“While we cannot stop the continuing evolution
of the planet, we have the moral duty to suggest
orientations and make proposals so that we can
interact in a responsible manner with it”
he idea of infinite development, unlimited growth, As entrepreneurs and leading company, our sense of
the self-regulating ability of the market, has responsibility, along with our values, competencies and will,
definitively been eclipsed. Now, more than ever, prompts us to take action. This is levelheaded yet imbued
the factor having the greatest impact on building with a sense of urgency—to mobilize resources in order to
our future is the unforeseeable. Scenarios for the future respond to this broad range of pressing issues. As a food
are characterized by dramatic demographic dynamics, products company, we are keenly aware of the key role
culture is seen as a mere extension of markets and there are that food and nutrition play now, and that this role will be
uncertainties about our petroleum reserves, dwindling water even more determining for future generations. This is what
supplies, global warming… However, crises accelerate change underlies our conviction of the need for the Barilla Center for
and the resulting discontinuities can create opportunity. Food & Nutrition, a think tank and engine of change with the
objective of assembling the best available global knowledge
The concept of “sustainability”, once an elitist idea being on themes of food and nutrition and how they relate to
the province of dreamers or prophets of doom, has now people, the environment, science and economics. We analyze
become an obligatory approach in all fields, seeing growth as these themes and propose solutions to meet the challenges
being primarily guided by what is good for people. While we regarding food and nutrition in the upcoming future,
cannot stop the continuing evolution of the planet, we have reflecting on the aspirations, needs and demands of people,
the moral duty to suggest orientations and make proposals so seeking to know the future so that we can live better lives in
that we can interact in a responsible manner with it. the present.
What is to be done? The Barilla
Center for Food & Nutrition
A center for multidisciplinary thinking and proposals
he Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition is a center
for multidisciplinary thought and proposals. It was
founded with the objective of:
n paying close attention to society’s current and emerging
needs regarding major themes relating to food and
n identifying the fundamental themes regarding people, the
environment, science and economics in our current society;
n collecting and analyzing the most advanced experience,
knowledge and competencies available in the world;
n developing proposals and recommendations about food
and nutrition and making them available to all the major
opinion leaders and decision makers in order to promote
better quality of life and widespread and sustainable
wellbeing for all people.
What is happening?
The Agri-foods scenario
er Mensch ist was er isst” (We are what we eat) people according to FAO). On the other, the World Health
stated Ludwig Feuerbach in his famous work of Organisation predicts that in 2015 there will be an incredible
1862. Today, one hundred and fifty years later, 2.3 billion of overweight adults, and more than 700 million of
this well-known aphorism is still as pregnant them will be classifiable as obese, with serious consequences
with meaning as it ever was. Food is life. Food is nourishment, for their health and the healthcare costs for the countries
being well, sharing. It is also cultivating and producing, it is where they live.
the lifeblood of the economy, employing labor, consuming
energy and resources. One hundred and fifty years ago we Agriculture is encountering increasing difficulties due to
could reasonably predict that in our millennium the agri- climate change. Over the past century, the average tempera-
foods sector would have become a rather banal market with ture of the earth’s surface increased by 0.6 Celsius degrees,
no complex issues to resolve, a science requiring no further while it is estimated that at the end of the current century
effort in research and innovation. the increase will be somewhere between 1.4 and 5.8 Celsius
degrees. Drought and desertification reduce the productive
However now, in an era where the principles of subsi- capacity of land and thus crop yields, influencing not only the
stence economy have undergone profound innovation and food volumes produced, but also the price of raw materials.
transformation, the structure of the food production chain
and the logic of production and provisioning are becoming Providing concrete responses to this reality, in all its
increasingly complex. More and more players are involved, the aspects, requires a new and different methodology. We must
actions of the various lobbies are increasingly insistent, and be able to interpret the complexity of the component pheno-
the number of variables in the system is multiplying. Doubts mena, bridging confines between different disciplines. Energy,
and uncertainties about future scenarios increase, especial- environment, natural sciences, climate and alimentation con-
ly if we think of the unstoppable world population growth, stitute closely interrelated fields of research. It is only through
destined, according to FAO estimates, to increase from the the comprehension of the connections between the various
current 6.6 billion to 9.2 billion in 2050, with most of the po- elements of the problem that we can identify priorities and
pulation (some 7.7 billion) living in the so-called “developing conceive potential solutions.
