Milano: hearing it lets your mind immediately picture such things as luxury, design, fashion, bony girls on high heels, shirtless six-packed boys, fancy boutiques, shopping, hustling, happy hours, the frog, the Madonnina statue, the Derby, the Paninari, and Fiorucci.
Besides this “Trainspotting style” intro, certainly the Lombardia main city and Italian financial capital is all that, but not just that; there is also the food, and I do not mean the risotto and the cotoletta.
Let’s turn back the clock three years, to 1st May 2015 when the “EXPO” under the motto “Feeding the planet” was launched. Since that date, for 184 days, Milan has been the World Food Capital. Then, undoubtedly, the Universal Exposition left us a significant legacy, and who has been able to collect it? One man and his organization.
Marco Gualtieri and Seeds&Chips made Milan the crossroad of the world again, from 7th to 10th May 2018.
If the strength of an event is in the numbers, we fully accomplished the mission: 149 partners and advisors (behemoths such as Intesa Sanpaolo, Bayer and Carrefour, and small operators like Cibuscons) 172 stands, 12 attractions, 284 speakers, 4 conferences hosting 50 panels.
Each of them would deserve a dedicated article, but obviously, it would take too much time, and anyway it’s a great pity to have not been able to attend and listen to everyone and everything.
GREAT NUMBERS FOR GREAT PEOPLE BRINGING GREAT IDEAS.
As you certainly know, in Italy every meal ends with a great espresso. At Seeds&Chips the coffee has been instead the main actor of the opening, thanks to Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz.
Besides announcing the opening of the first Italian and European greatest “Starbucks Reserve Roastery” in Milan the next September, Mr. Schultz put the people in the middle of his speech, reaffirming the importance of values such as honesty, truth, and transparency.
“We are all equal. We need to dream big for a bigger future. Today I’m not here to talk about business, I’m here to talk about humanity”.
Now let’s all look forward to enjoying a tasting Frappuccino while shopping in the Galleria.
The first day went on with former Microsoft CTO, technology visionary and creator of “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking” Nathan Myhrvold, whose speech topics were the correlation between food and science and the innovation in bakery. His quote “The greatest innovation in the food industry was tomatoes on the pizza” delighted the great Italian and international audience.
Former U.S. Secretary of State and Paris Agreement Signatory John Kerry, keynote speaker of the second day, took an awesome speech focusing on issues such as climate changes, sustainability, and food waste, underlying the fact that nobody in the 21st century would have to starve anymore.
“Millions of people could eat more and better if we were just smarter about food harvest, food storage, and food distribution.”
THE AGENDA AND THE EXPOSITION
Definitively impressive was the quantity and quality of topics, talks and sessions broached during the 4-day summit, all likewise useful and hugely interesting.
The importance of accelerators, especially those focused on food innovation, to bring disruptive ideas on the market, was first panel’s topic; the summit then went ahead discussing the relevance of correlation of food and health, as a healthy world pass through healthy people.
“Pioneering new products” was, in my opinion, one of the best panels of the whole summit: alternative meats, biomimicry, new proteins, microalgae, and plant-based products were in the middle of the talk. It couldn’t miss of course the 2018 technology queen, the blockchain, and its importance in guaranteeing food safety, origin, and quality.
My quote “The farmer of the future will have a hoe in the right hand and a tablet in the left one” seemed to be widely proofed by the remarkable panels focused on agritech and future of agriculture.
The different perspectives (corporate, investing and consulting) of open innovation were the focus of a conference where sat down such heavy hitters as Nestlè and Deloitte.
Matthew Lange delighted the audience with an awesome speech about food ontology, and Altagamma showed its worthwhile “Top Wines Study” carried out in collaboration with EY.
The food waste discussions showed that fighting this global plague is possible if people awareness is combined with technology.
The “Future of retail” panel hosted the best Italian senior executives of the sector, likewise “Investing in the future of food and agtech” was attended by the greatest world food innovation investors, all strongly committed to changing the food system for a better world.
“Water First” was the motto of this edition and, among the different conferences focused on H2O, former Italian President Romano Prodi shared his experience and reaffirmed, supported by Marco Gualtieri, his commitment to improving the water system to make it available to everybody.
Leave the conferences, and take a walk around in the exposition area was like taking a world tour and being catapulted into a social experiment : people from all over the world, seasoned manager and young startuppers, passionate networkers and apatic nerds, women in tailleur and youngsters in t-shirt, distributed in the stands organized per topic area: the water, the Holland, the vertical farming, the agritech, the blockchain, the foodtech, the edible insects, the novel food and the traditional one, as the innovations for Ho.Re.Ca.
The cherries on the cake were the Awards, with the most disruptive and innovative startups rewarded at the different events dedicated.
Noteworthy was the area where the future of food was being shaped, the business lounge by Emerge, for B2B meeting, pretty easy, in recyclable cartons but such valuable as interesting.
Personally, Seeds&Chip has been even a great networking opportunity: a lot of people to meet, a lot of ideas to discuss, a lot of seeds to plant, a lot of projects to implement, a lot of business cards to trade, a lot of follow-ups (as writing this article) to do in the following days. Yes, the business cards, the small carton rectangle where everything starts from, the bread and butter for every businessperson, the key to open a door, something that can boost your business or your career.
At Seeds&Chips you have the unique opportunity to change the world while improving your life, doesn’t it sound pretty amazing?
In conclusion, I would like to thank all who attended and made this experience a great one. It’s impossible to list everybody, but I feel it’s important to, at least, pay tribute to all Seeds&Chips staff: The chairman and “deus ex machina” Marco Gualtieri, then Emanuele, Sharon, Giacomo, Alessandro, Carola, Stefania, Alessandra, Yi, Natascia, Shervin, Barbara, Silvia and Natascia,
THANK YOU GUYS, AND SEE YOU NEXT YEAR.
Seeds and Chips left us a great heritage concerning water, sustainability, and food innovation; to not waste it and craft a better world. It’s time to move.
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