Hangzhou Food and Beverage Innovation Forum (食品饮料创新论坛)

While most eyes were fixed on the Shanghai Auto Show, there was a much tastier event happening in nearby Hangzhou.

That’s right, food food food. Food innovation, to be precise.

The FBIF2019 Food & Beverage Innovation Forum was held in Hangzhou from 23-25 April.

There were talks by people across the F&B industry, and exhibits featuring everything from robotics to probiotic strawberry milk.

Times like this make me grateful to have the perspective of a historian.  Change happens–it’s the one thing that you can always count on. What matters is the pace and direction.

As much as tech and transportation, change in China’s food–not just what people eat, but also food is packaged, sold and advertised–is growing exponentially. On the whole I think it’s a positive thing. Among much else, events like this demonstrate the new emphasis on sustainability. There were new biodegradables, talk of large scale hydroponics replacing long distance cold chains, and everyone was interested in the new Impossible Burger.

To the key question of when these changes will happen, the simple answer is “as soon as it is profitable.”  But that’s a key difference with China–just like stopping smoking or building high speed rail, once the government decides that sustainability is a priority, the necessary changes will happen overnight. I’ll leave the question of when to the historians of the future.

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