At the end of October, swiss-food.ch hosted a film screening and panel discussion in Zurich on the subject of genome editing entitled “Between Protest and Potential”. The well-attended event dealt with the emotional debates in recent decades surrounding genetic engineering. The event showed that the situation has changed fundamentally.
Patents protect innovation and at the same time they drive innovation. During our Swiss-Food Talk on August 15, three innovation experts discussed the importance of patents for the Swiss economy.
Digitalization is making its way into agriculture. At the Swiss-Food Talk on April 25, 2023, three experts from the agricultural machinery industry, vegetable production, and agricultural media discussed how digitization is changing food production. The consensus is that we are in the transition from industrial to smart agriculture, where data and algorithms as support allow precise interventions and serve sustainability.
Boiled, stirred, fried: Eggs are not only popular at Easter. At the same time, there is increasing interest in alternatives to the animal protein products that are common in our country. The search for new protein sources therefore does not stop at chicken eggs. The "egg substitute" can come from exotic jellyfish, as well as from a wide variety of plant sources. The result: The demand for protein-rich crops is growing.
Protein is a key component in a healthy, balanced diet. However, the majority of protein consumed by humans derives from animals and is extremely resource-intensive to produce. What might alternatives look like? And what needs to happen to enable alternative protein products to end up in consumers’ baskets? At the Swiss-Food Talk, three experts considered the issues.
Modern crop protection products must be safe, targeted and short-lived – i.e. degraded shortly after reaching their target – without leaving behind biologically active degradation products.
We are reliant on optimized foodstuffs in order to supply the planet’s growing population with healthy, sustainably produced food. However, consumers often view these as “artificial”, and thus “unnatural” – and “natural” is the preferred choice. Of our everyday foods, however, very few are of “natural origin”. They have been optimized by humans over the course of time. But are supposedly “natural” products also healthier and more sustainable? Three presenters took an in-depth look at food optimization in this Swiss-Food Talk.
The nutrition of the future should ensure access to the necessary nutrients for all people and be healthy for the planet. That is the goal. However, developing this kind of “planetary health diet” is not so easy. In the Swiss-Food Talk, experts in science and industry discussed what healthy, environmentally friendly nutrition should look like. One thing is clear: Sustainable food must suit the tastes of the people, meet the specific local needs, and must be affordable.
Patents create transparency about inventions and enable their further development. For research-intensive Switzerland in particular, patents are a central building block in order to remain a leading location for innovation. At the swiss-food talk on 17 May, three representatives from the fields of research, start-up and industry spoke about the reasons for and significance of patents, particularly in plant breeding.
Feed more people and waste less raw materials – we are achieving this goal thanks to "sustainability from the laboratory," Tilo Hühn is convinced. Together with a team of 80 at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), the food architect is researching sustainable nutrition solutions.
The Swiss Parliament has decided to update the genetic engineering moratorium that has been in place since 2005. The step was overdue. On the occasion of a webinar organized by swiss-food.ch, experts from science and agriculture spoke about the benefits of new biotechnological breeding methods. It became clear: the risks are low, the opportunities are great.
All around the world, we see and feel the effects of climate change on our lives. While it impacts everyone, agriculture is one of the sectors that is at the forefront of climate change – contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time coping with growing our food under increasingly challenging conditions. So, how can we address climate change and take action that makes an impact?
Food security in Europe and sustainability in agriculture were topics of discussion at Bayer's agricultural talks in cooperation with the "agrarzeitung". The following issues became clear: Europe cannot be viewed in isolation. Every change in European production has an impact on other regions of the world.
On the occasion of the 26th Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Matthias Berninger, Global Head of Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability at Bayer, talks about the potential of new fertilisers for climate protection.
The two agrochemical producers Bayer and Syngenta are investing in an American start-up whose technology can massively reduce the use of nitrogen fertiliser.
People often discuss pesticides and biocides. «Pesticides are chemistry and chemistry is poison», is often said. According to Dominique Werner of scienceindustries, the negative attitude often has to do with ignorance.
The eating habits of the population have changed greatly in recent years. There is a trend towards healthy and sustainable nutrition. But at the same time, many consumers are also unsettled.
Tomorrow's agriculture must produce more efficiently. And at the same time protect the climate and biodiversity. At the Swiss-Food Talk, three renowned, independent experts spoke about the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow's sustainable agriculture.
When shopping for food on a daily basis, we often rely on our gut feeling. This can be very useful and save us a lot of thinking. But when it comes to assessing risks, our gut feeling can also be deceptive. Angela Bearth, a behavioural psychologist at ETH Zurich, explains why this is the case in the Swiss Food Podcast.
At the Swiss-Food Talk, three recognised experts gave answers to current questions in connection with a healthy, sustainable diet. And made an appeal to common sense.
Resistance to new technologies is currently booming. In the case of green genetic engineering, politicians are also finding it difficult to deal with new technologies in a forward-looking way. But where does this fear of new things come from? Ludger Wess, science journalist and molecular biologist, talks about this in the Swiss-Food Podcast.
Synthetic pesticides enabled the transition at the end of the 19th century from an era of periodic famines to an age of food security. For this reason, it is clear to the University of Göttingen’s Professor Andreas von Tiedemann that pesticides are a cornerstone of modern society.
At the Swiss-Food Talk, three experts underlined the importance of biocides for agriculture and food processing. The conclusion of the talk: without biocides, food safety and animal welfare could not be guaranteed.
Danger and risk are often confused in the discussion surrounding pesticides. Sometimes the two terms are even used synonymously. That is as incorrect as it is negligent, because dangerous substances do not always present a high risk. By the same token, substances that are not considered to be dangerous can indeed pose a risk. Danger and risk are therefore not identical.
The second Swiss-Food Talk was attended by three internationally recognised experts from the fields of toxicology, water protection and food safety. They discussed the handling of limit values and the partly wrong interpretation in the public discourse. The scientists pleaded for more objectivity.
Climate change, pests, population growth and ever-scarcer resources pose major challenges for farmers around the world. And being able to produce sufficient food in a manner that is as environmentally-friendly as possible requires increasingly robust plant varieties.