What comes to your mind when you think of food?
As one of our basic needs, the production and distribution of food has come a long way over the years. However, with the world’s population continuing to grow from upwards of 9 billion, food security is becoming an important global concern.
Fortunately, technology is playing a pivotal role in improving the production, distribution, and sustainability of food. From improving the processing and packaging of food products to tracking and analyzing food waste and carbon emissions, technological innovations are helping fulfill the world’s food needs without compromising on its resources.
Here’s a look at 3 ways technology is transforming food as we know it:
Also known as satellite farming, precision agriculture refers to the use of GPS tracking systems and satellite imagery to monitor crop yields, soil fertility, and weather changes to increase the productivity of the crop.
Precision agriculture was adopted in the early 1990s and has become an important part of modern-day farming as it allows us to utilize a limited amount of farming land for maximum productivity.
With the help of precision agriculture tools such as soil testing kits and weather analysis software, farmers can now determine the produce generated by specific areas on their farms. Prior to this, farmers would have to treat entire farmlands as one unit. Now, they can grow a variety of crops in one season.
Precision agriculture is also crucial from an environmental standpoint as farmers can now generate abundant produce with minimal use of resources such as water and pesticides in their fields.
Packaging and Waste
With the large amounts of waste generated by food packaging alone, sustainable packaging is a growing concern for consumers. With the help of robotics and digitizing, companies in the food industry are now finding alternatives to traditional plastic and Styrofoam packing that poses a threat to the environment.
Some modern packaging alternatives include edible packaging, micro packaging, and even anti-bacterial packaging that generate little to no amount of waste.
Another growing concern among consumers is that of food waste. The U.S. itself contributes to 40 percent of food wastage every year. With the help of technology, strides are being made to create avenues that can utilize food waste.
For example, Copia is a mobile-friendly app that connects businesses with surplus food to local shelters, after-school programs, and other nonprofit organizations. Copia’s analytic software also manages and tracks their surplus to save money and reduce their overall food waste.
Another notable app is 222 million Tons which generates a customized grocery list for the user by taking into consideration metrics such as household size and meal preferences.
3D printing has taken the food industry by storm. It is a ground-breaking technological innovation that uses multi-nozzle printers to generate foods.
Recently, there have been several applications of 3D printing food from NASA printing a pizza to creating nutritionally dense foods for people with special needs.
This technology can be used to improve the nutritional value of meals and even address hunger issues in countries where fresh and affordable ingredients are inaccessible.
With the rise in technological advancements in the food industry, we are now able to explore new alternatives to food production, distribution, and sustainability. Food tech can be our answer to eliminating world hunger and solving our waste problem.