Vision Casting at BIOFACH 2023

Dilmah-GLX led Lost Ingredients Lab Program Participants Attend World Leading Organic Food Trade Fair

The Lost Ingredients Lab program pushes the boundaries of the Sri Lankan organic food and agriculture sector by adding value along the supply chain to locally underutilized ingredients like jackfruit, gotukola and seaweed to be embraced by the world, A Dilmah news release said last week.

“For over eight months, the Lost Ingredients Lab programme (LIL), a Dilmah Tea and Good Life X collaboration, has been mentoring six promising small-medium entrepreneurs and agri-tech companies equipping them with knowledge, strategies, and tools to position their products strongly in the international market,” the release said.

“An exciting highlight of the programme was a recent visit to BIOFACH – the world’s leading trade fair for organic food held in Nürnberg, Germany (14th-17th February 2023). Nowhere else in the world has this many organic food suppliers, partners, products, and consumers gathered in one place to meet, network, and inform.

“It was the perfect environment for the budding organic agripreneurs to pitch their solutions, understand global trends, and form new connections with potential partners. They were further able to glean the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ dynamics of other brands that exist in this space. On the ground, the six companies received constant mentorships and guidance from programme experts including Bert Jan Ottens, Senior Advisor, ProFound, making the trip focused and productive.”

This year the trends at BIOFACH were “New Glocal”, “Vegan meets Tradition”, “Less is More” and “New Sweeteners”. There was a new-found interest towards food & agriculture, an alternative means of producing food that will have a low or net positive impact on lowering the carbon footprint by improving soil health, improving water quality and even food productivity, which is encouraging to the LIL participants who live this concept coupled with food and agri-tech innovation.

A Lankan company, Lak Nature, a woman-led enterprise, heroes the superfood gotukola in their product line of healthy porridge and cereals. Plant Based envisions plant-based fast food championing young jackfruit.

Others like Ceylon Agri and Aqua is combining community development in Jaffna and Mannar with seaweed harvesting for carrageenan extraction. Saviru Technologies manufactures its own food dehydrators, provides premier dehydration solutions and even has its own line of spices. Niftron is on a mission to simplify blockchain for agri and other businesses to improve trust, security, and ownership. Senzmate Polar promotes technology to keep food safe from farm to fork.

Kapila Weeratunga Arachchi of Saviru Technologies said, “We have been developing and promoting dehydration technologies for 20 years. At BIOFACH 2023, we saw for the first time, what was happening in the world with agro and food processing. We gauged that our local technology and dehydrated products are on par with Europe. There was a keen interest in our dehydration technologies and dehydration services centre model. Development agencies in the African region thought that we are ideal candidates for South-South cooperation for technology transfer. Thanks to the LIL Program we are ready to deliver beyond our shores to the global village.”

Lakmini Weerakkody of Lak Nature International said, “BIOFACH gave me good exposure. I learned so much, identified potential markets and got the best experience about new trends in the international market. The wonderful team of Lost Ingredients Lab guides us on accessibility, opportunities, knowledge-building and many more, always.”

The Lost  Ingredients Lab is an initiative under the ‘Support to Small and Medium Enterprises in the Organic Agriculture Sector’ Programme of the Multi-Donor Action (MDA) jointly co-financed by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The program is aimed at creating investment opportunities in the domestic agri-food sector, emphasising the growing importance of digitalizing the domestic organic food sector, and supporting organic food producers in Sri Lanka to access new markets, particularly in the EU.

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