Hence the need for an interdisciplinary project that offers a
Persisting dietary imbalances generate contrasting effects. serious contribution to the ongoing debate in terms of original
On the one hand the numbers of people suffering from hun- thinking and concrete proposals that focus and rivet attention
ger are increasing (today there are 850 million, 9% more than on a shared objective: to find ourselves someday living in a
in 1990), as are the victims of so-called “hidden hunger”, i.e., fairer and more balanced world.
diets poor in essential vitamins and minerals (over 2 billion
Food for culture
Food is a source of pleasure, a basis for sharing, a communication tool…
Exploring these dimensions, understanding their connections and
implications, is not merely a fascinating exercise but also leads to a
profound understanding of human beings
connections and implications, is not merely a fascinating
exercise but also leads to a profound understanding of
human beings, helping us to better comprehend our desires,
aspirations and dreams.
By realizing that food is one of the distinctive
characteristics of the world’s societies and cultures, we
identify diet as one of the fundamental nodes around which
it is possible to implement a process of integration. In an era
when globalization brings cultures and traditions into closer
contact and contrast, the alimentary dimension becomes an
important factor in enabling reciprocal knowledge among
people all over the world.
t is no coincidence that the term “culture” derives from
the Latin verb cultivare, “to cultivate”. Cultivating the soil
and transforming its fruits into foods is one of the acts
that best represents the human capacity to positively
affect and transform our condition. Agricultural production,
food processing and eating must thus not be considered
merely as fundamentally important for the survival of our
species; the symbolic and cultural valences associated with
them are many and are equally important. Food is a source of
pleasure, a basis for sharing, a communication tool, a religious
choice, a statement of ideological belief or the consequence
of ethical choices, a sign of belonging, and a discovery
experience. Exploring these dimensions, understanding their
Food for sustainable growth
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned
and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”
hese words were contained in a letter written to the for the world population. Currently, it is estimated that we
president of the United States in 1854 by the Native use 54% of the total fresh water available in rivers, lakes
American Chief Seattle. Heedless of the wisdom and accessible aquifers. By 2025, this number is projected
of these words, the white man has long believed to increase by 50% in developing countries and by 18% in
in unlimited natural resources without any regard for the developed countries, leaving 1.8 billion people facing water
impact of their inefficient or wanton use on the availability shortages.
and quality not only of the resources themselves, but also of
the land that yields or produces them. This issue has to be addressed on multiple fronts and in a
cooperative way by all the world’s societies and institutions
with the objective of creating a stable equilibrium between
economic development, environmental protection and social
Today it is clear that not only resources are subject to
depletion, but also that their use is closely linked to the
availability of food and energy. According to the United
Nations, by the year 2025 erosion and soil depletion due to
climate change could cause losses in arable land in the range
of 5% to 25%.
Furthermore, inefficient use and pollution of water
resources will compound the consequences of water scarcity
Food for health
“Good health is a state of complete physical, social and mental
well-being.” World Health Organisation
he World Health Organisation (WHO) affirms that
health and food (both fundamental human rights)
are strictly correlated. In other words, the health of
the world’s population, regardless of its standard of
living, is strongly influenced by how and how much people
eat. And the problem does not just regard poor countries—
much the contrary. As a result of the progressive lengthening
of average human life expectancy, it is increasingly
necessary to find ways to ensure a (long and) healthy life
for all individuals. It is also obvious, on the other hand,
that without good health, it is difficult to have a rewarding
quality of life. And (good) health does not just depend on
medicine, but especially on the best type of prevention. A
balanced lifestyle, and thus proper diet, plays a central role in
preventing or slowing illness and disease.
The validity of the dietary traditions in Mediterranean
countries is universally recognized. A diet rich in fresh foods,
based on the consumption of fruit, vegetables, fish, cereals
and grains and their derivatives contributes to preventing
cardiovascular disease. This alone would be enough, according
to WHO, to save almost three million lives every year.
Unfortunately, the process of globalization and changes
in the pace of life have favoured the introduction, even in
Mediterranean countries, of much less balanced dietary
regimes, which in turn increase the risk of developing some of
the main sorts of chronic pathologies.
