with industry to try to get data that is as accurate as possible, is trying to find the right balance between providing too much information and not enough, and why the vegan option might not always be the best option for the planet.
Cliona Howie, Chief Executive Director, Foundation Earth
Cliona has broad background in the environmental sector and has worked as an environmental specialist for over 23 years.
She has chaired the European Commission’s Enterprise Europe Network Environment Sector Group, driving the uptake of resource efficiency and circular economy solutions for SMEs across Europe, and has collaborated as an expert with the European Commission on advancing the circular economy, climate policy and innovation agenda.
She has worked across Europe with national and regional public authorities to design, develop and deliver large scale, multi-sectorial plans for decarbonisation and transition to a low-carbon, circular economy for industrial value chains.
Career Conversations: 'The humbling experience that led me to OLIO'
"It was a very humbling experience, with many learnings that I still treasure."
That's how Alberto Lo Bue, Managing Director at the food waste app, OLIO, describes an attempt earlier in his career to launch his own start-up.
"It's not enough to do something just because you want to do it," he tells Elisa Roche in the latest episode of the Career Conversations podcast series. "You can do a much better job if you care deeply about the mission and the cause."
Alberto's career has seen him work for some of the biggest players in the tech sector.
He started life in southern Italy, but moved to the north of the country and eventually the UK to complete his studies.
After doing a degree in management and economics, his first job was working with a start-up incubator in Berlin. He describes his role as helping new companies solve their biggest issues.
Next up was Foodpanda, an online food and grocery delivery programme which is massive in Asia and many other parts of the world. "That was my 'in' into the food tech world," he says.
After launching his own start-up, an app that found products in local independent stores, he landed a job at Deliveroo, helping to launch its B2B function, 'Deliveroo for Work'.
Alberto says of his experience at Deliveroo: "I was very very lucky and privileged to see it grow to hundreds-of-millions in revenue, and thousands of clients."
But the move to OLIO was where he found his true home.
The app connects neighbours with each other and businesses with volunteers so that surplus food is given away instead of thrown away.
His says his role as Managing Director is massively varied, taking in sales, business development, account management, marketing and all sorts.
Listen to the full episode to find out what makes an ideal OLIO employee (they're recruiting!), why he loves working for the company, and why he thinks the food industry in general is a fantastic place to have a career.
Alberto Lo Bue, Managing Director, OLIO
Alberto is the Managing Director of the food waste hero programme at OLIO, a free app tackling the problem of food waste by connecting neighbours with each other, and volunteers with local businesses, so that surplus food can be given away, not thrown away.
OLIO has grown to five million users in just over five years, and its impact has been widely recognised, most notably by the United Nations which highlighted OLIO as a "beacon” for the world, and by Vivatech who awarded OLIO "Next European Unicorn".
Prior to OLIO, Alberto led Deliveroo for Work, the B2B arm of Deliveroo, and founded Papem, an online marketplace to find products in stock in local stores.
He also spent time at Foodpanda in its early days and Rocket Internet throughout its IPO.
He is from Sicily and loves local, seasonal food! He is on the advisory board of Slow Food in the UK.
How to make your food business more sustainable
Sustainability is at the top of the agenda for many consumers and businesses in the food sector, but how do you make your hospitality business more sustainable without breaking the bank?
There's no doubt that consumers are more aware than ever of climate change, and in some cases are willing to pay more for the planet-friendly choice.
But sustainability works on many levels, it's not just about your carbon footprint, and highlighting your environmental credentials can be tricky.
And it must not be forgotten that for many, a more expensive choice simply isn't an option.
In this episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast, we look at how hospitality businesses can be more sustainable and how doing so could even help to bring their costs down.
Join our Masterclass: How to integrate sustainability into your foodservice business
The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is helping businesses in this area and says, when it comes to sustainability, a 360-degree approach is needed.
Companies need to think about the impact on the environment of sourcing the food they serve, the energy and water they use, and the waste they produce.
But the SRA also says they should be thinking about their social impact as well, sustainability means treating people well, paying them well and having a diverse workforce.
Listen to the full episode to learn about the huge impact the hospitality sector has on the environment, how simple changes can reduce a restaurant's carbon footprint as well as bringing down costs, and why cutting back on the volume of some products can benefit both the environment and the quality of what ends up on the plate.
Juliane Caillouette Noble, Managing Director, the Sustainable Restaurant Association
Juliane Caillouette Noble joined the Sustainable Restaurant Association as Development Director in 2016 after five years of running Jamie Oliver’s programmes for improving school food and food education across the UK.
The SRA is committed to accelerating change toward an environmentally restorative and socially progressive hospitality sector around the world.
As Development Director, Juliane’s role included designing and developing strategic partnerships and campaigns, ensuring that the impact and influence of the SRA grows along with the size of our network.
Juliane became the Managing Director of the SRA in January 2021 and is focused on growing the impact of the SRA around the world.
What might the future hold for personalised nutrition?
There's no doubt that the personalised nutrition market is growing, and fast.
Forecasts suggest the sector could be worth anything between $15bn and $25bn within the next five years.
And it seems to be everywhere you look, with a wealth of apps, advisors, and new companies entering the market.
But it’s an area that’s pushing the boundaries of science and medicine.
In this episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast, we take stock and ask: Where are we at with personalised nutrition?
What does the science say? Just how optimistic, or cautious, should we be about how effective this approach is? And what’s driving the growth in the sector?
Technology is certainly helping the sector to grow, but does the future of personalised nutrition lay online or face-to-face consultations?
Is there much difference, both in quality of advice and outcomes, between visiting a trained professional and using a data-driven app?
Personalisation could be as simple as following a vegan diet, but it can be as complex as reversing diabetes, or lowering your cholesterol. And the future potential appears to be almost endless.
