Food Trust @ Quality and Sustainability workshop by PwC

What is the link between an activated charcoal ice-cream and a vertical farming accelerator in Brooklyn?
What is the concept underlying a pop-up dining in the middle of the Australian desert?

The topic of Food Trust is increasing in popularity and interest, particularly among a mature audience, aware of the impact of production processes and buying choices when talking about food.

We discussed the scenario and the trends feeding the discussion about this topic last Monday at Excellence – the exclusive event in Rome that connects operators in the food and wine sector – during the workshop “Quality and Sustainability: how to create the perfect recipe”, organized by PriceWaterhouseCooper.

What follows is an excerpt from our presentation, focused on two Nextatlas trends: AgTech revolution and Brutalist Food.

The Agtech revolution


Food systems are decades behind many other sectors in adopting technology innovation – particularly in developing countries – and the world is finally starting to address how the 4th Industrial Revolution can affect Agriculture and Agribusiness.
Some technologies are starting to make an impact. Consider how food tracing is one of the first real-world, tangible, applications of blockchain, allowing us to trace a product from its origin through production and distribution chains with certainty.

“Current trends in global investments do not yet reflect the potential for disruption in demand-side innovations and in developing countries.”

Scouted application – Square roots

Square Roots is a vertical farming accelerator co-founded by Kimbal Musk, with a campus of climate-controlled farms in shipping containers–is getting ready to graduate its first class.

In the program, each entrepreneur is temporarily given a single upgraded shipping container, filled with vertical growing towers, irrigation systems, and red and blue LED lights in a spectrum tuned to help grow greens.

As they grow and sell greens during the program, the entrepreneurs make money; the accelerator keeps a portion of the profits to fund itself.

Brutalist food

The consumer demand for local, organic and fresh foods continues to grow. As a result, both processed industrial foods and restaurant menus are becoming instruction manuals of sorts, with each ingredient carefully described using a peculiar lexicon often derived from the tradition of high cuisine. Not just fancy restaurants use fancy words.
The evolution of “locavores” is here and environmental concerns are a big part of what motivates them.

Thanks to better packaging and a growing consumer awareness, more people are learning to eat more healthily while also respecting the environment.

Scouted application – Charcoal trend

Almost an antidote to the rainbow craze, black-colored food is taking social media and people’s stomachs by storm. The increasing popularity of bitter foods, the greater acceptance of squid ink as an ingredient and the recent rise in the use of activated charcoal are some of the reasons for the current success of black dishes, snacks, desserts and even drinks. Activated charcoal, usually made from coconut shells or bamboo, has entered the wellness scene in recent years and been incorporated into such industries as beauty, healthcare and F&B thanks to its slew of benefits such as detoxifying, cleansing and whitening. Rich in proteins, nutrients and antioxidants, squid ink is a black superfood ingredient, as well as black seaweed, sesame and garlic.
After the the green trend, which brought green smoothies and kale to our tables, we are now trying to reconnect to the earth in a different way by stepping away from seeing white as purity and goodness and perceiving black as something earthy and wholesome.


For more information about the full analysis, drop a message to Erich Giordano