European Commission
Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
TOBE 2014 – 3rd BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

"From sectors to system, from concept to reality"

Mella Frewen

Mella Frewen
Mella Frewen
FoodDrinkEurope - Director General

Director General of FoodDrinkEurope, representing Europe’s largest manufacturing industry, since July 2007.

Mella Frewen’s previous positions include Director for Government Affairs, Europe, Middle East & Africa, for Monsanto, dealing with agricultural biotechnology, conventional agriculture and agri-chemistry.

Prior to that, she was Director, International Relations for Cerestar, then Europe’s biggest starch producer. From this role and her earlier ones in the Ferruzzi and Eridania Begin-Say Groups stationed in Brussels, she has a wide experience of relations with relevant International institutions, with the Institutions of the European Union and trade associations within the food chain, as well as with the agricultural and chemical sectors.

During this time Ms Frewen was the Food Industry Member of the EU Commission’s Advisory Committee on Arable Crops, of the Commission’s Standing Committee on Renewable Energy and of the Commission’s Advisory Committee on Non-Food and Textile crops. She is currently member of the EU Commission’s High Level Steering Board for the European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability, and member of several other food-industry related Boards.

Ms Frewen is Chair of the ACEI (the Alliance for a Competitive European Industry) and Vice President of the OECD’s Advisory Group for Responsible Business Conduct along Agricultural Supply Chains.

Ms. Frewen has worked in the Agri-food sector in Europe for 25 years. She has a Master of Science degree from the National University of Ireland, and completed a post-graduate course at the University of Brussels (ULB).

She also holds an INSEAD certificate on International Operations Management.



Bioeconomy and the European food industry
The bio-economy, the production of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, feed, bio-based products and bio-energy, is one of the oldest sectors know to humanity. Today life sciences and biotechnology are transforming it into one of the newest. The food manufacturing industry and the bio-economy are two sides of the same coin and, in order to successfully meet the global sustainability challenges we face today (population, food, water and climate etc.), bio-economy solutions must play an important role.
The food industry is committed to innovation, as demonstrated by our active European Technology Platform (ETP) Food for Life, for which the strategic research and innovation agenda is currently being updated. Transforming our life science knowledge into new, sustainable, eco-efficient and competitive products, adding value to renewable agricultural raw materials, is at the heart of what the food and drink industry does. Success depends on many factors including the necessity to have a holistic policy framework within which to work, increased communication around the benefits of the bio-economy, and facilitated translation of research outcomes to real marketable products within a reasonable time span.
The food industry continues to focus on innovative, value-added products such as food supplements, additives and bio-disinfectants, obtained from the bio-refinery, from biomass and from food industry wastage. Development of appropriate skills and training of young professionals with the necessary qualifications is essential; the European food industry is working with its social partners to create 10s of thousands of jobs in the industry and to increase the employability of Europe’s young unemployed.