First Edition of TFoodS Conference by Proteins4Singapore
Brings Food Science Experts across Food Value Chain to Catalyse Alternative Proteins Research and Innovation in Singapore11.07.2023
Featuring a cadre of food science and technology experts from all over the world, the inaugural TFoodS Conference spotlights the scientific insights in vertical farming, biotechnology and food engineering, food chemistry and molecular sensory science, as well as health and nutrition, in a bid to catalyse Singapore's alternative proteins research and innovation ecosystem.
The geographically dispersed and fragmented nature of Singapore's food system is further complicated as more actors enter the local alternative proteins industry, adopting a myriad of technologies and innovations to cater to the increasingly dynamic dietary and nutritional needs.
The TFoodS Conference serves as a platform for different actors across the food value chain to exchange expertise and strengthen the scientific understanding of some of the critical aspects of the food system.
Bringing in food science experts from Germany, the Netherlands, the US, and EIT Food, the conference sees the deepening of synergy and collaboration across the food network.
The collaboration between TUMCREATE and EIT Food culminates in a shark tank event where local food entrepreneurs pitch their food innovations to an expert jury to gain access to the exclusive EIT Food Venture Summit in Lisbon this coming November.
Tuesday, 11 July 2023 – Close to 200 scientific and industry experts in vertical farming, biotechnology and food engineering, food chemistry and molecular sensory science, as well as health and nutrition from Europe and Singapore gather in Singapore on 11 to 12 July for the inaugural TFoodS Conference to present their research insights and findings in a bid to catalyse the alternative proteins research and innovations in Singapore. Hosted by TUMCREATE, a multidisciplinary research platform of the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the conference sees deeper synergy and exchange of scientific expertise between international food manufacturers and suppliers such as Nestle, Symrise, Bühler, food science experts from EIT Food and TUM, startups, and industry professionals as they exchange scientific insights and foster collaboration across the research, production, processing, and consumption of food.
Driving innovation across Singapore's food system
Over the past years, Singapore has seen an extraordinary surge in the growth and development of its alternative proteins industry, and it is expected to grow. According to think tank Good Food Institute (GFI), investment in alternative proteins . Singapore is also the first country to allow the commercial sale of cultivated meat. Against this backdrop, coupled with Singapore's continual push to build its agri-food industry's capability and capacity to sustainably produce 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030, an increasing number of actors are entering the alternative proteins industry adopting a myriad of technologies and innovations to cater to the increasingly dynamic dietary and nutritional needs. This further complicates Singapore's pre-existing geographically dispersed and fragmented food system. There are currently more than 60 alternative protein companies based in Singapore, employing 790 people.
The absence of scientific know-how within the complex web of activities of Singapore's food system poses a challenge for food entrepreneurs to find a breakthrough rapid enough to meet Singapore's ambitious "30-by-30" goal. To drive innovation across the food value chain of alternative proteins, the TFoodS conference becomes a platform for them to exchange scientific insights and expertise to strengthen their understanding of the food system. In addition, the conference puts together a product fair for startups and companies to share and discuss their perspectives with other food science experts such as plant and algae specialists, food engineers, and microbiologists.
Shark Tank event
In partnership with EIT Food, the TFoodS Conference is also hosting a Shark Tank event in which food entrepreneurs will pitch their food innovations to an expert jury and gain direct access to the thriving food innovation ecosystem in Europe. Successful shark tank pitches will be able to gain access to the invite-only EIT Food Venture Summit in Lisbon, in which attendees will get the chance to meet and work with agri-food leaders.
TUMCREATE's CEO, Professor Ulf Schlichtmann, said, "The Proteins4Singapore research programme holds great potential in unlocking clues and accelerating our understanding towards the formation and interactions of proteins while offering life-changing technologies to secure a sustainable protein supply, which will make a difference for people in Singapore and other megacities. The deep collaboration fostered between the institutions straddling world-class expertise across a range of disciplines that TUMCREATE spearheads will pave the way towards a robust scientific research ecosystem essential to generate scientific breakthroughs to confront future challenges."
