2024-05-24 Product news

Feeding the future: Advancing food production for a growing population

Feeding a growing world population while reducing the environmental impact of food production is an escalating challenge. The United Nations estimates we'll need 70% more food by 2050, yet our current food systems are responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions* and impact ecosystems, land, and water resources. How can a technology leader like Alfa Laval be part of the solution?

"Food is deeply personal — it defines identity and embodies culture and tradition," says Johan Agrell, Vice President of Next-Generation Food at Alfa Laval. He adds, "At the same time, the choice we make about what ends up on our plates is one of the most impactful things we can do for the planet. This is where Alfa Laval has a critical role in enabling foods with a lower climate impact and making those choices easier."


Pioneering advancements in food production has been part of our DNA since the late 1870s, when Alfa Laval's founder invented the centrifugal cream separator. Throughout our long history working with conventional food producers, such as in meat and dairy, we have constantly developed new ways to optimize our products and streamline our customers' processes. This has led to more sustainable production requiring less water and energy, therefore reducing emissions and resource use while increasing yield and output and cutting customer costs. But this is just part of the journey to more sustainable food.

One of the most critical global food challenges is the limited availability of proteins relative to population growth. To help bridge this so-called 'protein gap,' we are ushering in the next generation of low-climate impact protein sources. From new ways to produce plant proteins at scale to modernizing fermentation techniques, finding imaginative uses for by-products, and exploring the possibilities of cell-cultivated meats. We are helping to facilitate the transition of food innovations from concept to market-ready products. "What we are doing with our partners is not necessarily new," explains Johan.


Plant- and fermentation-based foods have been around for a long time, but we are taking these processes to the next level", says Johan Agrell, Vice President of Next-Generation Food at Alfa Laval.

While next-generation food will not entirely solve the predicted food and protein shortfall, it will undoubtedly play a significant role, along with optimizing conventional foods and reducing food waste. Notably, by relying on new processes to produce next-generation food alternatives, some emissions can be avoided altogether. Johan underscores the significance of this field for Alfa Laval, stating, "What excites us about next-generation food is the prospect of collaborating with food startups and established food producers who are spearheading food innovation and seeking our expertise to scale up production to bring new kinds of sustainable foods and ingredients to consumers in the future. This is where we can really make a difference."  


* Food systems are responsible for a third of global anthropogenic GHG emissions | Nature Food


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The big food transformation

Feeding the world with a minimized environmental, social and governance impact by 2050 will require a systemic transformation of today's global food system. Alfa Laval's development of next-generation food plays a key role in re-inventing food and the transformation that must happen. Today it is in its infancy, and conventional food will continue to play a critical role to secure sufficient and nutritious food in decades to come. Alfa Laval builds on a legacy of enabling the production of more food from the same with  less water, energy and waste. Today, a third of all food is lost between farm and fork, and Alfa Laval's focus on the upcycling of by-products to food suitable for humans as a first priority is critical to our role in the systemic transformation of food.

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Learn more about Alfa Laval next-generation food solutions here

Alfa Laval’s innovative solutions deliver sustainability in food production with a product portfolio that supports the safe, hygienic, and energy-efficient production of food and beverages.

Sustainable food

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