In today’s Berlin, food is receiving unprecedented attention, in a manner that brings different extremes of old and new, tradition and innovation, and humble and fine dining. For instance, In the last 10 years, the number of Michelin starred restaurants has grown from 10 to 25 in 2016. Berlin was nominated the fastest growing startup ecosystem, attracting young technology professionals from allover the world. This has been a crucial element in attracting around 50 thousand new inhabitants per year, and giving rise to a food scene that is innovative and inclusive. Such rich diversity of traditional regional German cuisines and international cuisines that offer new flavours can be witnessed in the Berlin Food Week. A booming trendy low end food scene is definitely what characterizes Berlin.
Also, Berlin is a popular destination for vegan cuisine in europe, according to Mintel, the number of vegans has doubled since 2006 to reach 6% of the German population, and over 160 vegan restaurants in Berlin. This is a trend that will only grow as more young people reduce their meat intake.
The following is the exciting account of our delegates’ experience in the German Capital from the 19th to the 25th of May.
Food and beverage
Clean eating restaurant: plant-based, vegan, mostly raw, organic. Tried all the bowls possible and interviewed the staff about the vegetarian and vegan scene in Berlin
It became clear after few hours that Berlin is the vegan hub, the place with more vegan options in the world. Founded in Berlin in 2011, it is the first vegan food chain store in Europe to offer products that are guaranteed to be animal (cruelty) free true to its slogan ”We Love Life”, 4.500 vegan products from over 260 suppliers.
We tried a truly Berlin institution: the iconic burger joint located in an old toilet house beneath the ancient tracks of the subway in Kreuzberg. Among the classic options and signature burgers options we found a very interesting vegan soy burger. Our vegetarian Ashleigh Forster said it was the best non meat burger she ever tried!
Visited one of the most representative examples of the German craft beer movement.
Arlene Stein from Terroir Talk(https://terroirtalk.org/)
We met Arlene Stein, the Executive Director and Founder of the annual Terroir Hospitality Symposium that takes place each spring in Toronto, Canada. Terroir is the only hospitality program in Canada, and one of the first of many world wide, that brings together influential chefs, restaurateurs, wine and beverage professionals in a forum for professional development with an additional focus on food sustainability. The symposium is currently in its 11th year and has over 1000 attendees from across North America and Europe. The goal of the Terroir Symposium is to give delegates an opportunity to create business relationships that enable the development of new ideas that can be applied to their own work and to take inspiration from others.
We visited the studio and had a workshop with Ines Lauber, designer developing holistic gastronomic concepts. “Food is like a mirror, it reflects everything else. Food culture is a reflection of our society and a manifestation of the zeitgeist. I use food as both a source of inspiration and as a working material. Social and emotional aspects as well as sensory experience are central to my work. I create concepts for the food culture of tomorrow.”
Food Revolution 5.0
We visitedFood Revolution 5.0: Design for Tomorrow’s Society (from May 18 through September 30), a provocative exhibition in which 30 designers were asked to present their visions for the future of food in four themes: farm, market, kitchen and table. It has been incredible to see how much each single work was deeply related to our Food Innovation Global Mission and we have been very glad to see 2 projects from our friend Chloè Rutzetveld showcased there.
Top 10 Food Innovations
Pioneering in on-demand farming services to help cities become self-sufficient in their food production, Infarm was founded in 2013 by Osnat and brothers Erez and Guy. What started as a mobile vertical farm in an old 1955 Airstream trailer has now grown to a team of over 150 Infarmers, united under a common cause: feeding the cities of tomorrow. At Infarm, horticulturalists work next to industrial engineers and biologists collaborate with chefs. “Be a part of the urban farming (r)evolution: help redefine what it means to eat well, play a role in reshaping the landscape of cities, and re-empower the people to take ownership of their food.”
Atlantic Food Labs(www.foodlabs.de/)
Atlantic Food Labs is a place where new food companies are built. They work together with extraordinary entrepreneurs, whose innovations will define the next era of food and impact everything connected to it. The investment philosophy is based on four pillars: brand transparency, new distribution models, food R&D and innovations in the traditional value chain. Their portfolio currently includes 25 food companies. We had the chance to meet one of them, Mushlabs, developing a functional mushroom-based powder, rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals.
Gastronomy made easy: Hospitality.Digital is digital transformation in hospitality, through reservation tools, customised websites and platforms.
The team started working on our dream of creating a plastic-free and packaging-free grocery shopping experience in 2012. In 2014 the first shop in Berlin was opened. An online shop followed in 2016, offering non-food products and equipment for a zero waste lifestyle. In 2017 they launched OU Magazine, where they write about sustainability.
Sustainable Food Academy(https://sustainablefoodacademy.com)
We had the pleasure to meet again Nadja Flohr-Spence and Denise Loga who welcomed us at their studio and took us for tour to the most interesting concepts representing the food revolution happening in Berlin in recent years. The food scene in the German capital is continuously changing as 5 new food startups are created in berlin every week.
The digitalised automat! Slow food fast – freshly prepared and thoughtfully composed dishes for breakfast and lunch! The futuristic concept has all the features of the canteen or restaurant of the future. Orders are only accepted digitally and the finished meal can be taken from your own personalised box accessible through the app and online. Most dishes are vegetarian with a focus on local products.
The Good Bank(www.good-bank.de/en/)
At GOOD BANK, they grow their varieties of lettuce in in-store vertical farms by INFARM. Growing vertically within the city, we are able to offer the freshest and tastiest possible produce, full of nutrients and without pesticides, while reducing carbon miles from farm to table.They source the other fruits and vegetables locally and seasonally, chicken and beef come from selected farms committed to the respect for animal welfare and the salmon is high quality, Scottish salmon.
One of the biggest urban gardening projects in Europe. In July 2009 the ‘Nomadisch Grün’ (Nomadic Green) organisation took over a vacant lot measuring 6,000 m2from the municipality in Kreuzberg, Berlin. The area has since been transformed into an organic and social garden. Fruits and vegetables are grown by the community for its own use and for sale.
Markthalle Neun (https://markthalleneun.de/)
Indoor market with international food vendors, shops and community events representing Berlin’smodern urban food movement. Markthalle Neun first opened its doors on 1st October 1891, named ‘number IX’ because at the start of the 20th century there were fourteen market halls located across city. It was reopened in 2011. During “Street Food Thursday” we tried different foods, from Asian inspired dishes, to insect snacks and German cheese.
Kumpel & Keule (http://www.kumpelundkeule.de/)
Artisan butcher focusing on high quality meat with glass-sided storefront that lets you observe every part of the skilled process. Impressive selection of freshly made sausages. “The art of butchery should not be hidden from the public but instead be public to everyone. We have a grill section to throw anything in display on that grill for you.”