“The future of food has to be all about sustainability,” says chef Greg Czarnecki, the acclaimed head chef of Cape Town’s Cape Grace Hotel. Chef Czarnecki was speaking at “The Future of Food, powered by Nespresso” – a two-night gastronomic event hosted by Nespresso South Africa in Cape Town this May, where strategically selected chefs, food service and hotel industry stakeholders and decision-makers, media, and influencers from the culinary world gathered for a round-table discussion of what the future holds for the industry in South Africa and around the world.

Chef Czarnecki spoke about recent U.N. projections which estimate that nearly 2 billion more people will be added to the world’s population by 2050 and that we’ll be using 71% more resources per capita. He said that forums like the “Future of Food, powered by Nespresso” event are essential for industry professionals to assess “how we’re going to be running restaurants in these circumstances”. Chef Czarnecki said current food trends indicate that consumers have become more educated about health. “I think people are making more conscious choices and plant-based options are going to become increasingly important,” he noted. But as food trends come and go, the issue of sustainability must remain the top priority in the industry, he said, “and it’s our role as chefs to lead the way.”

Chef Czarnecki shared details of his trip to Colombia with Nespresso South Africa in 2023 to witness the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program for himself. This programme empowers farmers through sustainable quality agricultural practices and acts as a catalyst to build solutions for communities and landscapes in the face of such risks as climate change. In addition, the programme leverages the collective resources of farmer organisations, academics, municipalities, and governments to address broader challenges in the sector.

“I think it’s amazing that, in 2024, after we’ve been speaking about it for many years and we have access to all the data and information, we’re still not seeing more transformation in the philosophies of a lot of establishments,” he notes. “When I see how a company as big and worldwide as Nespresso can farm sustainably, why can’t this be an example for all food producers?” he asked. “It is possible to supply food and to create food and still be fully traceable and sustainable and have great engagement with the farmers,” he says. “If they can do it, why can’t everybody?”

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