Sustainable food systems: towards a joint Asia-Europe strategy for the internationalisation of agri-food SMEs
In February 2022, the partners of the Global Foodture project have organised two workshops with stakeholders and network partners with the goal of establishing a joint strategy for the international development of agri-food SMEs in Asia and Europe.
Global Foodture is a project whose goal is to boost the sustainable transition of the food system worldwide. Focusing on Asia, in particular the markets of Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand, Global Foodture is led by a consortium of six European Cluster organisations (Food & Bio Cluster Denmark, FOOD+I, Vitagora, Flanders’FOOD, ITC – Innovation Technology Cluster Murska Sobota and Packaging Cluster). This project receives funding from the European Union’s COSME - Clusters Go International program.
Identifying partners and business potential
As a part of the Work Package 1 of Global Foodture, coordinated by project partner Vitagora, an initial program has been carried out with a mapping of Asian partners, as well as analyses of market potential, needs and opportunities in the four target countries in Asia. On this basis, a number of Asian network partners were invited to take part in a virtual workshop on February 17th, 2022. The goal of this workshop was to create a roadmap for a joint strategy between Europe and Asia for the international development of SMEs, as well as building alliances for initiatives in favour of combatting climate change.
The participants of this workshop included key Asian scientific and cluster organisations such as NARO (Japan), Foodpolis (South Korea), Foodinnopolis (Thailand) and the International Association for Agricultural Sustainability (IAAS) based in Singapore.
A second workshop was also held in February, this time of European partners with expertise in supporting the international development of SMEs. Positive feedback from both workshops suggests a strongly favourable context for launching a joint Asia-Europe initiative in this area.
A roadmap of needs and actions
As a result of the two Asia and Europe workshops, a number of needs and corresponding actions were identified to offer SMEs to aid their internationalisation.
Priority topics were identified for maximising the impact on sustainable food systems, including personalised foods, plant proteins, sustainable packaging, food waste reduction and water management. Discussions were also held regarding a program of support actions to address the needs of players offering solutions in these areas, for example master classes, training sessions, matchmaking sessions and business expeditions.
The next steps for Global Foodture project include extending the network of Asian partners, with the input of participating organisations, and initiating a screening of European and Asian SMEs potentially able to benefit from the program. The first actions of the joint international strategy will be implemented by the end of 2022 and will continue for the 30-month timeframe of the Global Foodture project.