The main seminar stage, in the Transformatorhuis at the Westergasfabriek on November 3, 2016, will focus on unique lessons that can be learned from the extraordinary role the Netherlands plays in the global produce industry. The Amsterdam Produce Show and Conference Knowledge Centre provides an opportunity to break through the focus on day-to-day operations and think about how high-level global concerns will drive success in the produce trade in the years to come
A quarter of all produce that passes in international trade goes through Holland. The host nation for APS provides intellectual leadership in many fields such as genetics, logistics and controlled environment agriculture. What is the Dutch secret to this outsized success? The workshop and seminar programme is designed to provide an opportunity for attendees to mine insight from the very best in Dutch thought and practice leadership with the goal of profiting in their own businesses and advancing the produce trade around the world.
The seminar sessions run in parallel with the boutique trade exhibition, and zones on the show floor will feature the same themes – innovation, education, sustainability, health –and look at ways in which both Dutch and international companies are addressing the challenges and opportunities they present, in order to increase the consumption of fresh produce in an ever-changing marketplace.
Innovation is everywhere, but what does innovation mean in a business context? It is arguably an over-used word, attached blithely to any new product or idea, however ‘new’ that idea may be.
The word innovation might be better applied to solutions that meet existing, new or as-yet undiscovered requirements of the marketplace. By this definition, the produce industry is undeniably one of the most innovative sectors in the world, both using and manipulating nature to provide solutions that ensure the expanding population survives while eating nutritious, flavoursome, long-lasting, attractive and affordable fresh products throughout the year.
The Innovation Zone is led by Wageningen University & Research, which applies Dutch expertise and knowledge to develop solutions for the global fresh produce industry.
Wageningen University & Research is the only university in Holland to focus specifically on the theme “healthy food and living environment”, working in tandem with governments and the business community to make the world a better place. It has been named best university in Holland for 11 consecutive years, its students and professors are at the forefront of some of the most innovative projects, and its Centre for Development Innovation works extensively on processes of innovation and change through facilitating innovation, brokering knowledge and supporting capacity development.
Wageningen University & Research has kindly supplied four speakers for the APS seminar programme.
Phenomenal phenomics – new ways to determine quality
A collaborative research project is focusing on post-harvest, non-destructive quality assessments using robots, and modelling quality deterioration in the chain.
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research explores and develops advanced technologies for objective, automated, fast and non-destructive quality control of fruits, vegetables and other crops together with industrial partners. The key goal of the Quality Phenomics research project is to develop new methods to measure quality and predict deterioration of vegetable and fruit products. Rick van de Zedde, a senior researcher/ business developer for computer vision at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research will explain the vision of the project, which is a close collaboration between three different fields of expertise within Wageningen University & Research and several plant-breeding companies, growers, fresh-produce processors and technology providers.
Reducing food waste is no pipe dream
There are a lot of shrugged shoulders and exasperated sighs when food waste gets mentioned. But research and development projects are shining a light on a less wasteful future.
The amount of good food that is wasted in Holland adds up to billions of euros per year and the biggest culprit is the final consumer. Roughly half of all of the food wastage each year happens in people’s homes, which means of course that the other half is wasted upstream somewhere along the supply chain. Joost Snels, senior scientist for supply chain management, Wageningen University & Research argues that this is not just a waste of money, but also a waste of the valuable resources that were used producing and transporting the food. Snels says that strategies that can have a real impact on minimising food waste often transcend the links in the chain and are there to be challenged. But research at Wageningen University & Research shows that reductions of 40-50% are not only possible, they are also well within reach.
Minimising supply chain waste – the importance of an integrated approach
Wageningen University & Research is building a mobile post-harvest research lab to raise knowledge and practice levels in emerging countries.
In many developing countries, a lot of time and effort is devoted to the production process, in order to increase yields. However, the post-harvest part of the supply chain through to the consumer is somehow forgotten, often leading to loss of product through deterioration in quality. Peter Ravensbergen, programme manager for food security, at Wageningen University & Research, will explain why he wants to see more investment in quality-driven agro-logistics, and highlight the tools the research centre has developed to support governments and companies in the design and implementation of supply-chain management strategies. The approach combines technology, (chain) organisation and knowledge development.
The glass half full approach to low fresh produce consumption
Rather than taking a pessimistic view of consumption levels for our products, the industry should be looking for ways to increase access and take advantage of healthy eating awareness levels.
Herman Peppelenbos, programme manager for customised food at the university and research centre, specialising in consumer-driven product development, with a strong focus on healthy and sustainable food. As in many counties, there is little correlation in Holland between the awareness that eating fruit and vegetables is healthy and actual consumption of the products this industry produces. Herman believes that with a new approach this problem can be solved. The key challenge, he argues, is to increase the availability of convenient and attractive products at non-traditional eating moments and at out-of-home locations. Recent studies have showed the potential of this approach and Herman encourages the produce industry to see low consumption as a big opportunity, rather than a problem.
The more you know, the more you’ll grow
Click here to read about the full Amsterdam Produce Show Knowledge Centre Seminar Programme, including a stellar line-up of speakers on our main stage. You can register online here or to book a booth contact us here.