Christoph Langwallner, the Co-Founder and CEO of WhatIF Foods, is a serial entrepreneur with outreach in Austria, the UK, Russia, India, China, Singapore, and the APAC region. He is obsessed with impactful disruptions that make our foods nutritious while protecting our planet’s scarce resources. We produce enough calories for 10 billion people, yet every second, we lose forests the size of a soccer field. Seven out of ten people suffer from what they eat, and overeating kills three times more people than famine! An insane system that Christoph calls the Nutritional Paradox. Find out what WhatIF Foods is doing to resolve this Nutritional Paradox. Learn how we can reclaim and restore our food system with the judicious application of impactful disruptions.
Nutrition Paradox Website – https://www.nutritionalparadox.com/
What If Foods Website – https://whatif-foods.com/
Speaker 1 (00:00:24):[Inaudible]
Speaker 2 (00:00:49):
Welcome everybody to another edition of pandemic funded trees are putting the planet at abandonment dime. We are thrilled honored to have Christophe London Wallner. He is the CEO or founder of what if, and also runs a a nonprofit called the nutrition paradox. And he will talk to us a little bit about both those endeavors. He’s got a great sort of background and we’ll, we’ll discover that as we go through, but this is going to be a I know of a very fascinating discussion, a timely discussion and so welcome to pandemic Pandolfi Christophe. Thank you very much. Thank you very much for having me. I’m really looking forward to this conversation. Oh yeah, we, so are we so if you could give us a little bit of a background. I know you have a food tech background from, and you were born in Austria.
Speaker 2 (00:01:43):
You know, what was your sort of raw or career part, like, I mean, from where you were in the sciences and your homes, I’m assuming you’re still there. How did that sort of evolve to, to this current role that you have? Well, I grew up in Austria on a, in a family business surrounded with cows producing milk for a local dairy. My grandfather, my father, my uncle making sausages for the village and for the community. My grandmother mound my aunt and probably a few others were actually then cooking out food for, in our restaurant, serving it to people that attended a wedding or party, or what have you, or just a day to day meal coming in. So that was a perfect supply chain because literally you knew literally each and every single animal onto your plate of your customer. So that was great, great experience, a great journey to grow up like that, to be honest I’ve always had such a, of I looked at agriculture, obviously growing up. My mom encouraged me a lot to actually study and to do a degree. It’s a diploma degree in agriculture. And later on, I decided, because I really fell in love with learning. I said, okay, let me let me see what else is out there. And
Speaker 3 (00:03:00):
I picked up food science and technology was a huge focus of meat processing on the way. So that was that got me then going, that set me up for taking out quality control roles in companies, as well as R and D roles in companies. And about 20 over years my wife and I decided to leave our, to leave us two behind. And we said initially after two years, we were back I guess that didn’t happen because we don’t move to the UK. I worked for a multinational for several years. It was a fantastic exposure, super experience, 2011, sorry, 2001, September 11th, 2001 changed a little bit all of our plants, I guess. And so it did for us and we moved on, I moved down to help an Austin entrepreneur in Russia gain that sort of experience. And then in 2005, I started a company to just stay known as [inaudible], which is a company producing seeds and namings in Caroline India.
Speaker 3 (00:03:56):
So relocated my entire family to Carola and had had a fantastic time, super community best friends still out there hope, few of them listening and tuning in that would be fantastic. Yeah. And then after building this and taking the company through the financial crisis, 2008, 2009, which was a very, very difficult part, a difficult journey, of course I then started it in China exited from it because of motivations. Probably we can talk about it a bit later on, but then about five years ago, I started to build a company that is today known as well, the foods.
Speaker 2 (00:04:37):
And so, so, okay. So let’s step back a second. I’m sure Catholic has done a question as well. So I think our audience is sort of curious to find out what exactly do you mean by a nutrition paradox? And I think let’s set the stage a little bit before we get into what is to understand sort of the motivation behind it and the reason that you actually started what it foods. So what, what is this nutrition paradox and why is it a paradox?
Speaker 3 (00:05:06):
So over the decades, obviously somebody like somebody like me with some sort of exposure on a global basis has the opportunity to see a fair, a fair bit, and what became apparent to me over the last five years early on create creating a new journey, a new corporate entity, whilst that at times I had to explain really what’s going on in food and agriculture and what the system is all about and what’s broken. And it was quite an eyeopening experience for me that so many people, even within the industry have very little comprehensive few on the system per se. So we started the churn, it was a couple of colleagues and I, we basically sat down on a weekend and they said, so let us just write down what we know, have a backbone of a document, and then try to do it as research and see whether not we can beef this all up with evidence.
Speaker 3 (00:06:01):
And so we did, and I guess a few months later we developed a white paper that then brought things together and say, you know, from the notion that you are what you eat from that notion we started, but in today’s day and age, that is not true anymore because we and our planet, we are what we eat. So the notion of a one on one relationship with our food is not true anymore because our action on a day to day basis determines in which environment we are living in climate change and all of these passwords out there. So that motivated us to basically say, Hey, we need to bring this word out a little bit more, make sure that people understand and learn with us as to what the problems are. And we started to call it the nutritional paradox driven by so many paradoxical situation in that system. I gave you a few of those, if you, if you wish, for example, in today’s day and age, hypothetically, if you count all the calories together that we produce on farms, we produce enough calories for 10 billion people already,
Speaker 2 (00:07:06):
But that’s significant. And that’s significant because we have 8 billion people already on the planet, right? So we have about 7 billion, seven, yeah.
Speaker 3 (00:07:16):
About 7.8 billion people on the planet right now. And there’s this big concern about food security that by 2050 to feed 10 billion people, we have a problem with the food supply. But as a matter of fact, this is not a planet, our own planets production capacity issue. It is a human distribution issue, both in terms of supply chains, because in developing countries, a lot of food up to 40% at times gets lost between the farm to the primary process. And in developed countries where these sort of supply chains are streamlined in developed countries, such as United States, Europe, and so and so forth, the consumers and cruise lines retailers. So I say in the fridges, we are losing 30, 40%. So we’re losing a lot of food waste on the way as to how we treat it. Then there is another part of people about 2.3 billion people today are overweight and obese.
