As the UN declares 2016 the international year of pulses, the sixth edition of the North American Sustainable Foods Summit in San Francisco on 20-22 January 2016 will open with a keynote presentation on plant-based proteins.

Daniel Imrie-Situnayake, Co-Founder of Tiny Farms, will discuss the potential of edible insects as a promising source of protein.While the mere thought of voluntarily eating insects and bugs would turn many green in the face, edible insects are an established part of the local food culture in different regions of the world.Not only are beetles, mealworms, grubs, crickets and other insects a highly-concentrated source of nutrients such as proteins and vitamins, but toasted weaver ants, deep-fried grasshoppers and sautéed silk worms are considered delicacies in many countries in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. According to The United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Administration (FAO), around 2 billion people worldwide eat insects as part of their regular diet. And there are almost 1,900 species of edible insects.

Tiny Farms was founded in 2012. The California-based firm specializes in designing and building insect farms. One of Tiny Farm’s projects is Open Bug Farm, a collaborative information resource for farmers, researchers, and enthusiasts who want to explore the world of edible insects and by-products.

Other topics for discussion at the Summit include clean label developments, sustainable packaging, environmental footprints, and the impact of new technologies on food ingredients. This new edition of the Summit comprises two interactive workshops followed by four dedicated conference sessions according to event organizer Organic Monitor.
Amarjit Sahota, President of Organic Monitor, will host a workshop on the global market for eco-labeled foods. Xavier Vital from SGS will conduct a workshop on environmental impacts; a must attend for food & beverage firms looking to take practical steps to lower their environmental footprints.

The marketing session will present developments and latest data in the “free-from” food sector.

Participants will also receive an update on GM labeling in the US and metrics on the packaging life-cycle of food and beverage products.

Victor Bell from Environmental Packaging International will show how changes in design and materials can significantly change packaging footprints. Corbion will give an update on the use of biopolymers in packaging applications. Other highlights include novel forms of green packaging followed by sustainable packaging case studies.

The North American Sustainable Foods Summit is part of the successful series at that Organic Monitor has offered since 2009. The other Foods Summits are in Europe (9-10th June, Amsterdam) and Latin America (29-30th June, São Paulo).