Multivac and Handtmann Future Proteins conference ‘shows we’re on the right path’

More than 240 visitors from around the world convened at Multivac headquarters to take part in the “Future Proteins” conference and hear more about food products from alternative protein sources.

Although alternative proteins have succeeded in making the leap from niche products to the mainstream, questions remain around entry into this growth market. What are the trends in products and the market? How do I produce a tasty and healthy product? And how can I design my production to be efficient, sustainable and safe? These and many other questions were addressed in the “Future Proteins” conference, which Multivac and Handtmann held from 1 – 3 February 2023 in Wolfertschwenden, Germany.

The visitors were shown food products, which are often particularly delicate, and which consequently have to be processed and packaged in a very gentle way such as Camembert alternatives made from cashew milk, shrimps made from soya, and cutlets made from chickpeas.

“The event was a unique opportunity for the participants to learn not only about the current trends in alternative proteins, but also about the latest sustainable and efficient solutions for processing and packaging these products,” said Dr Tobias Richter, director and CSO of the Multivac Group. “I was very impressed to see the wealth of ideas, which inspire this forward-looking sector, as well as the range of products that arise from these alternative protein sources, and also how great the demand is for sustainable processing and packaging. In short: The “Future Proteins” conference has shown, that we are on the right path.”

Over three days the organisers and the Industry Association of Alternative Protein Sources (BALPro) included presentations by outside speakers from the spheres of science, research and industry, which were then followed by podium discussions – on subjects such as product trends, opportunities for market positioning, and ways of reducing the CO2 footprint of packaging over the entire life cycle.

Between the talks the conference visitors exchanged views over finger food and refreshments, while also making visits to the Market Place. There the organisers, together with various players – from ingredient suppliers to film manufacturers – along the entire added value chain, presented a wide range of solutions for the manufacture, processing and packaging of alternative proteins.

Events in the evening provided opportunities for networking over communal meals, and these rounded off the daily program of sessions.

“The feedback from the conference participants was outstanding,” said Harald Suchanka, CEO of Handtmann. “The visitors appreciated the opportunity to expand their horizons, to network with experts and like-minded people, as well as to develop solutions together for the pressing questions of the future in a relatively new growth market.” Also highly popular was the “Meet the Experts” format. Here more than 60 experts were available for half an hour of individual discussion with the conference participants.

Deep dive sessions demonstrated of real machine solutions for processing and packaging alternative solutions. The demonstrations ranged from semi-automatic individual machines right up to fully automatic, industrial-scale line solutions from Multivac and Handtmann, all of which featured the processing and packaging of sliced, minced and formed products, as well as other items such as convenience foods and spreads.

“We have now completed more than 100 projects in the alternative proteins sector,” said Klaus Deniffel, project manager for alternative proteins at Multivac. Experienced project managers accompany customers at every stage – from the first idea and design of the concept right up to the final efficiency adjustments by the digital Multivac Smart Services.

“Each individual solution is configured independently, so that every manufacturer is supported during the challenges in their transformation of proteins.”

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