Speaker 3 (00:08:15):
So there’s an over consumption of calories. But at the same time, we had about 800 million people under nourished, not enough food, right? So there’s this dilemma in here that we are overeating by. We have still hung on that planet. And last but not least the calories that we consume in terms of biofuels are not used to the food supply chain anymore. So this conversion of food into fuel is another challenge that takes actually calories away from a supplies into food. So the main point I’m trying to make is that despite our population growth up to 10 billion, we do not have a production capacity issue in terms of the planets production capacity, because we already produce enough calories for our hypothetical 10 billion people notion this is a hypothetical figure. I’m painting here a scenario, right? So what we have set out with the nutrition paradox is to dig deeper into it and say, what is going on here?
Speaker 3 (00:09:16):
Why is it the way it is? Why, for example, are they producing one third of all, greenhouse gases? You know, the other culture, the agro food industry admits admits more greenhouse gases, then all transportation that is Lancy and water. Isn’t that crazy? You don’t think about it a few years, but that is reality. So the greenhouse gas emissions are huge. 77% of our arable land is basically for livestocks. Just pause here for a second and think 77% of arable land that we use is to feed livestock for 17% of calories that we consume. How inefficient is that system? 70% of water or fresh freshwater reserves that are being used are used by the agricultural industry. And on top of this, you know, on top of this resource dilemma, we then have an issue whereby we have diversified away biodiversity. Agrobiodiversity what I really refer to is 60% of the days, carbohydrate 60% percent of the day is calories or originate in three crops. And despite us knowing perfectly well that they consume can consume 300 or 1000 species fit for human consumption, right? So there’s a mismatch as to what we need in terms of our human bodies or digestive systems and what we actually produce. And therefore seven people out of 10 are actually sick and suffer from what we do because of 2.6 billion people are overweight and obese. And 2.3 billion people are what we call nutritionally challenged. I know I’m bombarding you with a lot of,
Speaker 2 (00:11:11):
No, no, these are fascinating facts. I want to revisit a couple of them. So, so 60% of you know of the, of the calories that we reproduce come from three crops, I assume that’s corn, wheat and rice, correct? Correct. Yes. Okay. So, and you said, was it 300 or 300,000 other food source source out there?
Speaker 3 (00:11:31):
So 300,000 or three,
Speaker 2 (00:11:34):
See a hundred thousand. Okay.
Speaker 3 (00:11:36):
Three legs of species are known for human consumption, not species includes crops, plants, and insects. And our ancestors would have picked up on the way, right? But in the more modern day and age, about 30,000 plants are known human consumption. So $30, we have 30,000 plants. Yet we have streamlined down to three crops making 60% of our consumed calories. Now that data point there, if you’re interested is 12 crops and five animals today supply 75% of all food that we consume. It’s just 12 crops and five animals. Yeah. 12 crops and five animals be close to 75% of all food that we consume. Okay. So that is an equation that is very unhealthy for both the consumers and the people out there because they don’t get the diversity into the diets that they need in order to be, to be nourished well nourished and therefore have a decent life.
Speaker 3 (00:12:33):
And there’ll be, and on the other extreme end is our planet because we have taken away the agrobiodiversity so that our farming communities would have the ability to actually do crop rotations and have a vibrant farm with a lot of different producers. We took this all away. So it’s all about monocultures day, all about crop protections and so on and so forth. So not only is the planet suffering, not only are the consumer suffering, but also the community, the farming community per se is suffering. And I don’t have to tell you, you just opened a newspaper everyday in the morning, and you can find that as another farmer who has committed suicide, when a bead in Australia, in the UK or bead in India, farmers are committing suicide all over the place.
Speaker 2 (00:13:12):
And what, and how of the world’s population of 7.8 billion, as you said, how many, how, what percentage of that, or what number of that are farmers or people who produce food?
Speaker 3 (00:13:24):
So are the stats that I have on top of my mind is that they’re about 2.6 billion people directly connected to the agricultural industry. 2.6 billion people. If I expand a little bit on that, then I can share with you that 2.6 billion peoples directly connected to the farming industry today are challenged because 52% of editable land is severely degraded already, or is degrading in a rapid speed. We are seeing today a 35 times faster iteration of arable land than ever seen in history. This is 23 soccer fields per minute of land that we are losing because it is just not productive anymore because the soils are becoming so poor because of improper practices. And I don’t have to tell you if 2.6 billion people are connected directly, doctor culture, that most of them, 74% are the quarters of the poor. They suffer the most. So the OACD came out very recently to basically warn everybody to say, if we do not come up with a more vibrant and resilient farming community, we are going to set them in motion because they become climate change refugees.
Speaker 3 (00:14:41):
We are bringing them into a stream of migration that otherwise would not be there because they don’t have a meaningful livelihood anymore, right? They’re not making making enough for a proper living. So that is all of this is the nutrition and paradox. There are so many paradoxical situations in it. You can pick and choose, and I can bounce figures off to you. And that’s what we called the nutrition paradox, all of that combined. They’re quite happy to share with your audience and with yourself, the resources, this is our open platform. It’s there for everybody to understand and learn and participate and share and voice out opinions. It’s our non-for-profit, as you have said, is our open, open source platform for everybody to join him and Kristoff,
Speaker 4 (00:15:28):
Sorry, we we’ve just got live questions coming in larvae, which is relevant to what Christoph is discussing right now. And the question is, is there a role for technology driven quality assessment to help this particular situation?
Speaker 3 (00:15:46):
This is a fascinating question. The reason is because there’s actually a lot of VC money and otherwise invest the money in the technology aspect of agriculture. My answer is this. If we bring in technology to bring in more efficiencies yet still do the wrong thing. We are just digging a deeper hole. In other words, we have to actually tackle the foundational challenges and then technology can help us, you know, technology can always help us, but the reality of the fact is, look, we have been working in Indonesia a number of years ago, and an average farmer, there has probably 25 coconut trees. I don’t have to give him technology to understand how the coconut tree looks like. The farmer knows his, his coconut trees better than probably he knows he, his house, you know, the plates in his house. For sure. So therefore technology has to, for me, technology has to have means in order to rectify a broken system and in order to make it easier to help these farming communities, rather than just trying to bring technology for the sake of technology into the system, that won’t really help us getting out of the, out of the situation we are. In
Speaker 4 (00:17:02):
What role does future fit crops as you call them in your website? What role does that play in ensuring that we’re helping the farming community as well as solving this nutritional paradox?
