The INC Congress featured a stimulating three-day program to exchange knowledge, ideas and experiences. Attendees had over 20 sessions, among round tables, seminars and keynote speakers’ presentations ranging in topics from market dynamics, crops and production forecasts, agricultural and water resources, new findings in health and nutrition, or product innovations, among others.

Mr. Gopi Kallayil, Chief Evangelist, Brand Marketing at Google, keynote speaker on Day 1, spoke on the “9 principles of innovation at Google’’. He outlined what is considered to be vital for customers today and how innovation helps in running business. Among these points, Kallayil mentioned how important it is to understand consumer’s behavior and trends. He also threw some light on how technology has made life easier, as everything is available within a touch of a button. “Our phones have become a remote control to our lives”, Kallayil stated.

On the other hand, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Spiritual and Humanitarian leader and keynote speaker on Day 2, spoke on ‘Mantra for success and happiness’, highlighting the need for balance between professional and personal life, and self- meditation.

By a series of 9 monographic round tables, industry leaders provided participants with updated information on global production of different nuts and dried fruits for 2017, as well as insights on current trends and future perspectives.

Nutrition research update
Furthermore, the Congress gathered distinguished scientists and nutritionists such as Prof. Jordi Salas-Salvadó (Chairman of the INC World Forum for Nutrition Research and Dissemination), Dr. Richard D. Mattes (Distinguished Professor of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, USA) and Dr. V. Mohan (President & Director of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, India).
Jordi Salas-Salvadó presented the “New Findings on Nuts and Health”, whereas Richard D. Mattes delivered a lecture on “The Role of Nuts and Dried Fruit in Healthful Snacking”, and V. Mohan discussed on the benefits of cashew consumption.

Scientific seminar
This year, the Congress program included a Scientific seminar focused on technological improvements in the cashew industry, chaired by Pino Calcagni, INC 2nd Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the INC Scientific and Government Affairs Committee (Italy), and offered by Prakash Kalbavi, from Kalbavi Cashews (India). “Advances in technology over the years have helped the industry manage large volumes and improve the quality of the cashew produce. Moreover, these advancements have equipped the industry to overcome several challenges such as grading & sorting”, Mr. Kalbavi said.

INC Awards: Celebrating the Excellence
Moreover, several distinguished individuals and companies were recognized by their significant contribution to the nuts and dried fruits industryDr. Richard D. Mattes, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition Science and Director of the Public Health Graduate Program at Purdue University (USA), who has been an active researcher in the area of nuts and health for over 20 years, was presented with the Award for Excellence in Research.

The Award for Excellence in Gastronomy was delivered to Bukhara Restaurant, overseen by Chef JP Singh, for its contribution to the preservation, improvement and dissemination of Indian cuisine worldwide using nuts and dried fruits in its menus.

As for the Innovation Award, whose winner was decided through a vote among the Congress participants, went to Mr. Bert Peelaers and Mr. Taf Peeters, founders of Qcify, Inc., a world leader in
the field of automated quality control for the best solutions in the food industry.
Finally, the major recognition, the Golden Nut Award, was delivered during the traditional Gala Dinner to Mr. K. Ravindranathan Nair for his indefatigable dedication to the cashew business. Mr. Pratap Nair collected the prize on his behalf.

The INC also presented next years’ Congress, that will take place in Sevilla (Spain) from May 21-23, 2018, and announced that the 2019 event will take place in Boca Raton (Florida, USA).
Along with the technical content and business meetings, the INC Congress also gave attendees the opportunity to immerse themselves into the Indian culture and traditions through a series of social events which included delightful gastronomy, spectacular shows and glamorous and friendly atmosphere.

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