Business

2nd 'Food Values' Conference Held in Tuscany

Experts from a wide range of backgrounds met at Villa Pecori Giraldi in Borgo San Lorenzo to discuss the relevance of the Mediterranean diet and explore new approaches and proposals.

Francesco Visioli
Oct. 12, 2017
By Ylenia Granitto
Francesco Visioli

Recent News

The sec­ond Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on the Mediter­ranean Diet, Inspir­ing a Renais­sance of Food Val­ues’ was held Octo­ber 6 – 7 at Villa Pecori Giraldi, in Borgo San Lorenzo (Flo­rence), under the aus­pices of the Pon­tif­i­cal Acad­emy of Sci­ences, the Uni­ver­sity of Flo­rence, and Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort.

There is an urgent need to reap­praise our rela­tion­ship with food and its prepa­ra­tion.- Simon Poole

The two-day event fea­tured pre­sen­ta­tions from pol­i­cy­mak­ers, agron­o­mists, pub­lic health offi­cials, pro­fes­sors and culi­nary experts on the rel­e­vance of the Mediter­ranean diet, olive oil, and health­ier eat­ing habits in the con­text of today’s indus­tri­al­ized fast-paced soci­ety, with a view to out­line new approaches and pro­pos­als to be pre­sented to world health min­is­ters and related orga­ni­za­tions.

The day after, fol­low­ing the prin­ci­ples of the con­ven­tion, the Oleoteca Villa Campestri and the National Carlo Col­lodi Foun­da­tion signed an agree­ment to pro­mote food edu­ca­tion and olive oil cul­ture for chil­dren.





We brought together speak­ers and guests from a broad range of back­grounds to dis­cuss the value we place on our food, in the con­text of increas­ing recog­ni­tion of the impor­tance of tra­di­tions and food qual­ity to ensure health and sus­tain­abil­ity,” said the founder of the con­fer­ence Paolo Pasquali open­ing the con­gress.

Val­ues inter­twined with health, cul­tural tra­di­tions, qual­ity, and sus­tain­abil­ity were under­lined by the pres­i­dent of the con­fer­ence, the chan­cel­lor of the Pon­tif­i­cal Acad­emy of Sci­ences of the Vat­i­can City, Mon­signor Marcelo Sànchez Sorondo.

Advertisement

The dis­cus­sion started from The Last Sup­per’ by Giotto, exam­ined by Donatella Lippi of the Uni­ver­sity of Flo­rence. The art­work, which inspired many artists over the cen­turies, was the sub­ject of a study that inves­ti­gated the con­tent of the meals and the changes in kinds of food and size of por­tions over time, thus pro­vid­ing inter­est­ing clues to detect how foods were used in art and how this prac­tice may reflect, or inspire, real-life set­tings.

The adher­ence to cul­ture and tra­di­tions of the Med­Diet was pre­sented by Anto­nia Tri­chopoulou of the Hel­lenic Health Foun­da­tion of Athens, who also focused on its sus­tain­abil­ity and the respect for sea­son­al­ity; foods less demand­ing in pri­mary energy, and lim­ited envi­ron­men­tal impact, due to low con­sump­tion of ani­mal prod­ucts and thus a small water foot­print and low green­house gas emis­sions.”

Antonia Trichopoulou

Thanks to the ben­e­fi­cial prop­er­ties of its com­po­nents, the Med­Diet is one of the health­i­est dietary pat­terns. The near total­ity of epi­demi­o­log­i­cal stud­ies and sev­eral human tri­als show that an ade­quate micronu­tri­ent, such as vit­a­mins, min­er­als, polyphe­nols, and essen­tial fatty acids intake is asso­ci­ated with pos­i­tive mod­u­la­tions of sur­ro­gate mark­ers of degen­er­a­tive dis­ease, notably can­cer and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease,” Francesco Visi­oli of the Uni­ver­sity of Padua observed.

Francesco Sofi of the Uni­ver­sity of Flo­rence empha­sized the role of plant-based diets as a use­ful instru­ment for pre­vent­ing dis­ease, rec­og­niz­ing the need for mod­ern soci­eties to reaf­firm the link between nat­ural, sus­tain­able food and the health of indi­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties. He called for a new approach whereby food choices must be strongly sup­ported by clin­i­cal behav­ior change efforts, health sys­tems reforms, novel tech­nolo­gies, and robust pol­icy strate­gies tar­get­ing eco­nomic incen­tives, schools and work­places, neigh­bor­hood envi­ron­ments, and the food sys­tem.”

