TMCnet Feature
April 27, 2020

Foodtech- The future of the global food industry?



Will food technology change what we will be eating in the future? We think that it will. 

The food and agriculture industry is the world's most significant industry, having a consistent and loyal customer base of over 7 billion people. According to the World Bank, this industry comprises nearly 10% of the global GDP, worth almost $8 trillion globally, considering the global GDP of $88 trillion in 2019. 



Now, it's no doubt that the global food industry is so huge because, let's be honest, everybody must eat. But what will happen with this industry in the future? 

Well, experts believe that global food production must increase by 70% by 2050 to produce enough food to feed the nearly 10 billion people population, as it is projected to grow by that year. This rise in the number of world's inhabitants is rising a lot of concerns about resources like food. 

Other data suggests that consumers' behaviors have also modified over the last decades. According to a recent Pew Research report, which analyzed how the diet of the average American has changed from 1970 to today, the average American consumes more meat than they used to. They also drink less milk but consume more cheese. The report also discovered that grain products have grown in popularity. Plus, while the average American eats nearly 2% more fruits today, they eat 2% fewer vegetables. 

So, how will the food and agriculture industry keep up with a globally growing population and fast-changing consumer patterns? The answer is: using food technology!

Foodtech is reshaping the industry by coming up with new ways to produce meat, dairy, and vegetables, improving processing and packaging, and improving the safety of food. But that's not all! Foodtech might also be the solution to producing enough food to feed this number of mouths without destroying the planet in the process. 

Foodtech explained 

Before we dig deeper into some examples of how food technology can help the food industry to meet new consumer demands, let's understand exactly what Foodtech represents. 

As its name might suggest, Foodtech represents a collaboration between the food industry and the tech industry to bring innovations in the way we produce food but also in some other areas from the industry, including sustainable farming and packaging methods, as well as food waste reduction. 

Currently, there are over 1,700 Foodtech companies registered at Forwards Fooding's Global Foodtech map. Those companies use technologies such as robots, drones, 3D printing, and AIs, all meant to help the food industry be more efficient and to find more sustainable ways to produce food. 

Vertical farming 

Vertical farming has already become a significant trend among modern agriculture methods. However strange this concept may seem, it seems to be an excellent solution to produce food in locations where the soil is scarce. Using stacked shelves indoors with bright light, luminous LED lights, farmers can grow food indoors. 

Moreover, it seems that this farming method is also a sustainable option as it significantly reduces the amount of land space needed and the requirement of water to produce food by 70%. And, it also reduces labor shortage in the agriculture industry as farmers will be using robots to handle processes like harvesting, planting, and logistics. 

Plus, since plants are grown indoors, this can also potentially reduce the risk of pests and diseases. Moreover, it allows farmers to produce foods in urban areas as well since the plants grow inside, in an isolated and controlled environment. 

3D printing

3D printing is already taking over all industries, and it seems that recently it has also come into the scene in the food sector. Just a few years ago, NASA printed a pizza when in search of a solution to help its astronauts to select and produce delicious foods on their mission. Yes, you read that right, a pre-programmed robot printed an edible, delicious pizza. 

Moreover, 3D printing can also help experts produce food for people who can't chew or swallow hard food. For example, those suffering from swallowing disorders, which affect around 8% of the world's population, have a tough time eating regular food like the rest of us. And, that's when 3D printed food might come to rescue. It will not only improve the visual appeal of the food but also the safety of texture-modified foods. 

Moreover, 3D food printing can allow people to create their meals that contain the correct percentage of nutrients required for a specific lifestyle, medical condition, and even a particular gender. 

Blockchain technology

Food production in less favorable climate conditions for a growing population isn't the only challenge the industry faces right now. Another major problem is food waste. Well, it seems that technology can help here as blockchain technology might reshape the way we grow, process, and distribute food. 

Major industry players such as Nestle, Carrefour, and Starbucks have already adopted blockchain technology. And, according to a recent study, nearly 10% of the biggest global grocers will adopt and use blockchain technology as well by 2025. 

How can blockchain technology help? From helping us get a clear and 100% accurate idea on when to plant and order food to when and where to distribute a specific product. Overall, this will help the industry significantly reduce food waste globally

Food processing technology

Food processing is a set of both physical and chemical techniques used to transform food ingredients or agricultural products into food. For example, grinding grain to make raw flour is a method of food processing. 

From removing toxins from food to preserving it and making it easier to distribute, food processing technology is up-and-coming for the food industry. Also, if you take a look at the Glacial Acetic Acid Market, a substance used as preservative in the food industry, data shows that food preservation is gaining traction. Most likely, canned-like food will continue to grow in popularity over the next few years as it is more convenient for both consumers and distributors. 

It's official: the food industry must and can adapt to all the changes that will come in the future. All these innovations in Foodtech will, hopefully, help humanity overcome the challenges of producing food for a growing population in less favorable climate conditions. 



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