What do you think is the biggest challenge we face in the food transition?
The biggest challenge, in my opinion, is related to the issue of the availability of food material. This limited resource must respond to a rapidly growing population, with demographer forecasts revised upwards, but also to rapidly changing global food trends. In developing countries, the consumption of animal protein is increasing. A significant part of the Western population is overweight and turns to over-protein diets that do not help to reduce animal protein production. While in these same countries, flexitarians, vegetarians, vegans or vegans choose to eat either more or only vegetable proteins. Vegetarians and vegans still represent only a very small minority of the population. We are therefore facing a much more complex situation than we think. The only certainty is that protein demand is growing steadily. It is no coincidence that the price of protein-rich ingredients (isolates and concentrates) has doubled in five years. I think that animal protein production will find it difficult to increase quantitatively, so it is vegetable proteins that will have to satisfy this increase in demand.
What do you find most exciting about your missions?
I am convinced that a poorly managed food transition will be "painful" for humanity. As IMPROVE's CEO, I am fortunate to be able to participate in this food transition and contribute to making it as good as possible. Very involved in the development of new processes, innovation is at the heart of my business. Supporting numerous projects aimed at the industrial implementation of new solutions using alternative proteins is a great motivation. Another fulfilling aspect at IMPROVE is our ability to inform the decisions of individuals and companies regarding food transition. Indeed, this topic, which is widely covered in the media, is often poorly treated with many misinterpretations or untruths. Being able to act on the clarification of information and enrich its quality through real business expertise is an additional motivating factor.
Why does IMPROVE participate in the Awards?
As a technical platform for research on the proteins of the future, we are well placed to assess the interest of the projects selected for the Awards. Very favourable to the promotion of an ecosystem conducive to the development of startups, it is a good lever to give their chance to innovative projects participating in the food transition. In addition, Crédit Agricole is one of IMPROVE's shareholders and we have strong relationship with this bank. We were therefore naturally keen to participate in this call for applications through this partnership.
How is your organisation involved in the Awards?
Our structure is involved in different ways. We plan to provide support and coaching for the winning startups. We also act as an information and communication relay on our website and our various distribution channels. Finally, we participate in the operational aspects through the steering committees, organised every week by the Village By CA Nord de France.