In this perspective, research, information and
communication play a fundamental role in generating a new
“culture of prevention” and make it an integral part in each of
Food for all
“The real challenge lies in defining new rules for markets that cannot be
governed by directly borrowing the logic and tools of financial and capital
markets.” International Monetary Fund
But alongside these medium- and long-term trends,
which reflect current social and environmental changes, the
access to food is also determined by market negotiations on
the prices of raw materials, which have clearly revealed the
existence of profound problems in mechanisms of access to
natural, energy and food resources. From July 2005 to July
2008, the Commodity Food Price Index grew by 75% and then
fell by 33% in the five subsequent months, while grain prices
skyrocketed by 128% from July 2005 to August 2008 and
then fell by 33% in the four subsequent months.
The objective is to regulate and guarantee access to
necessary but scarce resources for a population that is slowly
moving toward new and higher levels of income, demand and
ccording to the International Monetary Fund, the
recent volatility of agri-food markets has caused
an increase in the prices of staples, leading in turn
to the creation of 100 million new poor people. The
increase of world population, the entrance into the consumer
market of people who had previously been excluded, and
the enduring structural discrepancies in world income
distribution bring the need to identify concrete means of
action for guaranteeing food for all to the forefront.
The Advisory Board
he Advisory Board is a body that stands as a The Advisory Board operates on the principles of:
guarantor of the work of the Barilla Center for
Food & Nutrition, identifying themes of interest, n Independence: it is autonomous in its thinking and
developing distinctive and scientifically valid analyses;
contents and making proposals and recommendations.
n Sharing: it is an engine behind a process of encounter
It is supervised by a Scientific Committee that includes and discussion that is extended as broadly as possible to
six experts with different but synergetic professional anyone who has ideas and proposals to offer, whether it be
backgrounds and competencies in economics, medicine, a government, public or private institution, regardless of
nutrition, sociology and the environment. nationality, ideological choice or political preferences;
The Advisory Board ensures that the most advanced
knowledge and foremost professional capacities are brought n Excellence: it is a meeting place for the top internationally
to bear on the specific themes addressed by the Barilla Center recognized people in social, medical-scientific,
for Food & Nutrition in order to enhance and refine the quality environmental and economic fields.
of its work.
Barbara Buchner is an analyst at the International Energy Agency of Paris (IEA), where she
focuses on the Kyoto Protocol and studies different possible approaches to the greenhouse
effect, with the objective of analyzing the consequences of various energy and climate
She is responsible for climate change and environmental economics projects in the Energy
Efficiency & Environment Division, where part of her work involves studying the role of carbon
finance as a driver for investment in high efficiency-low emissions technology.
Until 2006, as Senior Researcher at the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) of Venice, she
focused on climate change, sustainable development and clean development.
She was also a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the
Global Change & Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research (CEEPR).
Her research has been published in a number of papers and articles and she has been a
frequent presence at international conferences and workshops.
Mario Monti is currently President of the Università Bocconi of Milan and its former Rector
(1989-2004) and Honorary President of Bruegel, a think tank supported by 16 Member States
and 28 multinational corporations founded in Brussels in 2005, of which he was the first
He is a member of the Europe 2020 - 2030 think tank, instituted by the European Council
and chaired by Felipe Gonzalez. He was also part of the Commission pour la libération de la
croissance française instituted by the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, and
chaired by Jacques Attali (2007 - 2008).
He held a seat on the European Commission for ten years, initially in charge of “Internal
Market, Financial Services and Financial Integration, Customs, and Taxation” (1995-1999) and
then of “Competition” (1999-2004). As European Union Coordinator for the trans-European
electrical interconnection project between France and Spain (2007-2008) he guided the two
governments to an agreement after twenty years of deadlock.
He is the author of numerous publications on monetary and financial economics, fiscal
policy, European integration and competition.
Medical doctor and nutritionist, Gabriele Riccardi is a professor of Endocrinology and
Metabolic Pathologies at the Università degli Studi of Naples “Federico II”, where he has also
been director of the Human Nutrition department since 2008.
In 2008 he was named President Elect of the Società Italiana di Diabetologia (SID) and
member of the Steering Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and
Metabolism of the American Heart Association.
From 2002 to 2005, he was Director of the Body Weight Regulation, Insulin Sensitivity
and Diabetes Risk Group for the European Community action plan on the Process for the
Assessment of Scientific Support for Claims on Foods.
Additionally, from 1997 to 2003, he was a member of the Scientific Committee on Nutrition
at the International Life Science Institute (ILSI) of Brussels, and up to 2002 he was a member of
the Education Committee of the Italian Endocrinology Society.
Over the course of his career, he has collaborated with prestigious European and American
research groups and has been part of the editorial board of a number of scientific journals.
