The vision of Europe's food industry
The provision of safe, nutritious and high-quality food is the right of every consumer. For several years now, the European Commission has implemented measures in support of better practices and products to ensure that the food grown, packaged, and consumed in Europe contributes to the welfare and well-being of its citizens. The European Technology Platform (ETP) known as Food for Life, supported by the Commission to develop a long-term vision for the agro-food industry, recently launched its Strategic Research Agenda.
The first report, 'ETP Food for Life Vision for 2020 and Beyond', was published in 2005 and provided an overarching future strategy. The second and most recent, 'ETP Strategic Research Agenda', was launched on 13 September 2007 at a gathering of some 200 opinion leaders, public authorities, academics and industry representatives.
The report outlines priority themes for research. It provided the ideal discussion springboard for the conference, which focused on defining priorities and setting specific actions to strengthen innovation processes, improve knowledge transfer and stimulate competitiveness across the European food chain.
The third report is due to be published in 2008. This final implementation plan will outline the activities required to achieve the Food for Life vision and strategy. The roadmap created by all three milestones will have achieved the objective of effective cooperation under the umbrella of a coherent agenda for European research.
'The level of enthusiasm and interest from all stakeholders of the ETP Food for Life has continued to increase, and this is reflected in the outstanding attendance at this year’s conference,' said ETP Board Chairman Peter van Bladeren.
Food for Life is one of some 25 ETPs supported by the European Commission to promote innovation in Europe. The size, nature and regional importance of the agro-food industry necessitated the inclusion of a dedicated agro-food ETP.
Its bold aim is to achieve nothing less than add “life to years” by studying the links between diet and brain activity, immune and intestinal functions, and metabolic function. The ETP also seeks to identify ways of building consumer trust in the food chain through greater transparency in product design, and through the identification and promotion of best practices.