Program update: focusing on smart farming and food & health

F&A Next 2017’s program focuses two of food and agri most significant innovative spearheads: the shift towards smart farming and the convergence of food and health. Rabobank’s Jeroen Leffelaar explains why.

Smart Farming

‘I think we are all aware of the necessity to farm “smarter” in order to improve yields and to meet changing consumer demand in the various parts of the world whilst reducing the ecological footprint. Probably less of us are aware of the complexity; it differs per crop, geography, local farming conditions, etc. And whilst there is no single solution, we do feel the impact of a global declining farming acreage per capita land and a changing climate. At F&A Next we will address the gradual shift to smart farming from all angles, including farmers who will elaborate on their challenges and are keen to debate solutions with the audience.

The convergence of food and health

‘The convergence of food and health is fuelled by changing consumer behaviour as a consequence of increasing purchasing power, urbanisation and westernisation of food consumption(s). This is collectively impacting human health. The facts are clear: some 2 billion people around the world are overweight, 30% of these 2 billion people is obese; the impact on the cost of healthcare, labour productivity and overall vitality is massive. The food industry can play an important role in improvement of our wellbeing by offering healthier nutrition, tailored to our individual requirements. There are many innovations in food for the prevention or early treatment of diseases especially those related to aging. We will debate such innovations, receptivity by consumers and the various challenges related to the convergence of healthcare and mainstream food.’

The F&A Next 2017 program in a nutshell (speakers will be confirmed and announced soon!)

On Wednesday afternoon, F&A Next will address the relevance of corporate involvement in disruptive innovation and the needs of (early stage) start-ups. F&A Next will also host the first European edition of FoodBytes! for ground-breaking pitches.

  • Interactive discussion: Where to go for seed capital, 4 early stage investors        are challenged on their propositions
  • Keynote: Changing consumer behaviour and the urge for (disruptive) innovation
  • Interactive discussion: Corporate involvement in disruptive innovation, 4 corporates will elaborate on their different approaches to corporate innovation


  • FoodBytes!: 10 x 60 second pitches
  • FoodBytes!: 10 x 3.5 minute pitches plus audience Q & A
  • FoodBytes!: announcement of the people’s choice- & the judge’s choice-award
  • Networking: Drinks & Bytes

For Thursday we have programmed food and agri themes relevant for investors, start-ups, corporates ánd farmers. This year we will debate the gradual shift to smart farming from all relevant angles as last year’s edition provided the insight that investors and start-ups have a limited understanding of what farmers really require. In addressing the convergence of food and health, the other key theme, we will look beyond the trends by discussing the hype versus the facts, the impact of personalized food and the various challenges related to communicating health claims. In F&A Next style many start-ups will be involved in panel discussions, enabling them to motivate their solutions or innovations.


  • Introduction to the gradual shift to smart farming
  • A global farmer’s view on innovation in farming
  • From intuitive to data intensive farming


  • Interactive discussion: innovations for better agronomic decisions
  • The impact of climate change on farming practises
  • The growing need for crop innovation



  • Food&health – facts versus fairy tales
  • Food as healthcare
  • Personalized nutrition, just for You
  • Catalysing food & health innovations


  • Interactive discussion: convergence of food & health
  • Drinks & Bites
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