Speaker 3 (00:17:15):
So that’s the motivation behind are the future feed crops is exactly what I’ve referred to before. And that is that about 52% of arable land is severely degraded or is degrading. And if we want to bring meaningful livelihoods to these farming communities, we need to find crops that are climate change, resilient and grow on this degraded Arab land with meaningful yields. Now, what we do in, in my company is we don’t stop there because here it is just one dimension that you resolved, two dementias that you resolved. One is degraded out of Berlin, they’re going to make a useful, so you rejuvenate that and you probably have an impact on the farming community, but for us, future feed crops are also such crops that are beneficial for human health. So we wouldn’t just grow as farming communities to grow a future feed crops for the sake of of the former, if we do not see a benefit for, for for all our human diets and especially they are driven by diversifying our diets by really taking a stand and say, if we eat today, let’s eat at least five, six, seven different products so that we help not only our bodies and all the justice system, but also the degraded allover land.
Speaker 3 (00:18:32):
Did you rejuvenate that if you do it smartly as well as the farming communities? So we have a checklist and if the, if a forgotten Groppe or an orphan crop meet certain needs this criteria, then we call it the future feed crop. It’s a good, it’s a term that we have coined that indicates that we think about these three things, degraded, arable, land farming, community resilience, as well as developing a proper nutrition for us as, as humans who consume our foods. Kristoff. If you, if people know these, the facts and information about the nutritional paradox, that’s available on a website for your nonprofit, can you, if you share that it’s an attrition of paradox.com quite easy to find and probably can, if you ha, if you want just come and visit my LinkedIn profile, you will find all the resources and that our friends at LinkedIn, I wanted, I wanted to get the plugin, but, you know, I’m sure people are going to ask that question eventually. So I know you have your place very, very useful.
Speaker 4 (00:19:37):
So we talked about obesity on one hand first off, and then you spoke about malnutrition, but I remember you also talking about this concept of hidden hunger. Can you explain to the audience what that means and how you’re hoping to solve that with the work that you do?
Speaker 3 (00:19:55):
Yup. With pleasure. I’m going to go into a little bit more detail there in, in earlier stage of our discussion here. I mentioned that there are about 2 billion people being nutritionally challenged as we call them within that bucket of 2 billion people, we would dice. There’s an increasing growing trend of hidden hunger. Now, what is hidden hunger, hidden hunger refers to an under supply of micronutrients in our foods. So to me to think about this is if you, if you think about people that are undernourished and particularly children that suffer from standing or wasting, you see that you see it immediately, they are just, you know, you have the images in mind that don’t have to remind you of how the kids look like at the same token. And the same time. If I talked to you about obesity, overweight, we know we know how they look like because they have their bellies.
Speaker 3 (00:20:47):
Now hidden hunger is much more difficult to diagnose because you just don’t see it. Okay. The hidden hunger is in a population whereby one person has a perfectly well balanced body mass index, no problem at all to the outside world, but there is not enough micronutrient supply or one sided micronutrient supply. And then, you know, they have challenges with their, with their systems, with all sorts of things are coming sort of very difficult to diagnose, but very easy to doctor diversified, dire, putting micronutrients back into the system, just as another notion to the food system and we’ll be eating right. Most of our ingredients that we use are refined in nature. So what does it mean? It means we’re taking fibers out of our diet and with the, Biorefining also take the micronutrients of atrial the diet. So those are typically two sources of, of that problem, the hidden hunger issue, we call it nutritionally challenged because even, and if I may just elaborate a little bit more on the nutritional challenge sort of category we, we basically say even if today, you know, that you are suffering from not well balanced diet, even if you know, healthy eating is rather expensive.
Speaker 3 (00:22:03):
And that’s actually, you know, if you think about junk food in today’s day and age, it’s cheaper than your five portions of food, the vegetables, there are parts of the world where water is more expensive than beer. And one has to ask the question, is that the right, is that the right trend to really the runner? You know, to see that, you know, your five, five portions of fruit and vegetables should be, should be cheap because they are nourishing us. But unfortunately it is not the case. So we refer to the nutritionally challenged category, not only to hidden hunger, but we also include people that actually don’t have the means the income, the dollars available for them to actually buy themselves a healthy, diversified diet, because it is expensive to eat well is expensive.
Speaker 4 (00:22:51):
There were five common sort of micronutrient deficiencies that dr. Sort of side, right, which is between a iodine, iron zinc and folate. Are those the sort of things that you are addressing as well? Or is it a wider range of micronutrient deficiencies?
Speaker 3 (00:23:10):
So I’m not a doctor I’m not qualified to give you the sort of answers there. And but the standard I’m taking is the following. There are certain populations because where they are at, where they’re located at, and because of, for example, their water that they have, or the soil that they’re growing, the major fruits are foods on those sorts of populations need an intervention, because if they have, for example, an iron deficiency, then you need to have an intervention program here. Now there are specialized NGOs, they are specialized people who have governments, and those are the interventions must take place here. The, if there is political Goodwill, it will happen. If there is political elbow, it will not happen. Okay. That is not part of the nutrition, paradox. Intervention is not part of the tissue part. What is part of the nutrition paradox is to diversify our crop portfolio on the plants that we consume in order to overcome micronutrient deficiency in a broader context.
