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  • Friederike

05 - Interview with Daniel Skaven Ruben - How we gonna nourish 10bn people in a sustainable way?

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Daniel Skaven Ruben is Head of Strategy & Special Projects at Swedish plant-based cheese startup Stockeld Dreamery.

Prior to that, he was a consultant to The Rockefeller Foundation Food Initiative during 2017-2021, supporting the Foundation’s work to advance a more nourishing and sustainable food system. Daniel has also worked as an expert for the World Bank in Washington D.C. (2015-2016) on issues around technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Daniel is a mentor for several FoodTech accelerators, a venture partner to four foodtech VC firms, and is an advisor to a number of AgTech and FoodTech startups. He curates the newsletter FoodTech Weekly and co-hosts The Appetizer podcast.

You can listen to this new episode on Spotify:

You can also listen to this podcast at Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or other major podcast distributors.

In this episode we will talk about:

How do we nourish people [10bn] in a sustainable way in the future?

  1. The feeding GAP - how to feed 10bn people in 2050 by not using more agriculture land, not emitting more carbon and less water.

  2. The history of nourishment of an increasing population.

  3. Food is responsible for 25% of annual greenhouse emissions, 70% freshwater use, 50% of all land use.

  4. We discuss 3 solutions and existing companies for reducing GHG emission while feeding the world:

  5. Increase productivity in agriculture (crops, animals, fertilizers, etc.) by using technology such as sensors, Satellit, robotics, vertical farming, cold chain optimization in Africa, etc.

  6. Reduce food waste in developed countries (we throw 1/3 away) by increasing awareness, alarm systems for due dates, dynamic pricing, sustainable packaging, circular solutions, fair pricing by total cost accounting, etc.

  7. Shift diets from animal based protein, sugar, sodium to more fruit and vegetable, nuts, omega 3 based food, etc.

  8. Why is it so difficult to implement these solutions? We talk about the missing true cost accounting in the food chain.

  9. How your plate should look like to nourish you well.

  10. We are looking into the future and the challenges to scale them: Personalized nutrition, AI based nutrition analysis, increasing consumer demand towards origin, components and nutrition levels of food, plant-based protein, lab-grown protein, precision fermentation food.

  11. Where would Daniel invest into the next 5 years?

  12. Potential book title about himself: Incurable Optimist.

Great quotes from the episode by Daniel:

How do we nourish people [10bn] in a sustainable way in the future?
Working in concert with nature.
Food is complex like climate change. We don't understand how many small decision over time lead to a disaster in the end.
Food is very personal. Food is identity. Food is where we come from, where we are, where we are going. Food is culture.

More Information:



Newsletter: FoodTech Weekly

Podcast: The Appetizer podcast.

Mentioned companies, studies, books, researchers, etc.:

Apeel Science - Apeel uses materials that exist in the peels, seeds, and pulp of all fruits and vegetables to create a protective extra peel that seals moisture in and keeps oxygen out. That means our produce stays fresh, nutritious, and delicious twice as long.

Too God to go - We dream of a planet with no food waste, and every day we're working on making that a reality.

Karma - Food waste is such a big problem. If we solve it, we'll ch ange the world.

We all have to eat, so even the biggest slackers can get on board!

Wasteless - At Wasteless, we're helping supermarkets and online grocery stores recapture the full value of their perishable products and reduce food waste through AI-powered dynamic pricing.

Wefarm - Farmers join Wefarm for free and become part of a community where members support one another with knowledge, reviews, and access to inputs and markets. Wefarm is used by 2.4 million farmers to gain a better position in the global supply chains that their output drives.

Ignitia is the world’s first and most accurate tropical weather forecasting company. With over 84% reliability, Ignitia’s proprietary forecasting model predicts tropical weather patterns down to a hyperlocal range. The forecasts are delivered to West African farmers via SMS in partnership with mobile network operators.

Gap minder

The Norrsken Impact Accelerator brings together a global collective of entrepreneurs and investors in Stockholm, Sweden.

David Zilber - Fermentation process at Noma

Upside Food - precision fermentation food.

Perfect Day, Inc. is a food technology startup company based in Berkeley, California, that has developed processes of creating dairy proteins, including casein and whey, by fermentation in microbiota, specifically from fungi in bioreactors, instead of extraction from bovine milk.

Precision fermentation is a technology that enables the programming of micro-organisms to produce complex organic molecules, such as proteins, at 'a fraction of the cost' we do now.

Productivity of chickens

Global Burden of Disease - Most comprehensive global study—analysing 286 causes of death, 369 diseases and injuries, and 87 risk factors in 204 countries and territories—reveals how well the world’s population were prepared in terms of underlying health for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assessing Transitions to Sustainable Agricultural and Food Systems: A Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE)

The prokaryote-derived CRISPR–Cas genome editing technology has altered plant molecular biology beyond all expectations. Characterized by robustness and high target specificity and programmability, CRISPR–Cas allows precise genetic manipulation of crop species, which provides the opportunity to create germplasms with beneficial traits and to develop novel, more sustainable agricultural systems

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens and Jennifer Doudna of the University of California, Berkeley, for their discovery of the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors that have revolutionized genome editing (1).

Jason Drew Book: The story of the fly

Rockefeller Foundation

Climate Change Conference COP26

More Information:



Newsletter: FoodTech Weekly

Podcast: The Appetizer podcast.

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