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Switzerland aims to become “Silicon Valley of Food”

Switzerland aims to become “Silicon Valley of Food”

Tokyo (SCCIJ) – The Swiss Canton of Vaud, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), the Swiss Hospitality Management School in Lausanne (EHL), and Nestlé have joined forces to develop and promote a food and nutrition innovation ecosystem.

Switzerland aims to become “Silicon Valley of Food”

The “Swiss Food and Nutrition Valley” is a multi-stake holder initiative (© Nestlé).

Association planned

The production of sustainable and high-quality food and nutrition is more and more perceived as a vital challenge for mankind in areas ranging from agricultural production, nutrition, to waste management and recycling. Switzerland would like to play a key role in addressing these challenges by being home to a unique food and nutrition innovation ecosystem.

The initiative was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos 2020 as “Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley”. The aim was to address the key challenges of sustainable and high-quality food by attracting talent, start-ups, and investments in Switzerland. An association will be soon set up bringing together all stakeholders. The pandemic has delayed this move.

“Unique ecosystem”

Guy Parmelin, Swiss federal councilor and head of the Swiss federal department of economic affairs, has endorsed the initiative. He said: “Food production in Switzerland is very close to my heart, both as a farmer by training and as minister for economic affairs. Participant Nestlé suggested Switzerland is home to a “unique ecosystem in the area of food and nutrition”.

This system would be comprised of high-quality gastronomy and agriculture, an unparalleled density of world-class companies and scientific institutions, and a large number of start-ups in the fields of food, nutrition, life sciences, and robotics. Thanks to their intensive collaboration, first-class innovation platforms have emerged in Switzerland.

New Swiss brand

The “Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley” promises to use cutting-edge science and technology – from agriculture to waste, from innovative products to healthy and sustainable diets. The initiative focuses on various areas, such as nutrition, life sciences, alternative proteins, packaging science, waste management, and precision agriculture.

To achieve these objectives, the “Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley” will organize events in Switzerland and abroad and takes part in international shows under the new brand. Originally, the campaign was launched with Presence Switzerland at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and announced in the fall of 2019.

It will continue as part of the #SwissTech campaign, run jointly by Presence Switzerland, Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE), Innosuisse, Swissnex, and digitalswitzerland. An international symposium dedicated to the future of food will be held in Lausanne on 25 and 26 September 2020.

Small and big players

While big heavyweights like Nestlé and EPFL are the driving forces, the initiative is also being embraced by smaller players in the “Swiss Made” industry. “The creation of the Swiss Food and Nutrition Valley will help reinforce the entire agri-food business in Switzerland,” said Olga Dubey, founder of the start-up AgroSustain, specialized in the natural treatment of gray mold present in numerous fruit and vegetables, to Swissinfo.

The new initiative is based at the “Hotel School Lausanne” (EHL), a pioneer in hospitality education since 1893 with over 25,000 alumni worldwide and over 120 nationalities. EHL is the world’s first hospitality management school that provides undergraduate and graduate programs at its campuses in Lausanne, Singapore, and Chur-Passugg.

Text: SCCIJ partly based on material of EHL

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