Speaker 3 (00:24:13):
The reason is that we have done a mathematical model. Now, frankly, our computers in our office couldn’t actually do it anymore. We had to go to a university and switch on a big computer in order to compute that what we’ve done is we have compared and contrasted our ancestors’ diet, you know, hunters and gatherers. They were basically picking about 300 different plants insects and so on and so forth every now and then I ride by, they’d probably be wanting to bloom on a DFW where if they were lucky those sorts of tires compare contrast with our modern diet. And you see that there is a seven Google difference in terms of potential first and primary Metropol lights that our bodies are being, being being hit with that in Google ads is 10 to the power of 700. That’s the difference. Now, science, to be honest is at the beginning of understanding the complexity, right? Do you know of, for example, scurvy and vitamin C, we know because our sales have suffered in the early days, right. We know all of that, but there are so many layers that, that are there to be explored. So therefore, to combat that, diversify your diet, have your fibers, have your micronutrients coming from, from a richness of a diagnosis like that,
Speaker 2 (00:25:35):
Just individually speaking. I mean so if, if you’re listening if our audience is listening, they’re absorbing the message that you are giving. Should we sort of do a, an assessment individually say, Hey, how much diversity do we have in our particular ed? So for one week sort of, you know, use a food diary and say, you know, I ate eight or nine or 10 or only three or two types of vegetables and this much of grains and this much of meat or whatever, I mean, is that a useful exercise for somebody to do, to understand how where they fit in, in this sort of a continuum of diversity of, of the food you eat, I think, would that be a helpful exercise for people to understand and do, I mean maybe you know, average that out, I think in many will fall under, I guess under 10 or 15, maybe in some cases, especially if you’re living in, in the developed world. But I think in, in parts of Asia, it’s, it’s maybe a little less, I don’t know, I’m making an assumption there, but would that be a useful exercise?
Speaker 3 (00:26:42):
Any conscious that helps us to break bad habits is welcome. If it means that we count how many different species and plants and so on, so forth eat in a day or a week, and you get the consciousness going and your brain and yourself and your family starts playing with what food really means for us is food, just the source of energy or is food an event where we sit together and have fun, have entertainment is colorful, it’s vibrant. It has this, it is hot. It is community, this wellbeing, it is belonging. It is richness. All of that is what food is to me and to us in our company. And that’s what we actually celebrate. But food should not be forgotten just to be energy and to be just, you know, it’s not, it’s not that we, so everything that consciously helps us to understand what we actually and makes us play with it so that it become, we become aware of, or be is, is, is more than the, that brings me to the point that if you would actually start counting your different dishes that you eat and ingredients used in there, you start breaking habits, you probably start adopting different habits.
Speaker 3 (00:28:03):
There are other techniques out there, go and do a fasting program. For example, you know, I’m speaking a lot about a hidden hunger and I speak a lot about hungry people, but I wanted to explore for myself, what does it actually mean to be hungry? And I went on a water fast for 10 days, and it was an eyeopening journey for me. I’m not recommending it. Please consult your doctor if you want to do it, but I’m just saying, play around with it and, and explore what it actually means to do such things, you know, and to explore a different Avenue in that context, if it’s okay. I just give you probably a little bit of a another layer of, of, of what is possible for us individually in order to bring change about. So I’m a very typical continental Europe guy. I’m 183 centimeters tall.
Speaker 3 (00:28:54):
And I, at one point in time had too many kilos on my bottom. I still have to do this on my phone. But I had about 120 530 kilos. I wanted to change my lifestyle and I started to be, become a flexitarian and from sort of flexibility. And I said from Monday to Friday, I’m not eating meat anymore, no meat anymore. And on Saturday, Saturday, Sunday, I enjoyed that with my family. If at all we eat from there, I became a vegetarian, I don’t touch meat anymore and hardly drink milk every now and then I just can’t say no to cheese, but what does that mean? It means that every year I am saving the planet from about 1,500 liters of petrol and its carbon footprint, because that is how much less of carbon footprint I actually consume for myself. And about 1 million liters of water I’m saving therefore enough for two or three or even four additional people on a day to day spaces for their fruits and vegetables. So the individual choices that we make have huge, huge leavers that we can unleash. Unfortunately, we don’t think like that. It’s like a little bit like boating, right? It, what does it mean? Why should I go and vote? But in a community it matters. And for us, you know, diet as well, individual choices do make a big difference if a community joins together and steps up. And even to the extent that a carbon footprint often of just eating meat, there’s about 1,500 meters of federal for average European it’s mind boggling to me.
Speaker 4 (00:30:32):
Okay. So we’ll just segue for a moment there. Christoph, we have a question coming in, live from the audience is cinnamon a future free crop. Sri Lanka is the largest cinnamon exporter and how can we do better
Speaker 3 (00:30:46):
When Cylon cinnamon and so on, so forth? There’s a definitely even if you look at our portfolio, we have an Apple cinnamon shape. And it’s a lovely ingredient. I think most Europeans have fondly remembered on Christmas. You could smell if we smell cinnamon do I really call it? Would I call it would I call it a future crop? I certainly would not. It’s a spice, it flavors up our dishes and what we actually do. And that’s hard, probably goes the Apple cinnamon shape in our portfolio. We use cinnamon in order to make future feed crops tastes nice and tastes different. And so it’s all about that exploring different flavors with it and so on and so forth. So per se, the crop itself, I would not classify and qualify as if it should be grown, but we need it desperately for for flavors and for the enjoyment and the excitement in our foods, frequent cinnamon was a flavoring ingredient or as with cardamom or maybe any other spices.
Speaker 3 (00:31:50):
So spices wouldn’t fall into this category, but what would something like millets yeah moringa, for example, would that be a future fit crop? And why that just, just so that people up here thank you very much for giving this opportunity to clarify this. Yeah. So for us, what’s important is that these crops grow on degraded arable land, meaning that land that is otherwise not productive anymore, and doesn’t produce income for farming communities. So setting this emotion, the trick that the training, the thought process is that crops, therefore that we consider future crops ought to be safer foods, staple crops, things like, for example, not your legumes or you mentioned millets, there’s four new out of it out of West Africa that is growing on a very, very poor soil. So those are crops that we would love to investigate or out of Europe, those crop called Philippines grows wherever soy doesn’t grow anymore.
