R&D is the engine room of all businesses, not just tech companies — playing an instrumental role in generating the ideas that will transform our food system in a way that can sustain both people and planet.
Creating a more sustainable food industry requires a sea change in current operating structures. The latest IPCC report underscores that immediate action is needed if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe by the end of this decade. With the food supply chain on course to overtake farming and land use as the largest contributor to greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the agri-food sector, there is an urgent need for transformational change.
I believe the role of technology in driving forward meaningful progress cannot be understated. Research & Development (R&D) holds the key to unlocking a sustainable world by replacing old practices with innovations that are better for people and the planet. Working with our industry-leading R&D, I have experienced first-hand the far-ranging impact of applying new thinking on redefining practices; and increasingly, these experts are rightly being celebrated as the pioneers of a more sustainable food future.
Of course, innovation within a single company is not enough. Addressing the enormous scale of the challenges facing the food industry today will require ambitious partnerships if the industry is to create a food system that meets the needs of a growing population, within planetary boundaries and resources.
To help accelerate these vital collaborations, Nomad Foods has launched an Open Innovation Portal that invites partners to share new solutions that can be scaled to help shape the future of food and support more sustainable diets.
One exciting area we are exploring is the increased use of bivalve proteins in everyday diets. Since 2021, my team has partnered with scientists David Willer, David C. Aldridge and the University of Cambridge to research whether bivalves — including clams, mussels, scallops and oysters — could be used at scale as a healthy, alternative protein source due to their wide availability. Not only that, but they have an amazing ability to absorb carbon. It’s exciting to think that the humble mussel could become one of our climate change heroes!
We are also developing a number of partnerships in the food tech space — including our cell-cultured fish collaboration with BlueNalu to explore the delivery of sustainably produced, cell-cultured seafood products in Europe. In the pea production process, we are working with data platform Map of Ag to help develop increasingly sustainable and optimised agricultural practices, from satellite scanning of crops to maximising carbon capture.
Every day, we bring our R&D expertise, passion and knowledge to our collaborations to deliver products that consumers will love and to help resolve some of the key challenges facing the food industry today. This partnership approach is a powerful way of creating a more sustainable world and I firmly believe that R&D will continue to be the engine room of all businesses, not just tech companies — playing an instrumental role in generating the ideas that will transform our food system in a way that can sustain both people and planet.