London’s first ever Food Tech Week kicks off on Friday, pledging a week-long celebration of food, whilst focusing our country’s tech capabilities on igniting change across our food economies and ecosystems. Co-founder and CEO, Victoria Albrecht, wants the week to help shape a view of tech that concentrates on applying solutions to bigger problems. We caught up with her over a bowl of brain food (quinoa and amaranth porridge with cinnamon), to find out how she succeeded in bringing London’s leading innovators, food brands, start-ups and entrepreneurs together, to tackle the biggest challenges in food and agriculture today.
How did London Food Tech Week come about?
Whilst at University in Scotland I set up my own food festival, inviting start-ups and producers who worked with organic and local produce to get involved. We started small but had a big vision and ended up with over 50 stalls. After university I travelled to San Francisco and witnessed the amazing food tech industry out there. They’re harnessing the potential of tech and creating solutions to huge global problems. I came back inspired and started talking with my co-founder Nadia El Hadery, about how we could do the same with the talent we have in London. Initially we came up with the idea of a Food Hackathon to facilitate industry problems over one weekend. But our ideas grew and we’ve ended up combining talks and live panel discussions with events such as our TEDx Future of Food, building a while week dedicated to food tech. We’re working with Google, Edelman PR, TEDx and so many more great companies to deliver an amazing series of events.
What do you think London has to offer for this event?
In San Francisco they’re solving very real problems such as drought because it’s such an immediate threat to them. Here we’re blessed that we can address big problems before they’ve happened. This week will be really important in shaping future approaches to sustainability in food and agriculture.
Nadia El Hadery and Victoria Albrecht
What do you think is key to moving forwards, what are industry innovators already doing in the UK?
It’s about shaping space to use technology within. A good example of this is FoodCloud. Founders Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien came together with an idea of something they wanted to facilitate. They didn’t set out to form a company. As a result they were able to work within the infrastructures of existing companies such as Tesco to make big changes with reducing food waste. It's a really nimble way to affect change.
Jamie Oliver Limited are challenging the London Food Tech Week Hackathon
So tell us, what events should we be most excited about at Food Tech Week?
So many, but especially our Food Hackathon with Jamie Oliver Limited about Hacking Nutrition, our TEDx Future of Food discussion and Food of Genius. Also, check out talks with Tim West from the San Francisco Food Hackathon and Lesley Zigler Co-Founder of Bitty Foods.
You can’t predict the future but you can create it
Your energy is really infectious; it feels like your facilitating such a positive change in attitudes.
Thanks! There’s a very cheesy quote: ‘You can’t predict the future but you can create it’. It rings very true for me and that’s what we’re trying to do with London Food Tech Week.
There’s going to be a real buzz in London from October 16th-23rd as the finest tech brains come together to ignite change. Make sure don’t miss out, you’ll find a full line up of events here. And if you can’t make the Food Hackathon don’t worry, we’ll be covering all three days here on the Creativepool magazine. We're staying up all night so you don’t have to!