Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, Founder and CEO of KBW Ventures, says innovation is essential in fight for food security
Food technology and innovation investment dominated the menu on day two of InFlavour, Saudi Arabia’s F&B mega-event, as key figures from around the world gathered to discuss everything from farming salmon in the Saudi desert to mobile greenhouses on Mars.
Kicking off the second day of an inaugural three-day run at the Riyadh Exhibition and Conference Centre, Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed, the founder and CEO of KBW Ventures, spoke with Agronomics co-founder Anthony Chow about price parity in the plant-based meat sector, the dangers of a nation being reliant on imported fruit and vegetables, and the long-term vision of the Saudi leadership.
With sovereign investment increasing in pioneering growth companies and next-generation industries recently, Prince Khaled was asked about Saudi’s growing involvement in the future of food security and targeted investments. He spoke candidly.
“We have seen Saudi change dramatically throughout the past few years,” he said. “Cellular agriculture is the future when it comes to food security. It is estimated the planet’s population will be 10 billion by 2050; you need to feed them in some way, so something is going to need to change, and you need to lean on innovation.
“It is testament to the vision of Saudi Arabia’s leadership, who are looking to the future of innovation. Bluefin tuna in the desert, salmon in the desert, there are so many production lines that you would never expect to see Saudi leading on.
“As soon as solar, wind, and nuclear start developing and being accepted by the public, I think that will drive faster innovation when it comes to impacting the environment positively… Now is the time to invest in companies that are shaping the future.”
The inaugural InFlavour is proving a hive of activity with more than 40,000 attendees, 400 brands, 200 investors, and 200 speakers representing 143 countries expected to turn out across the three days – unprecedented numbers for an F&B event in Saudi Arabia.