Speaker 3 (00:32:57):
And these are vast areas of land and it has a decent deal and it has, it’s rich in plant protein and definitely investigate. There are a lot. And then there are a number of of more moringa. Certain there’s also one moringa is a, is a state before then the Indian conspiracy because of the drumsticks, but we use the, we use the, the Leafs and our philosophy here is if you have moringa trees in between of land, I’ve got a bland, you break the wind and hence stopped the solar ocean. The moment you have that. So, yeah, and it is a wonderful source of whitening, micro nutrients and the very interesting amino acid profile in terms of the protein that is in the Leafs. So yeah, those sort of, those sort of ideas,
Speaker 2 (00:33:47):
Just a little segue to sort of, sort of, so we’ve, I think exhaustively and in, on an incredibly insightful and detailed manner outline, you know, what, what are the constituent parts of the nutritional paradox? And I’m sure, I mean, certainly is for me, it’s been sort of a aha moment or several of them in terms of the numbers and the data that you’ve provided. So, so one way that you suggested and very, very well part of the individual impact one has one can have on this situation by adopting, like you did mostly vegetarian and even more, almost vegan diet as your individual contribution as a, as a, as a human on the planet. But I know that you’ve started a company called body foods. I see the packaging in the back of you. So you you’ve, you can tell us maybe a little bit about, you know, so you outline the paradox. You’ve created an organization, you open sourced all the data that you’ve collected over many years, what is, what if food’s done? Is that a way to resolve the nutrition paradox and how have you gone about doing that and what are you doing there? And that, that should be part of an interesting conversation on its own
Speaker 3 (00:35:02):
Lovely you’re spot on. Thank you very much. It is our answer to the nutrition paradox, how we have gone about it is to basically start, start walking the talk by, by, by saying, let’s identify a number of future feed crops. We can’t, we don’t believe we have the golden bullet. Okay. We don’t have to go and pull it, but we have certainly a number of answers to questions that bother not only us as consumers, but also the farming communities. So what we have done is basically we said, as an organization, we have to be sustainable. And what it means is we have to generate healthy profits in order to pay for the capital that is employed in the organization. So how can be look at future feed crops in a day and age where your mainstream crops are so cheap that a future feed crop would be on the first turf and the first surface of it not be competitive?
Speaker 3 (00:35:59):
How do we go about it? So what we did is we looked into, into things where we think, first of all, we produce rubbish food. And can we actually, by redesigning the food, bring in here opportunities where we take cost out and take this costs, the saving that they’ve generated to actually then engage with farming communities to grow the, of the crops that we don’t process and put into our products. Now, one example is the combine ground nuts and instant noodles. Now instant noodles is a fascinating industry altogether. It is 105 billion portions on an annual basis in size about 35 billion us dollars worth of a market, largely consumed in Asia in this part of the world. And interestingly, the large majority of this instant noodles are deep fried because it’s a very efficient way to dehydrate the instant noodle in order for it to be shelf stable and have a different descent.
Speaker 3 (00:37:01):
Shelf-Life so deeply process takes about three and a half minutes. Now, if you would establish a very similar product that doesn’t taste as nice because we don’t deep fry using air drying technology. You need about 35 minutes. So 10 times the time. So that would translate into huge CapEx programs, huge factories or small output for an existing manufacturer. Therefore, the industry has always gone about how let’s do deep fried. The problem with deep frying is that predominantly we use Palm oil in the process and because of deep frying, we take water out and the oil gets into the normal strength. So you have, you have up to 20% of vegetable oil in your dehydrated, instant noodles. So you have refined carbohydrates and refined oil in a combination that then fills up somebody’s stomach. So there are no nutrients in it. There is there’s hardly any, any benefits to a farming community and blah, blah, blah.
Speaker 3 (00:38:05):
And what have you. So we actually stepped back from this opportunity and we said, so what if we would to be able to take commercially viable the deep fryer out of an Institute in mind, how would this, what’s the new, the new horizon that we can build? Is there a new opportunities, the new landscape that we actually can develop, and that has got us going. And today we have succeeded on a commercial scale to take the deep, try out our technology uses air as well, but we establish it in three and a half minutes. So therefore our technology doesn’t suffer any capacity. Hence the, there is a huge opportunity in terms of cost of production. And then we take the oil that we not use in the process. We take the cost to take the money that we otherwise would need in order to buy that oil.
Speaker 3 (00:38:55):
We take that to engage with farming communities, to grow the [inaudible] or the supplies of moringa and other ingredients in order to make them and nutritious nutrient dense product that is as easy to consume for the consumer, but nutrient dense, rather than calorie dense. In other words, our instant noodles, they don’t look different. They look different because they have all sorts of colors in the meantime, [inaudible] and look different. They look different, but in terms of its preparation, there’s no change. There’s no, there’s no need to change habits on a consumer level. And that’s what we have gotten. I have have gone about it. And that’s what we’re doing with our, with our products at is
Speaker 4 (00:39:38):
It’s so interesting name Christoph. What if so, what, what was your inspiration behind calling it?
Speaker 3 (00:39:46):
It was a, a tough journey to get toward. If I can tell you, we had countless conversations internally, we certainly didn’t want to call it Christmas foods. That is something that has never been on the plate,
Speaker 3 (00:40:03):
But what if has been essentially about the rock? So we had one, we had, we had a list of 80 potential names for our brand. At one point in time, you have to make a call and we stepped back from, from all sorts of names. And we basically asked ourselves the question, what is it that we do as an organization on a day to day basis? And on a day to day basis, we are asking ourselves, this will be if questions, what if we can take out the dryer of an instant reminder? What if we can actually grow the comparator ground, not with farming communities and how does a new world look like? So what if it became, it’s very close to us, it’s in our DNA. And then if you have, what if on a package, we basically invite the consumers to think along with us and anchor into conversation.
