The Global Midwest Alliance hosted the second annual Midwest Food Matters Leadership Award Gala on May 24 followed by a half-day seminar focused on the impact of technology, climate change and consumer preference as driving forces of change in the food industry. The seminar included experts in economics, business development, nutrition, food science and food manufacturing and development. “Food manufacturing continues to play a key role in strengthening the economy and one of the strongest growth areas for the national food industry remains the dynamic Midwest market” – Gail Longmore CEO & Managing Director of the Global Midwest Alliance.
Bob Brackett, VP of the Illinois Institute of Technology Food Safety and Health discussed why the Midwest is now internationally recognized as a Thought Leader and a leader in innovation and business growth. “The Midwest is home to some of the best agriculture and food Science departments in the world, this is where new food processing and food technologies are developed and validated and this is where the current and future employees are educated. These institutions are where US food and agriculture leaders are born.” Since the 1800’s the Midwest has defined and led the global marketplace in food and is poised to continue this legacy.
Hakim Bouzamondo of Abbott Nutrition shared details of future initiatives in pediatric and geriatric health. Recent studies show the disconnect between medical treatment and nutrition and how new research indicates nutrition habits can assist in treatment and prevention of illness. For ageing populations the most exciting news in brain research points to strong links on how nutrition can help with cognitive decline including dementia. Mr. Bouzamondo also discussed the company’s continuing emphasis in providing optimal nourishment to people in underdeveloped countries with a peanut based paste including teaching best practices in farming and processing of the peanuts locally.
Griffith Foods Worldwide received the Leadership Award for their impact on the Midwest food industry. Griffith Foods is a global developer and producer of customized food ingredients headquartered in Alsip, Illinois. Brian Griffith, chairman of the board at Griffith Foods, accepted the award on behalf of the organization, and reflected on the importance of collaboration to meet future challenges. “By 2050, there will be nine billion people on earth; that’s a 25 percent increase over today’s population,” Griffith said during his remarks. “In the Midwest, we have unique access to natural resources, agricultural, top research institutions and technology, and we will need to work together to develop innovative solutions.
$250,000 was raised at the Gala and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Feeding America and the Global Food Bank America.