More than 100 business representatives from across New Zealand will meet in Hawke's Bay to look into the future of alternative food sources - and the future, it appears, tastes like scorpion.
Following on from the findings of a report commissioned by Business Hawke's Bay and Tomoana Logistics, next month's Future Foods Conference intends to assess what the next steps are for businesses.
"We decided that report needed to be socialised with a bigger group of people to look at what the global trends are and what the opportunities are for Hawke's Bay within those trends," Business Hawke's Bay chief executive Carolyn Neville said.
More than 150 people were expected to attend the conference, including representatives from universities, local food producers, national companies and national food writers.
"It's essential that we understand the current trends, the factors shaping consumer choice and what that means for the global food industry.
"The future of food is changing faster than ever before, so it's important for New Zealand and Hawke's Bay producers to understand what the global food industry might look like in the future and the opportunities it presents.
"Business Hawke's Bay wants to make sure our region's food producers get to hear from
leading experts about what's happening and how they can add value to their business.
"Future Foods is a must-attend event," says Mrs Neville.
Speakers from across New Zealand would discuss everything from the use of insects as food sources - such as cricket flour - as well as the use of peas to make alternative proteins.
Alternative packaging and the technology needs of alternative food source production would also be on the agenda.
As part of the conference, all food served on the day would be from alternative sources, including brownies made from cricket flour, chicken-less chicken made from peas and salad served with hemp oil dressing.
A bag of "scorpion lollipops" from Auckland company Eatcrawlers would also be on offer to the winners of a prize giveaway on the day.
Speakers from Ruatoria-based Hikurangi Enterprises, which is recently obtained a licence to produce medical-grade medical marijuana and has also conducted a hemp-growing trial, would also be speaking on the day.
Other speakers like KPMG farm enterprise specialist Julia Jones said the consumer (or end user of our product) needs to be at the heart of what the company did.
"That means becoming consumer-based producers and ensuring when we go to market we capture the value of what New Zealand has to offer.
"Disruption tends be very obvious, yet in your face, opportunity will hide, so New Zealand's food and fibre industry needs to be prepared to go hunting for opportunity and evolve to maintain relevance."
Peter Randrup, director of edible insect company Anteater says that the future of protein will be insects, plants, algae, and lab-grown meat.
"In a survey of 250,000 people, 50 per cent said they would eat insects instead of beef, if it helped the environment.
"Think of how much impact any current food group has on our food system - dairy, fungi, vegetables, seafood ... the western world has just discovered another food group - insects. The impact this will have on our food system will be no less profound than the discovery of dairy."
The conference would take place at the Napier War Memorial Conference Centre on October 31.
Tickets can be purchased from www.businesshawkesbay.co.nz/Events/Future-Foods.