"Food is next big thing"

20 June 2024
Malnutrition can be deadly, but correct diet could save the planet - Food Innovation Camp focuses on future of food

Do you like fizzy drinks? Go for it, but avoid nolo at all costs! Alcohol-free or low-alcohol drinks are on the rise. Non-alcoholic drinks are all the rage, according to food wholesaler Chefs Culinar. Mocktails or delicious cocktails that “imitate” alcohol are becoming increasingly popular, and in May the first alcohol-free music festival, Sober Sensation, was held at the Foodlab in HafenCity. Worryingly, young people are drinking less alcohol but eating more meat, according to a study by the German Centre for Health Education (BZgA).

Malnutrition - a threat to the economy

The 2021 Youth Report identified a trend towards a low meat diet in the 15 to 29 age group driven by a critical attitude towards the meat industry and an increased concern for the environment. However, the trend appears to be reversing. A year later, most children and youths aged between six to 19 who took part in a Statista survey said they enjoyed eating meat and do not intend to lower their meat consumption in future. Yet, this delay is dangerous, according to nutritionist Dr Matthias Riedl. Speaking during the 6th Food Innovation Camp (FIC) in the Chamber of Commerce on June 17, 2024, he stressed: "Young people are growing up ill." Such a lifestyle has drastic consequences, warned Riedl, who is also the medical director of Medicum Hamburg. Malnutrition wreaks havoc on the health system, threatens the economy and leads to an increased risk of death.

Flag for Food Innovation Camp flies at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce
Food Innovation Camp in Chamber of Commerce Hamburg

Food connects people

The German Ministry of Food and Agriculture's website says: "An unhealthy diet is associated with 14 per cent of all deaths in Germany." Unsurprisingly, the German government adopted the "Good Food for Germany" strategy in January focusing on children and young people. The approach is similar to the Planetary Health Diet, which international scientists unveiled in 2019 as well as a menu to solve global problems from obesity and diabetes to climate change. "Saving the planet with great food…it doesn't get any better than this," said Antje de Vries during FIC. A passionate chef and an expert in plant-based cuisine, de Vries believes food brings people together and is committed to Chickpeace. Refugee women e.g., Syria and Afghanistan offer specialities from their home countries through the Hamburg-based catering service. This successful business model aims to ease integration in their new country and their efforts yielded an FIC Food Award in 2023.

Antje de Vries at Chickpeace's stand during the Food Innovation Camp
Antje de Vries at Chickpeace's stand during the Food Innovation Camp

New gastro accelerator

De Vries is one of the judges at Foodlab Hamburg, which is launching a new gastronomy accelerator in autumn. Food start-ups have until the end of August to apply for the six-month scheme. "Hamburg is the perfect testing ground for innovation," said Christin Siegemund, the founder of Foodlab, during FIC. The large number of established companies and innovative start-ups based in the city form the basis of mutually beneficial contacts and partnerships. To support this networking and to raise Hamburg's international visibility, the new Food Cluster will enter its official founding phase in autumn backed by the City of Hamburg, Foodactive e.V. and Süderelbe AG. Delegates at FIC all agreed: "Food is indeed the next big thing.”

Sources and further information

Similar articles

Open Mouth Festival 2023

Hamburg gearing up for "Open Mouth" in September

Food festival spans spectrum from field to plate - focus on innovation and sustainability

Hamburg now a launching pad for new food start-ups

Creative founders turning to Hamburg - city's history of culinary delights proves inspiring

Foodregio Startup Lab points to three trends in food industry

Professor Björn P. Jacobsen outlines network's efforts in north German food industry

Bluu Seafood offering cell-based fish in Hamburg-Altona

Frauenhofer spin-off scaling up production with fish from a bioreactor
The Consent Management Platform ( we use could not be loaded. This can happen if AdBlockers incorrectly block this URL. Some features such as maps, proximity search or forms, cannot be used this way. To use these features, please deactivate your AdBlocker or allow access to *