His research results have been published in the major international journals of nutrition,
diabetology and metabolism.
Recognized in the field as one of the world’s foremost scientists in the field of cellular
transplants, Ricordi invented the process that has made it possible to isolate human pancreas
insulin-producing cells and executed the first series of clinical transplants of pancreatic islets
which have shown promising results in the treatment of diabetes.
Camillo Ricordi is Professor of Surgery, Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Microbiology and
Immunology at the University of Miami. He is also Chief of the Cellular Transplant Division
and of the Department of Surgery and Scientific Director and Chief Academic Officer of the
Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
Since 2007, Camillo Ricordi has held the position of Adjunct Professor at the Institute for
Regenerative Medicine at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine and at the Karolinska
Institutet of Stockholm.
Professor Ricordi was President of the Cell Transplant Society (1992-94), co-founder of the
National Diabetes Research Coalition (and President in 1997), and President (1999-2001) of
the International Association for Pancreas and Islet Transplantation (IPITA). He is currently a
member of the world’s foremost bodies in his field of specialization.
He has received numerous awards and honors over the course of his career in many
different parts of the world. He has been a member of the editorial committees of various
scientific journals and has authored over 500 publications. As an inventor he has seven patents
to his credit.
Joseph Sassoon is founder and President of Alphabet, an institute specialized in qualitative
research and analysis on international communication and image.
For many years he was instructor of Sociology of Communication at the Università degli
Studi of Milan.
Formerly, he was in charge of the Communication Research Sector of CRA, an ad hoc
research institute in the Nielson Group.
He began working in semiotics applied to marketing research in 1985 (among the first
in Italy). In his twenty years of work as a market researcher he has conducted surveys for
the major Italian corporations and for the foremost advertising agencies. He also works for
international clients in Italy, other European countries, the United States and Asia.
In addition to his analysis of the multifarious forms of company and institutional
communications, he also works in the field of predictive studies of medium and long-term
social and cultural trends.
He is a member of Esomar and of the Association for Qualitative Research.
As part of his academic work, he had published many essays on the economics and
sociology of communication.
A medical doctor and scientist who has always been dedicated to the fight against cancer,
Umberto Veronesi is Scientific Director of the European Institute of Oncology of Milan.
He is an expert consultant to the Italian Supreme Health Council, President of the
International Sentinel Node Society (ISNS), President of the National Oncology Commission of
the Italian Health Ministry and member of the Environmental Communication Committee of
the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Territorial Protection.
He is also President of Breast Surgery International (BSI), of the International Society
of Cancer Chemoprevention and of the Committee of Cancer Experts of the European
He is Director of the Scuola Italiana di Senologia (SIS), founder of the European Society of
Mastology (EUSOMA), of the European School of Oncology (ESO) and of the European Society
of Surgical Oncology.
He has received numerous awards and honors in Italy and other countries, including ten
honorary degrees. He is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine of London and of the
American Association for Cancer Research.
In 2003, the Fondazione Umberto Veronesi was instituted with the mission of spreading
scientific culture to all levels of society and government with the intention of creating a
collective awareness of the issues and choices associated with research.
Umberto Veronesi, who was Health Minister of the Republic of Italy from April 2000 to
June 2001, is the author of over 700 publications regarding his scientific work and treatises on
Operational management of the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition is in the hands of Valerio De Molli (Managing Partner - The
European House - Ambrosetti) and the European House - Ambrosetti Work Group.
Valerio De Molli
Valerio De Molli has been Senior Partner of The European House-Ambrosetti with
responsibility for the High Directorship, Strategy and Special Events Areas since 1999, and
Managing Partner since 2005.
He has collaborated with The European House-Ambrosetti since 1990, initially as an
assistant to Alfredo Ambrosetti and later in the Strategy Area of the Consulting Division.
He has worked on projects of High Directorship, Strategy, Internationalization, and Human
Resources Development for medium and large companies and institutions.
He has been and still is member of the Executive Committees of numerous corporations and
on the Boards of Directors of Diadora and Cobra Automotive Technologies.
Since 1992 he has been Operations Director for the European House-Ambrosetti workshop
“Current and future scenarios for competitive strategies”, which is held every September at
Villa d’Este in Cernobbio.
He conducts courses on strategy and management systems for companies, associations and
He received his degree in Economics from the Università Bocconi of Milan.
Barilla Center For Food & Nutrition
via Mantova 166
43100 Parma ITALY