Proteins have succeeded in making the leap from niche products to the mainstream. But the entry into this growth market is challenging. What are the trends in products and the market? How do I produce a tasty and healthy product? And how can I design my production to be efficient, sustainable and safe? These and many other questions were addressed in the "Future Proteins" conference, which MULTIVAC and Handtmann held from 1 - 3 February 2023 in Wolfertschwenden.
More than 240 visitors from around the world convened on Wednesday at MULTIVAC headquarters to take part in the "Future Proteins" conference. They were all united in their interest in food products from alternative protein sources - for example Camembert alternatives made from cashew milk, shrimps made from soya, and cutlets made from chickpeas. Food products, which are often particularly delicate, and which consequently have to be processed and packaged in a very gentle way. “The event was a unique opportunity for the participants to learn not only about the current trends in alternative proteins, but also about the latest sustainable and efficient solutions for processing and packaging these products,”says Dr Tobias Richter, Director and CSO of the MULTIVAC Group. “I was very impressed to see the wealth of ideas, which inspire this forward-looking sector, as well as the range of products that arise from these alternative protein sources, and also how great the demand is for sustainable processing and packaging. In short: The "Future Proteins" conference has shown, that we are on the right path.”
Talks, podium discussions, networking - The participants developed solutions for the pressing questions of the future
Over three days the organisers, MULTIVAC and Handtmann, offered the visitors a full program, which was supported by the Industry Association of Alternative Protein Sources (BALPro). This included presentations by outside speakers from the spheres of science, research and industry, which were then followed by podium discussions - on subjects such as product trends, opportunities for market positioning, and ways of reducing the CO2 footprint of packaging over the entire life cycle. Between the talks the conference visitors exchanged views over finger food and refreshments, while also making visits to the Market Place. There the organisers, together with various players - from ingredient suppliers to film manufacturers - along the entire added value chain, presented a wide range of solutions for the manufacture, processing and packaging of alternative proteins. Events in the evening provided opportunities for networking over communal meals, and these rounded off the daily program of sessions. “The feedback from the conference participants was outstanding,” said Harald Suchanka, CEO of Handtmann. “The visitors appreciated the opportunity to expand their horizons, to network with experts and like-minded people, as well as to develop solutions together for the pressing questions of the future in a relatively new growth market.” Also highly popular was the "Meet the Experts" format. Here more than 60 experts were available for half an hour of individual discussion with the conference participants.
Deep dive sessions: Demonstrations of real machine solutions for processing and packaging alternative solutions
It was the highly practical aspect above all, which made the conference unique. Deep dive sessions in MULTIVAC's Innovation Center offered the more than 240 visitors the opportunity to observe machines and lines at work. The demonstrations ranged from semi-automatic individual machines right up to fully automatic, industrial-scale line solutions from MULTIVAC and Handtmann, all of which featured the processing and packaging of sliced, minced and formed products, as well as other items such as convenience foods and spreads. “We have now completed more than 100 projects in the alternative proteins sector,” says Klaus Deniffel, Project Manager for Alternative Proteins at MULTIVAC. Experienced project managers accompany customers at every stage - from the first idea and design of the concept right up to the final efficiency adjustments by the digital MULTIVAC Smart Services. “Each individual solution is configured independently, so that every manufacturer is supported during the challenges in their transformation of proteins.”