Jakarta. The Eat Foundation together with the Ministry of Health hosted the first Asia Pacific Food Forum to address environmental challenges and food-related health in the region.
Over 700 local and international scientists, innovators, business executives, health ministers, politicians, activists, media representatives and environmentalists participated in the two-day food forum at the Shangri-La Hotel in South Jakarta on Monday (30/10).
The Eat Foundation is a global strategic initiative linking food, health and sustainability across science, business, policy and civil society.
The regional forum aims to increase the commitment of countries, the private sector and academic institutes in the Asia Pacific region, to mainstream healthy diets and promote a sustainable food system to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SGD) and the Paris Climate Agreement.
Amid a severe world hunger crisis caused by population growth and brought on most predominately by severe weather events, the meeting focused on solutions, commitments and innovations.
Coordinating Human Development and Cultural Affairs Minister Puan Maharani said that in the process of providing enough food for the world, "we often forget that we cause lasting, and even irreparable, damage to the planet."
"Poor dietary regimens are major risk factors for many diseases in the world and play a leading role in chronic diseases. Food is human’s fundamental need that must be fulfilled, therefore the government has a role and responsibility in ensuring the fulfillment of that need."
However, Puan said the world is now facing a tough challenge to be able to sustainably feed the entire world's population.
"The population is predicted to reach eight billion by 2050, showcasing a growth of 1.8 percent from a total of 7.6 billion people this year. Recent FOA data shows that from 723 million people in the world who suffer from chronic hunger, 490 million live in the Asia-Pacific region."
To develop comprehensive solutions related to food production and consumption, collaboration among ministers and politicians is of key importance.
"The government's efforts will include ensuring domestic stock, equal distribution, price stabilization and fulfillment services of food for the poor. The world food system should be able to anticipate various problems in meeting the world’s needs for food in a sustainable manner. Therefore, collaboration is needed."
Vice President Jusuf Kalla said in his opening speech that technology will also help reduce world hunger and food insecurity.
"Everything can be solved by technology. Even though it’s not perfect yet, it will help us fulfill our need for food."
“The Indonesian government, through the Ministry of Health, has taken initiative to become the first country to open dialogue and build cooperation with regions in Asia Pacific to make a breakthrough in sustainable food systems," Puan added.
Fostering Food Sustainability With Environmentally Friendly Products
Monde Nissin and Quorn Foods participated in the event and have been working to improve public health and nutrition by promoting meat substitute foods.
Recently acquired by Monde Nissin, Quorn is expanding their market in Indonesia, especially in Jakarta, to introduce plant-based food products.
Quorn is a mycrprotein meat substitute made by fermenting a type of fungus (Fusarium Venenatum). It is sold on its own, in ready-to-eat meals or in products that replicate chicken fillets, sausages, chicken nuggets and burgers.
Henry Soesanto, chief executive of Monde Nissin Group, said in a press conference in South Jakarta on Monday that many city residents are increasingly getting more conscious about their lifestyle choices.
"The trend is going there. We can see that more people are becoming health-conscious and they are starting to seek out a variety of options to live a healthy life."
Besides being nutritious, rich in fibers and full in protein, he said Quorn is also recognized as an environmentally friendly product.
"Compared to the animal products that are more resource-intensive and environmentally impactful, our plant-based product doesn’t require a lot of land and doesn't use huge amounts of water. We have a 50-meter fermentation tower and we use advanced technology to maintain environmental sustainability."