Comprising renowned scientists for plant and algae cultivation and processing, Proteins4Singapore is looking into the optimal production of soybeans and micro-algae in a controlled environment to create protein-rich products with improved texture, flavour, and optimised nutritional profile. The research project will involve studies of the gut microbiome and its interaction with the tailored protein and peptide composition. Each technological process and the suggested production chain will be benchmarked against traditional methods using holistic life-cycle analysis for enhanced validity and ensuing opportunities for scaling and commercialisation.
These new protein sources will be integrated into innovative processing methods to facilitate a new generation of proteins. One of them is the use of integrative and innovative extrusion systems in combination with 3D printing techniques to lead to large-scale, as well as decentralised production capabilities for plant protein-based foods with highly controlled and defined sensory perception functions. The formation of realistic textures similar to conventionally textured food will greatly improve consumer perception of such novel food products.
The research teams combine that with the novel reverse food engineering approach that breaks down products and guides selection of the processing parameters to produce food with pleasant textures and improved sensory characteristics - a critical step towards creating nutritious and high-quality food products that will potentially open new doors for commercialisation opportunities.
Harnessing world-class expertise in material science, process engineering and food chemistry from leading academic and research institutions - TUM, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) – the research programme propels forward a new generation of proteins that is nutritious and palatable. The unique position that Singapore is in will serve as a blueprint for globally relevant scenarios to supply nutritious food to a densely populated but land-limited urban population.
Conference topics highlights
Digital Agriculture and Vertical Farming
Potential of Controlled-Environment Crop Production: Prof Senthold Asseng, Chair of Digital Agriculture, Director World Agricultural Systems Center, TUM
Sustainable Controlled Environment Agriculture—Lessons from Space Farming: Dr Oscar Monje. Research Scientist, Air Revitalisation Laboratory, Kennedy Space Centre
Biotechnology and Food Engineering
Microbial Biotechnology for Food Production: Prof Thomas Brueck, Werner Siemens Chair of Synthetic Biotechnology, TUM
Structuring for Tomorrow’s Food: Prof Thomas Becker, Chair of Brewing and Beverage Technology, TUM
Harnessing Plant Proteins for Cell-based Meat Culture and 3D Printing Of Seafood Analogues: Prof Huang Dejian, Deputy Head of Department of Food Science
& Technology, National University of Singapore (NUS)
Materials And Processing Development In Food Applications: A/Prof Tan Lay Poh, NTU
Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science
Mitigating Off-Flavour Notes by means of SENSOMICS Approach: Prof Corinna Dawid, Professor for Functional Phytometabolomics, Deputy Chair of Food Chemistry and Molecular Sensory Science, TUM
Applying Sensory Science and Flavour Technologies to Overcome Alternate Protein Consumer Taste Challenges: Dr Conor Delahunty, Vice President, Global Sensory & Consumer Insights, Symrise Taste, Nutrition & Health
Health and Nutrition
Developing the Infant Gut Microbiome: Prof Dirk Haller, Chair of Nutrition and Immunology, Director ZIEL Institute for Health & Nutrition, TUM
Singaporean Foods High in Vitamins: Prof Michael Rychlik, Chair of Analytical Food Chemistry, TUM
Metabolomics Reveals Food Composition and Function of Gut Microbiome: Prof Wang Yulan, NTU
Life-Cycle Analysis and Total Value Assessment for Proteins: Prof Olaf Hinrichsen, TUM and Prof S. Viswanathan, NTU
Founded in 2010, TUMCREATE is a multidisciplinary research platform fostering bilateral research exchanges between Technical University of Munich (TUM) and relevant partners in Singapore to contribute towards sustainable transformation of societies. Funded by the National Research Foundation, TUMCREATE partners with the world's leading universities, local institutions, and public agencies as well as industry partners from the region for the sustainable transformation of societies through science and technology. The multi-faceted research projects span topics from urban mobility, food science and technology, biomedical technology and preventive healthcare, to solutions for a carbon-neutral megacity. Over the last years, the research teams presented more than 1,000 publications, and 70 doctoral students qualified for a career in research and industry. These achievements and the strong rapport established with its international partners reflect the institution's high-quality research output and scientific impact.