Nutrition and agriculture
- 10 billion people on earth will need to be fed in 2050, while reducing the impact (pesticides, CO2) on the environment.
- 2.8 million tons of food are wasted every year in Switzerland. Switzerland has set itself the goal of halving food losses by 2030.
- 39% of the world’s adults (1.9 billion) are overweight, 13% are obese (600 million).
R & D for abundant food for all, healthy and environmentally friendly works on the whole process, from sustainable primary production to packaging recycling, through functional food (integration of curative or preventive nutrients), weight management, food processors, nutritional decision support based on biomarkers or food microbial systems. Precision farming adapts agricultural equipment to make it smarter and less polluting. Artificial intelligence is used to reduce waste and analyze the needs of plants and animals. Vertical farms allow hyperlocal and on-demand production.
Strenghts & Weaknesses
Switzerland has a very powerful agri-food ecosystem with a high density of research centers (26, including Agroscope, Nestlé, Bühler Group, Givaudan, Firmenich, Syngenta) and R & D spending in Switzerland estimated at CHF 1 billion per year. The four largest agricultural commodity trading companies in the world, the ABCDs (ADM, Bunge, Cargill and LouisDreyfus), have a significant presence in Switzerland. As an example, their world market share is 50% for sugar and 60% for coffee. In addition, 300 start-ups are active in sectors such as precision farming robots (ecoRobotix, Aero41), vertical farms (Growcer), food quality (SNAQ, SwissDeCode), health (Microcaps) or novel foods (Planted Foods, yamo®).
Poor nutrition is the result of multiple factors, including cultural and behavioral factors. Technical solutions alone are not enough. They must often be combined with personalized coaching or medical support. Sustainable agriculture still needs many innovations to solve its structural problems of cost, scarce labor, lack of land and logistics on a very large scale.
- Cluster in the top three worldwide, first in Europe
- Four start-ups valued at over CHF 1 billion