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The Future Food 21 conference is an opportunity for food processors, suppliers,  economic developers, and other supporters to hear from leading industry executives, government leaders, and technology experts about the latest trends in the 21st Century food processing sector.  Don’t miss this opportunity to get the latest information and network with your peers by registering today. 


The West Michigan Food Processing Association Future Food 21 conference is a daylong event that will include expert speakers who will bring to light what is behind each of the food processing trends and what the industry can expect in the way of challenges and potential opportunities in the years ahead.


The COVID 19 pandemic was and continues to be one of the most significant challenges the food processing industry has ever faced with respect to employee health, supply chain and logistics, and consumer wants and needs among other issues.  


Trends that were apparent before the pandemic such as consumer preferences for healthier food have grown stronger. Ms. Paula Martin, a culinary medicine expert from the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities will offer insight into what food processors should know how to meet these changing consumers’ preferences. More importantly, the impact food processors can have on people’s health and well-being by shifting to healthier, clean label processing.


Other trends that were apparent before the pandemic and continue to be front and center today revolve around more sustainable business practices that not only have a positive impact on the environment, but also the bottom line. Energy efficiency and renewable energy, waste reduction, and sustainable packaging are also branding opportunities with many consumers making purchasing decisions predicated on how sustainable a food processor company is.  


The Future Food 21 conference will feature key speakers that address these sustainability issues such as the Director of External Partnerships-Sustainable Packaging Innovation from the Kellogg Company; a sustainable energy asset manager from Generate Capital that owns the Fremont Regional Digester, and experts from utility companies that will offer insights about achieving more energy-efficient operations or using alternative energy sources to achieve sustainability goals.   


But that’s not all, other key topics will feature speakers that will cover the latest trends in workforce and housing issues within the food processing sector, as well as supply chain and logistics. As for future technology, an executive from Michigan-based Somnio Global will discuss how their technology is a game-changer for the sector by extending the shelf life of fresh produce for both transportation and cold storage. A truly “made in Michigan” story.


Hard to believe all of this information will be offered in a one-day event, but if you’re late, you will miss hearing what a leading executive from a major food processing company has to say in the opening session about what his company is doing in the 21st Century relative to sustainability and other key strategies.  


Just when you think the day can’t get any better, we will end with officially opening the doors of the FARM (Food, Agriculture, Research, Manufacturing) Accelerator Center.   


Located on the campus of Muskegon Community College, FARM is the newest addition to West Michigan’s food processing infrastructure. We welcome all participants to join the political and community leaders who made FARM a reality to cut the ribbon and celebrate its grand opening.  After all, FARM is Where Food Processors Grow.



Opening Plenary

Opening Keynote

Second Cup Break


Breakout Session 1-Healthy Food Processing 



Breakout Session 2-Sustainability 



Networking Lunch


General Topic


Plenary Session-Down on the FARM


Conference Wrap Up and Adjournment


 FARM Ribbon Cutting/Celebration

8:30 a.m.    

9:00 a.m. 

9:20 a.m.

10:00 a.m.


10:15 a.m.


  1. Food as Medicine

  2. Entrepreneur Opportunities

  3. Case Study-Making the Shift to Clean Label 


11: 15 a.m.


  1. Maximizing Waste Reduction Strategies

  2. Energy strategies for Business and Branding

  3. Packaging for Safety and Sustainability 


12:15 p.m. 


1:15 p.m. 


  1. Workforce Development and Housing

  2. Advancements in Technology

  3. Logistics and Supply Chain Challenges 


2:15 p.m.


2:45 p.m. 


3:00 p.m. 



Stevenson Center for Higher Education

Muskegon Community College

221 S. Quarterline Road, 

Muskegon, MI 49442

Please note the event format is subject to change depending on State of Michigan COVID-19 conditions and public health regulations in place at that time. The format could be a hybrid with limited participants and virtual or 100% virtual, but there will be a Future Food 21 conference.