Speaker 3 (00:40:51):
I think today in today’s day and age with social media you have the opportunity to speak with people rather than at them through advertisements. And what have you. So what if is also designed for that aspect of entering into conversation with consumers? And if you look at the logo that we have produced, it’s a bit of a quirky, fun, sort of a take on a question Mark that one can interprate in all sorts of different means is how hard is a question. Mark is steam coming out of the cattle could be more hockey as well. So what you’re trying to do here is that we are giving a very playful approach to a problem, which is nutrition, farming communities degraded out of bland. It’s a serious problem, but the engagement with our product should be fun, should be playful. It should be exciting. Should actually remind us to what food is all about rather than just empty calories in a particular supply chain driven by key performance indicators that, that largely that no, there is no key performance indicator out there that takes actually to conservation human wellbeing. We do. So that is essentially
Speaker 2 (00:42:06):
Launch. So I know you launch in the middle of this pandemic, right? So this is the company’s five years. You know, you launched eight weeks ago with this line and you, and I would like you to sort of expand on what is it that you, what are the products currently and what’s the future roadmap look like, but I wanted to sort of, before you do that, you just, you know, make a point, I think you know, this whole technology that you put in place to sort of replace the deep fryer, reduce the time. I assume those, that, that’s the technology that you brought to bear in terms of patented processes. And I know that you also built your own factories to do this. It’s not a, because there’s no existing sort of co-pack align, you could take advantage of, because at the end of that co-packer line is a deep fryer, right?
Speaker 2 (00:42:50):
So, so you obviously had to sort of build this technology yourself, which, which is an amazing story. And I think also answers a previous question when our audience says is what is the role of technology? So the rate of technology is, is very clearly amplified by what you’ve done, which is essentially how do we take something that that’s really bad for you out of a production process in repaint, replace it with a high technology thing that you’ve developed. And that I assume is what you would say was a good use of, or application of technology into our food system. Correct?
Speaker 3 (00:43:22):
Absolutely. You’re spot on, on that. Yes. Okay.
Speaker 2 (00:43:25):
Yeah. And in terms of the line, what, what have you launched right now? I know that you have a shake. I, I saw you drink one the other day,
Speaker 3 (00:43:34):
Some soup and the noodles, is that correct? The Christoph. Yeah, it’s correct. So basically how we go about building. So what if foods is essentially an umbrella brand and we have dinner, if you categories in the middle, we started off with three. So the soup shake, as well as our instant noodles are noodles. We call it the quick notes or whatever you want to call it. And the idea behind it is the following. If you have certain time available at an occasion, location could be breakfast, a snack in the morning, lunch snack afternoon dinner in the evening, late night snack. And if you have five, 10 minutes time, how can we, how can we supply a nutritious product for that particular occasion to you so that you have a healthy start in your day, or you’re closing your day with something that nourishes you throughout the night?
Speaker 3 (00:44:24):
So that is the idea behind it now. Quite frankly, the Supercenter shakes, they were born out of basically saying that, okay, look at the fridge, how many fruits and vegetables are in there and to be have fruits. So my day starts off by basically saying, I take the fruits, the all fruits, the old bananas and apples. I put it in a blender. I add three scoops of our, either Apple cinnamon shake or our Uber shake and, or even do a mix because I love the mix of the both and put up. So cook top it up with coconut water or with with probably a Soylent goal or something like that. So, and I give it a good steer and I’m done for a day. I have a good style. I have no trans fueled in my body and they’re rushing through my veins, so to speak.
Speaker 3 (00:45:07):
So that’s how I start. And then in lunch, if I don’t have really time to order food or stuff like that, you know, it takes me 10 minutes to make cuts and better doubles, put it in a bowl, cook the noodles with it at the seasonings. And off I go, I’m done at the same concept in the evening, for example, if I come back home after playing around of tennis and I’m exhausted, why not have a hot soup that actually fuels your batteries back up? That is the sort of idea and philosophy behind the portfolio. You have reminded me that we have actually launched during the pandemic in the lockdown period in Singapore, we called it the circuit breaker and what we have done in addition to it, we actually have made sure that we have all the nutrients in our products that they currently need in order to take care of our immune system.
Speaker 3 (00:45:53):
So they are immune boosting aspects to it as well, but we are all about the diversified Dyer and basically putting that back in. So therefore our current portfolio may subsidize people naturally because the consume sucks and shakes it, do it at home. And I say, no, it’s not, not my piece of cake. Then it’s also fine. You have, normally, if you want, you don’t have one of our noodles at the end of the day, the pipeline is rich. Not only will be horizontally diversifying into more of those sorts of applications, but also radically. There is a number of new colors that we are working on, on the, on the noodles. They will come in all sorts of yellow, orange, red, and probably even black and Brown and they’re ideas that are floating around very, very exciting super cool to look at, to be frankly, it’s a joyful, it’s a joyful experience for their eyes. If you look at these colorful aspects of things, and then there is an, there’s a number of soups that they can play around with the number of different flavors. And then we can also tailor them of course, with different regions, because what spicy for a European is not even a starting point for an India quite right. As we know.
Speaker 2 (00:47:10):
So we had a we have a couple of questions that they, one was somebody had asked how big the plant based marketing India is at a category, but I think Christoph is probably not qualified. And how does that compare with Singapore? I mean, obviously I think Singaporeans generally eat a lot more meat than, than Indians do on average in terms of
Speaker 3 (00:47:30):
A kilogram. It doesn’t mean that they have more meat-eaters and vegetarians, but so I think the quantum from my understanding is quite high in Singapore and a majority of the, the meat consumed date, pork and chicken. So I think there are some, some difference. So the alternative protein, right? Yeah. yeah, there was also another one. One other question is if somebody either started wanting to work with you how would they go about doing that? They just contact you on LinkedIn or you know, who that maybe aligns with your same mission. That’s the easiest way just to reach out to me on LinkedIn. I’m, I’m, I’m really active on LinkedIn read. We do share quite a fair amount of, of thoughts on a, on a weekly basis. And is there anybody out there who wants to, wants to come and speak to us, reach out to us? It’s basically then an arrangement of a call away today. So it gives you the opportunity to speak frequently on a day to day basis to many, many people. So quite happy to engage.
Speaker 4 (00:48:29):
Yeah. I’ve had a couple of questions come through on my WhatsApp directly as well. One is I dunno if, whether you are the best person to ask this Christoph, but I’ll ask it anyway, is with this whole nutrient rich diet that you’re speaking of, what role does intermittent fasting, et cetera, play in getting a balanced, sort of a diet.
