Bulgaria Needs New Approach to Nutrition

A Round table on future of the food took place last week in Sofia Tech Park, Sofia, Bulgaria. It was initiated by Association of Insect Producers and Processors in Bulgaria (APPIB) in partnership with the Bulgarian Startup Association (BESCO), Cleantech-Bulgaria – the Bulgarian representative of EIT Food, which is part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, Endeavor Bulgaria, the investment fund “Black Peak Capital”, “Harmonica”, NV3, with the support of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry. AmCham Bulgaria was represented at the event by Petya Kostova, Key Clients Manager at the Chamber.

The Round table was held under the name “The future of food – are we ready?”. It aimed to define how to position Bulgaria in the upcoming food revolution of alternative proteins. The event raised key nutrition issues and described the challenges that address the potential food crisis worldwide.

“Bulgaria is the only country among the other Balkan states where the alternative proteins industry has given a serious request for development. This is a real chance Bulgaria to become a leading producer of alternative foods” said Kremena Dervenkova, co-chair of APPIB.

“Till 2050, the demand for proteins will increase by 52%. Yet, we are not ready to meet this increase,” warned Dessislava Dimitrova from the Circular Economy Council to the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. According to her, the circular economy is a key solution to the need for new proteins combined with climate changes, as it reproduces the natural cycle in nature. Dimitrova quoted a study done by the World Bank in cooperation with the Circular Economy Council, in which 78% of the surveyed companies and non-governmental organizations indicated that there is no systematized regulatory framework which to support the introduction of the circular economy in Bulgaria. “Yet, there are positive examples of such a circular model and this is the company Nasekomo”, pointed out Desislava Dimitrova. She also presented the model of silkworm breeding, noting that “currently there is not a single factory in Bulgaria that produces this valuable textile raw material” despite of the fact that decades ago it was well developed industry in our country.

Mariana Hamanova, CEO of Cleantech-Bulgaria, alarmed that the nutrition problem does not only affect the poor countries. The European countries also need new solutions and a new approach to solve the nutrition crisis that is approaching. According to her, one of the examples for such an innovative approach is the alternative proteins production. She predicted that Europe, being more conservative than USA, is more likely to accept first the mass usage of the alternative proteins in feed and pet food industry.

Rosen Ivanov, managing partner in the investment fund “Black Peak Capital” also took place in the discussion. He shared a tendency showing that more and more networks of investors and consumers are gravitating around the idea of using alternative proteins.

The event ended with a call to establish a dialogue between the Bulgarian institutions and the companies from the sectors related to organic farming and alternative proteins – algae proteins, vegetable proteins, insect industry and cellular proteins production.