But with so many apps fighting for your attention, how do you determine which are offering evidence-based advice, and those looking to make a quick buck?
Listen to the full episode as we look at what the future might for personalised nutrition. Could it be a game-changer in the developing world? Could it solve the obesity crisis?
Dr Suzan Wopereis, Principal Scientist, TNO
Dr Wopereis, principal scientist, joined TNO in 2006 and works with a systems biology research group active on the theme ‘quantification of health and effects of lifestyle on health’, acting as principal investigator in several public private partnerships, as well as on international research programmes focusing on systems health applying genomics technology, bioinformatics, and standardized infrastructures focusing on systems health.
Moreover, she is responsible for scientific contents in the TNO programme on personalised health, focusing on inflammatory resilience.
In her 16 years of research at TNO, her main focus has been on phenotypic flexibility as a measure of health, where she uses standardised challenge tests to study the response of a multitude of biological processes to quantify resilience in health optimization and chronic lifestyle related diseases such as Diabetes Mellitus type II.
Mariette Abrahams, CEO & Founder, QINA
Mariëtte Abrahams is the CEO and founder of Qina, a platform that helps companies connect and innovate in personalised nutrition.
Qina bridges the gap between science and solutions to make nutritious food accessible to all by providing market intelligence, research and innovation services via a global network of domain experts.
Career Conversations: Creating new products for Asda
"I never knew that my job existed," says April Dear, Senior Product and Packaging Development Manager for Asda. "That's why I'm really passionate about letting younger people know about all the different paths that are out there."
In this episode of the Career Conversations series, we learn all about April's role at one of the UK's biggest supermarkets.
Her job means she is responsible for a large team of product development managers, covering meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, and frozen foods.
That means coming up with ideas for new products from scratch, doing market research, then taking them from the drawing board to the supermarket shelves.
It's no mean feat and can take many months, and thousands of man-hours before a product is ready to be sold.
April says her career began in the kitchen, where she was a successful chef: "I started working in kitchens when I was 13, just doing pots. And I worked in kitchens the whole time I was a teen.
"Then I had my daughter when I was 19, and I continued to work in kitchens, but obviously as a single mum with a baby, it didn't really work out."
April decided she needed a 9-5 job and so she decided to go to the University of Brighton and study Food and Culinary Arts.
She says, it opened her eyes to the world of a career in food: "There are also so many roles where you can test it out and figure out which part you do like.
"You could love food but the bit that really sets you on fire is how you make it safe. Or you could love food but the bit that really sets you on fire is how to make tonnes and tonnes of it."
Listen to the full episode to find out why April was named Meat Business Women's One to Watch, how working in kitchens set her up for spending some of her time in her current role on the factory floor, and the important role a foot-long pig in blanket has played in her career.
April Dear, Senior Product and Packaging Development Manager, Asda
Prior to beginning her role at Asda, April built on her love for food from a young age training as a professional chef working in an array of kitchens from Michelin star restaurant’s to running festival kitchens at Glastonbury.
Ten years later to accommodate a more family-friendly work-life balance after having her daughter, April gained her degree in Food and Culinary arts before starting her journey in the meat industry.
Kicking off as a commercial graduate, April’s flair for creating products progressed into an New Product Development (NPD) role at pace across product area’s including sausages, beef and ready-to-cook developing products as part of ABP for Asda and the discounters predominantly.
From there April joined Cranswick in the cooked meats convenience division leading the NPD team with first-to-market innovation for M&S and Sainsburys, it is here April won the Meat Business Women award and has been fully supported by her Cranswick family in launching, ‘Feed Your Future’ a school enterprise programme in partnership with MBW.
The project’s aim is to demonstrate the breadth of opportunity available to young people in the food industry through a mentored product development programme resulting in the opportunity to launch into a retailer.
Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed - from MasterChef winner to NHS campaigner
Dr Saliha Mahmood-Ahmed's career has taken her in all sorts of different directions.
She is a junior doctor working in the NHS, an author, and of course she won MasterChef in 2017.
But her passion for good food doesn't stop there, Saliha co-founded the No Hungry NHS Staff campaign.
It's about making sure NHS staff have access to hot, affordable, nutritious food - whatever time of the day or night they are working.
In this episode of the Food Matters Live Podcast, Saliha says she sees the impact bad diet has on people's health every day in her NHS work.
That's mainly in patients (she specialises in digestive disorders), but also the short-term impact of staff going hungry or being forced to eat poorly.
She's also keen that, when it comes to diet-related health outcomes, prevention should be given more prominence.
Saliha believes as much attention should be paid to what people eat in the years before they become ill, as the medicine they are given once a problem emerges.
Listen to the full episode to hear her views on nutrition as medicine, why she's celebrating what she calls a "new age of curry", and how winning MasterCher in 2017 changed her life - it involves pyjamas and slippers!
Dr Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, chef, author, campaigner
Saliha is a junior doctor working in the NHS. She graduated from Kings College London in 2012. Starting her career at St Mary’s Hospital, she has subsequently worked in Hillingdon Hospital and Watford General Hospital.
She is training to specialise in Gastroenterology, focussing her energies on the treatment of Digestive disorders. She is a member of the Royal College of Physicians, having completed her postgraduate exams.
Saliha won MasterChef in 2017, facing off competition from 63 other determined contestants, through seven gruelling weeks of culinary challenges and an exhilarating final cook-off.
Saliha has published two books. Khazana: An Indo-Persian cookbook with recipes inspired by the Mughals and Foodology: A food-lover's guide to digestive health and happiness.
Great insights from the food industry
Great podcast, offering a wide breadth of insights into the food industry.
Making Data Sexy
Great episode on product data with brilliant panel. Loved Dan Sands- “it’s all about trust”! So true! Would like to see him become a regular guest.