Speaker 3 (00:48:52):
Probably that, that question brings me back to what I’ve said before. To me personally, any attempts to any playful attempt to experiment and explore food is about content for your, for your family, for an entire community. Because if you go on a intermittent fasting program or you go on a water fasting program, or you, you don’t anything, I don’t recommend this, don’t go on this nonsense diets there. The, the, your effect is a well proven that’s the problem, the only science proven effect that you get from it, so that doesn’t work. But you know, exploring the possibilities with food rather than just by prescription cooking is I think what is really, really the fun element of it. And if I can if I can add a wish, then I would say, bring your kids in the kitchen and let them chop the tomatoes that have jobs that then let them cook their eyes, let them cook and let them pick the bananas because too many kids in today’s day and age don’t know anymore, where stuff comes from. They think that the house behind the packaged milk are happy because they see a smiley face on the package. And this is far from the truth.
Speaker 4 (00:50:12):
Yeah. Fair enough. Yeah, one more question, actually, this, I think Christoph, you’ve already answered it in a roundabout way, but I’ll ask it again is now obviously there’s a huge revolution for plant-based alternative protein, et cetera, et cetera, with your nutrient rich program that you were talking about with what your foods would you at any juncture envision a powder or a meal that for example, beyond can put into their burger and make that nutrition nutrient dense?
Speaker 2 (00:50:46):
Oh, we’d love to, we’d love to start a program around this because everything that gets us into a diversified outgrow system, as well as a diversified diet is beneficial for all of us. We are doing, we are building what new foods and nutrition paradox, because we want to generate the necessary impact for future generations. If we happen to be commercially successful, then that’s a bad outcome side benefit, but that’s not our motivation. Our motivation is to impact on these three layers that I keep on referring to. It’s the farming community, it’s the degraded Arab land and it’s developing of our consumers out there. So yeah, that’s essentially where the motivation lies and, and, and, and where our head and our heart is at the same time. I think that that does bring up a interesting sort of, and it’s a great question. I think you know, we’ve featured on, on pandemic funded trees put in front on pandemic that a number of you know, smart protein companies.
Speaker 2 (00:51:46):
And we continue to do that. And I think I found, you know, Christoph and we found Christoph sort of an interesting sort of a segue or maybe a different perspective, shall we say? So? Yes. I think a lot of those smart protein companies are, are doing a very essential thing of taking the, the animal out, which is, you know, you’ve clearly shown with your numbers has a significant impact on the degradable arable land that we have simply because, you know, resources are going to feed an animal and then weeding the animal or taking it to melt or its eggs. And I think that argument’s clearly made, I think though, there’s a subtlety here that I think maybe we should sort of make sure we, we, we do say, which is that yes, let’s say that happens. The next sort of thing that’s coming is that even if we do go plant base, like all of, many of us, at least the three of us here have done you know, the counter that you ate or eating today is significantly different from a nutrient perspective, isn’t it grift off them, the one that you ate 25 or 50 years ago.
Speaker 2 (00:52:48):
And that was the point that you were making with with a supercomputer you use to actually look at the micronutrients there, am I right? Is that, is that the point that, the next thing is that even though we would eat plants because of the green revolution and all the stuff that we’ve done to our planet, essentially that current even is no more, no longer as nutritious as something that was 50 years ago, correct. That’s, that’s, that’s perfectly right. You’re dead. There’s increasing research out there. Super cool universities have done it too. And that shows that under climate change with more carbon dioxide in our,
Speaker 3 (00:53:26):
The current crops actually embed less of micronutrients because they are not needed anymore. They embed less micronutrients into their into their produce. So therefore not only do we refine and strip off the micronutrients because we are processing them too much or process everything out for simplicity sake. But also if you keep on relying on this crops, they will actually have less micronutrients to start with. And that comes after selective breeding. Or for example, you know, the grains have been selected bread for thousands of years. So the richness in terms of their pool is not it’s not, not, not as great anymore as it used to be. So while there are approaches to fix that problem on, for example, beading put a lot of research money behind that approaches a mother nature has thousands of plants out there that grow very well on degraded land.
Speaker 3 (00:54:22):
And we need to make sure that’d be making use of that because of its its side effects. If we don’t, because if we don’t, we will not stop deforestation. If we don’t stop deforestation, then 2.5 times the size of India of primary forests will have to give away in order to feed 10 billion people by 2050, that is not a desirable future. We need to make sure we are growing staff on this land that is basically left behind by the intensive body intensive agricultural system. But there’s also as a note I’m not advocating here three Harding approaches because at the end of the day, we are billions of people on that planet. And we need to make sure that the food that we produce is affordable and adequate for a large side of the population else, we become elitist again. And then we have, again, superfoods around the place. I don’t believe in it, frankly, superfoods. I don’t believe there’s no such thing as a superfood. There’s a super dire diversify. And I don’t want to contribute to super food notions. I wanted to contribute to something that is affordable food for, for all on a fair adjust basis.
Speaker 4 (00:55:36):
So common question from all audiences, where can they get quality foods, the noodles, the shakes, the soups.
Speaker 3 (00:55:43):
So as of now eight, eight, eight weeks in the making we are available online in Singapore. Right now it is basically the main stream channel to distribute to people anyways, because of the circuit break and lockdown and folks out there who wish to actually buy and use. If you are in India, let me know, reach out to me on LinkedIn. We’ll make sure we, we ship to you Kristoff ways. Where is your manufacturing located? And, and you know are you impacted by the disruption in global supply chains at all? Yeah. our headquarters in Singapore, our research scientists and support functions are owned in Singapore. We have our factory that produces while the foods are in Malaysia. It’s actually just across the border from Singapore into Malaysia. But as you can imagine for the last, I think four months now, I have not been there because the borders are not open.
Speaker 3 (00:56:41):
And we do have disruptions with regards to that sort of supply chain in the company aspects. But there’s also raw materials. We are challenged there as everybody else is challenged. Yeah. And then we have one more project in Australia and in Northern parts of Queensland, that’d be, that’d be around as well. But that is in, it’s making a, probably already to talk about in 2021, 2022. And so you have plans to sorry, your plans to sort of get your goods in Asia first or Singapore, Malaysia, what other markets you said you will ship to India, but you know, from a retail perspective, what is your initial footprint? And what’s your sort of future footprint? I’m feeling extremely blessed right now, because since we are in Singapore on the market with what if foods we have been approached by at least three, four people from different geographies who basically said, Hey, we want to distribute this product.
