“Food is the only sector where when it comes to innovation, as Italians, we are not followers, but leaders. Italian food is not only about pizza, spaghetti and cappuccino, but an integrated ecosystem to which the whole world looks up“, says Paola Garibotti, Head of Unicredit development plans and Agritech innovation, who has enabled several Italian start- ups to present their proposals to an audience of entrepreneurs and investors.
Contrary to the ominous news on underpaid bellboys or the stark reality behind Deliveroo or Foodora, the truth remains that economic and professional opportunities are arising within the food sector, thanks to the possibilities offered by new technologies.
Innovation, in fact is not just about importing budding overseas business models. It’s okay to ride the tiger, but there is much more at stake that should be thought about, integrated and grown without crushing on the logic of economies of scale.
Adds Sara Roversi, a leading figure in food innovation: “Everyone talks about the business model, business plan and their sustainability; understand that from the point of view of an investor, it is central to deciding whether or not to fund a project. But I’m an entrepreneur and I have a different view. We must be able to change day-to-day strategies, also based on an instinct that is either there or not.”
Among the factors that should be considered with an eye to the future, there are, for example, those culinary trends that are expected to leave special traces in our consumption habits (for example replacing palm oil due to the immense pollution it causesto the environment while being processed).
Mida Più, a start-up based in the Italian province of Perugia, has created and patented a solid fat, made with non-hydrogenated olive oil containing no allergens or preservatives and being low in cholesterol, which is specifically aimed to replace the notorious palm oil in the preparation of bakery products, without altering the taste or texture of the food items.
Additional good examples are offered by Wenda, a Bologna-based company that has developed a system to protect the quality and authenticity of the wine bottles through an app, and Horta that has developed a platform for supporting smart crop management and sharing information dedicated to farmers.
The key aspect of innovation-oriented food, in fact, is precisely the knowledge – right from the training programs to implementing a new 360 ° management to cultural movements aimed at exploring the theme of nutrition in its socio-cultural complexity
Just within this philosophy, between business and culture, there are initiatives such as the DESITA AWARD – Gelato Experience: an international design competition that aims to bring value in the field, through the involvement of young creatives under 35 years of age.
A “side” approach to this is certainly to reach the common goal of fostering innovation and promoting the “Made in Italy” concept all over the world.
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