Francesco Visioli

In the per­spec­tive of food mar­ket­ing, Pierre Chan­don of the Insead Sor­bonne Uni­ver­sity Behav­ioral Lab of Paris observed that today’s eat­ing dis­or­ders and the obe­sity epi­demic are largely dri­ven by the ever-increas­ing avail­abil­ity of large por­tions of food. He pro­posed the less size — more plea­sure’ solu­tion which will pro­vide both for an improve­ment of the per­cep­tion of a rea­son­able por­tion and pack­age sizes and for a focus on the sen­sory enjoy­ment of eat­ing rather than on sati­a­tion or value for money.

There is an urgent need to reap­praise our rela­tion­ship with food and its prepa­ra­tion” said the Cam­bridge-based author and one of the founders of Food Val­ues,’ Simon Poole, who called on pol­i­cy­mak­ers to take bold deci­sions to address the impend­ing increase in chronic dis­ease, in order that the eco­nomic envi­ron­ment is more con­ducive to mak­ing healthy food choices, and that every child receives an ade­quate edu­ca­tion to learn to under­stand and value excel­lence in the prepa­ra­tion and enjoy­ment of good food.”

Councilor of Culture of Borgo San Lorenzo, Cristina Becchi

The fun­da­men­tal role of extra vir­gin olive oil as a sta­ple of the Mediter­ranean diet was high­lighted by Jean-Xavier Guinard of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at Davis. The way olive oil clearly embraces tra­di­tion and yet is a focus of inno­va­tion in the cur­rent rein­ven­tion of food, diet, and lifestyle makes it the per­fect vehi­cle for study­ing food sci­ence, culi­nary arts and behav­ioral nutri­tion that sus­tain the Mediter­ranean diet and the food val­ues asso­ci­ated with it,” he remarked.

Ancient grains as an exam­ple of a renais­sance of old val­ues were dis­cussed by Ste­fano Benedet­telli of the Uni­ver­sity of Flo­rence. Sev­eral stud­ies have sug­gested that they could present a health­ier and a bet­ter nutri­tional pro­file than mod­ern wheats by pro­vid­ing more vit­a­mins, min­er­als and nutraceu­ti­cal com­pounds. More­over, they con­sti­tute a viable option, being envi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able.

Mon­taña Cámara Hur­tado of the Uni­ver­sity Com­plutense of Madrid pro­moted wild plant foods as an excel­lent source of bioac­tive com­pounds. Their tra­di­tional con­sump­tion must be pre­served as a good alter­na­tive for the lim­ited vari­ety of veg­eta­bles cur­rently con­sumed, improv­ing the qual­ity and mak­ing pos­si­ble a diver­si­fi­ca­tion of mod­ern diets,” she sug­gested.

Clau­dio Peri of the Uni­ver­sity of Milan pro­posed a way to ensure the suc­cess of local pro­duc­tion and the mar­ket­ing of excel­lent prod­ucts: The cre­ation of healthy Com­mu­ni­ties of Prac­tice’ of small com­pa­nies involved in the pro­duc­tion-mar­ket­ing chains. They could ben­e­fit from many advan­tages, includ­ing an effec­tive con­trol of crit­i­cal points (feed­back), con­nec­tions that allow intro­duc­ing ele­ments of one prac­tice into another (bro­ker­ing), and shar­ing of arti­facts, doc­u­ments, terms, con­cepts, and other bound­ary objects’ around which they can orga­nize their inter­con­nec­tions.”

To truly pre­serve the Med­Diet and expand its accep­tance, we have to focus on con­tin­u­ously rais­ing the qual­ity and vis­i­bil­ity of its plant-based core, from veg­eta­bles to grains and olive oil,” said Greg Drescher of The Culi­nary Insti­tute of Amer­ica. He sug­gested ele­vat­ing the sta­tus of the recipes and tech­niques that have his­tor­i­cally made the plant-for­ward fla­vors of the Mediter­ranean so appeal­ing.

Chefs within and out­side of the Mediter­ranean have a spe­cial oppor­tu­nity to show­case in their restau­rants the tra­di­tional genius of every­day, tra­di­tional Mediter­ranean vil­lage cook­ing with plant pro­teins,” Drescher added. Long live the chick­pea! And this is all about val­ues – food val­ues,” he said.





Related News