Speaker 3 (00:57:39):
We want to help you get into the market or even to join ventures for particular markets. India is on that list. So we have a project that looks actually at the production site in India. It’s very, very early days. I can’t promise anything at this point in time, of course, but it would be a fantastic fantastic sort of a three 60 loop closed for me to go back, to do a project again in India and other parts of the world. We are thinking of doing Europe and so on and so forth, but let’s step by step. We need to make sure that we’re doing this in the right sequence, in the right order. Yeah,
Speaker 4 (00:58:19):
Sorry. We have one final question coming in from the audience from Cavita. Thanks for joining us today, covered that. So she’s going back to your original discussion about Singaporeans eating a lot of meat, but they throw in many greens to give it like a healthy twist, but her point, the point she’s trying to make is that vegetable supplements, protein shakes have there’s an over consumption of it. And what your thoughts are with regards to that.
Speaker 3 (00:58:44):
First of all, the consumption
Speaker 4 (00:58:45):
Protein shakes and vegetable based supplements. Okay.
Speaker 3 (00:58:50):
I’m not sure whether or not
Speaker 4 (00:58:53):
Vitamins supplements and protein shakes and things like that.
Speaker 3 (00:58:57):
So supplement again, there is an interest at times, there might be a need for an interception, if you are deficient in a certain nutrient because of whatever disease or whatever challenge that you have had or whatever it might be, then be good advice to take the supplements that you need. Right? So my auntie, for example, came out of a horrendous, cancel operation into software or tasks you in shortage. And that being supplemented was a basic need. That is where it should be. And I’m not sure that not, I see the same side of the market here that does too much protein shakes in Singapore on the market. I honestly don’t see it it might be in the chimps where my son used to go. They, they do consume the protein, but then they are working out and burning obviously in a half to 4,000 calories in a day and probably the needed otherwise they wouldn’t look that lean as they, as they do. My take on supplements is, as I’ve said before, there aren’t, there are certain aspects in life where you need it, your intervene intervene. You know, if there is a cold coming and the Fetchit to top up your vitamin C for example, but I am not a doctor I’m not qualified to give recommendations on that. So I would strongly recommend to, to seek professional advice before you do anything of that sort.
Speaker 3 (01:00:19):
So I think we’re sort of at the, at the hour Mark, which is where we, you know, we were this sort of nicely dovetails into I think, you know, to a point I think where people are making, what you’re saying is you three or four, where, where, where it’s, where as opposed to a shake, if you need an intervention because of a certain condition, whether it’s illness or athletics, then take it. But if you, if you use a nutrient dense product like what, what, what you’re producing, you’re more likely to get real food in there as opposed to sort of some blended stuff in there. Right? So I guess that, that’s the nature of what you’re saying. The essence of it is if you have a soup and a shake, if you have noodles, and if you can celebrate over it without the guilt being attached, because, you know, it has the nutrients in it and it comes from a diversified diet and then it does good for communities and Arab land and it helps therefore bring a better future for our, for the next generation, our grandchildren’s generation about.
Speaker 3 (01:01:26):
And I think it is a brilliant course. So therefore I invite everybody to take part of it.
Speaker 4 (01:01:31):
Yeah. Just one final question loudly from the audience predominantly. So you have soups, you have shaked meals and you have noodles. Is there any other variety that we can look for in the future?
Speaker 3 (01:01:45):
Yeah, we do have a rich pipeline of additional categories. I can give you a hint. I don’t want to break the new set, but we have been participating in Singapore at the, the livability challenge which was a Temasek and equal business organized event or challenge. And if you have a look there, you will see what we have presented, and that gives you the hint to what probably is coming next.
Speaker 4 (01:02:17):
Okay. Thanks. There might be a filter. There are a few people who want to be in touch with you on LinkedIn. I’ll introduce you to them separately. Absolutely. I look forward to it. Thanks.
Speaker 2 (01:02:31):
So thank you, Kristoff. I think this has been an absolutely fascinating discussion. You’ve been a wonderful guests who sort of opened up a, hopefully a lot of people’s minds. And it certainly has sort of given me a lot of food for thought and reinforce some of the choices that I’ve made. I’ve also gone on a, on a similar lose weight. I mean, I still love to go trust me, but I’ve, I’ve lost about 25 kiddos myself since going plant based. But so yeah, I know. So we are all on a, on the right path there, but this has been a great sort of conversation. And I know that you know, the, your organization, the nutrient inefficient nutrition paradox is available for governments as well as public institutions to sort of source data from and collaborate and work with you.
Speaker 2 (01:03:17):
So if somebody is listening from any of those kinds of places in, in a, in a, in a public sector entity, that’s interested in sort of helping the planet or a government entity, you know, Christoph is open to having conversations with you on how some of the wisdom he’s collected over the years can be shared and actually action done. So I think you really sort of hit the nail on how we can resolve the nutritional paradox after having done a really good job of explaining it. So thank you again, Kristoff kartika any parting words from you?
Speaker 4 (01:03:51):
No, I think there are so many people who are, what’s helping me at TD and Facebooking me wanting to be in touch with Kristoff and, you know, trying to identify what he’s doing so that they too can benefit from it and their communities. So if Khrushchev, I, you will get a barrage of emails for me.
Speaker 2 (01:04:10):
Thank you very much. That sounds fantastic. It sounds awesome. Thank you so much again for stuff. It’s been a, it’s been a wonderful hour in the morning today, so great. All the very best for what you’re doing all the successful for for what it foods and, and the mission that you’ve started to do to resolve the paradox. And of course you know Greg going on the, on the organization as well of the, the the nonprofit that you’re doing. That’s great. Thank you so much. Thanks for the hour. I hope we will be back in touch at some point in the future. And I, it was it was lovely Beta over swim. So be it for the time being, I hope we can meet one day in person as well. Thanks again. Have a great weekend.
Speaker 4 (01:05:01):