Seeds & Chips Global Food Summit, Milan, Day 1:
From the keynote by Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, “We are not in the business of serving coffee. We are in the business of serving people,” and, “Plant based foods [are the thing to watch].” Asked about leadership in America, Schultz slyly responded: “I think our best days are ahead of us.” More, “You must find balance between profit and social impact/responsibility, businesses focused solely on making money, [are not sustainable].” Of course, day one was about much more than Howard and the Starbuck’s that’s going to open in Milan later this year. A sea of food startup hopefuls, scientists, vertical farmers, food futurists, and food people are here in Milan. The discussion is about what is to come, the future of nutrition, our food, and our planet. A lot of the discussion is also about how to have the discussion. With so many here focused on what is clearly a global issue, part of the problem is getting consumers to care. After all, demand still drives the marketplace. Getting accurate information to consumers, free of the spin of corporate desire, but focused on human and planetary health, seems the play. The truth is both scary, and hopeful. More to come.