The COMEUP 2021, startup festival is Korea’s most prestigious event taking place from 17-19 November 2021. The three-day event introduces investors to the most promising startups whose innovative products position them to become the next unicorn companies. Themed’ Meet the future,’ the startup festival, also includes fireside chats and panel talks that analyze various prominent industries’ status and predict their future trend. Yesterday, the fireside and panel talk conference discussed trends in money and worked during the post-pandemic period. Today the talk covered the food industry and sustainable agriculture, analyzing food from major food companies to your kitchen.
Challenges of Food Industry for a Sustainable Future
Jaesik Yang, CEO of The PlantEat, and Sangyeaob Han, CEO of Sopoong Ventures, chaired the fireside chat. Han kicked off the discussion by saying, “In this era, the alternative food sources, as well as cultured meats, are very hot topics right now, and many are curious what the industry would look like in the future.” It was mentioned that Elon Musk is looking to go to Mars because the space on Earth is limited. According to Jaesik Yang, the alternative protein theme itself came late because in 2015, the WHO signaled that we should turn to an alternative source of protein because the protein we could gain from livestock is limited with the increase of global competition. “It is very meaningful to see our Korean companies standing at the forefront of the global competition,” says Sangyeaob Han.
Alternatives for Sustainable Agriculture amid the ESG Wave and Climate Change
The second fire chat on sustainable agriculture amid climate change and the ESG wave was conducted by Youngming Park, CEO of Rokya, and Sanghoon Shin, CEO of Green Labs. We are experiencing unprecedented climate changes and natural disasters, and we are continually facing these crises. There has been a thirty to forty percent reduction in pledges made by the government, showing that the government also feels the effects of climate change. According to Sanghoon Shin, agriculture is one of the areas that these natural disasters and climate change will greatly impact. He goes on to say that for them to grow, we need a perspective change. There is a role for government to play vis-à-vis subsides. If the government channels the subsidies to the farmers producing carbon-free produce, it would also induce the change. Youngming Park also said, “If we have extreme weather and low yield, the product prices will go up, so there was that volatility in the market.”
Rethinking the Purpose of a Kitchen
The panelists in this talk were Youngjoo Chang, Head of Yogiyo, Ildo Kim, CEO of Ildossifamily, and Jinhwa Mok, Creator of Seung Woodaddy and the moderator of this talk. Jinhwa Mok started by saying that a kitchen is where we go to cook food and eat food. However, the frequency of using the kitchen for cooking food is decreasing globally, creating a worrying trend in the future of kitchens. Especially here in South Korea, compared to the global average, our kitchen use is very low. When asked what changes the kitchen is experiencing, Youngjoo Chang says, “Due to changing lifestyles there could be an increase in the supply and the dining industry will also lead it a decrease in the role of kitchens going forward.