How Technology Is Transforming The Food Industry
14 septiembre 2020
When it comes to food, tech isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. However, technology over the years has changed how we produce and find our food through applications, robotics, data and processing techniques.
According to a recent report from ING, technology helps food manufacturers produce more efficiently for a growing world population. There are 7.5 billion people in the world right now and that means a higher demand for food each year. By using tech to improve processing and packaging, it can improve the shelf life and safety of food.
Robotics and Machines
The use of machines in the food industry also ensures quality and affordability. By using machines, it drives down the costs of keeping the food fresh and increases productivity. According to the report, “The rise of robotics in the food industry is a tangible example of food tech. The number of robots in the European food industry is well over 30,000, while the number of robots per 10,000 employees rose from 62 in 2013 to 84 in 2017. Although Germany is the largest market, robot density is relatively highest in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Italy.”
Robotic machines can help to eliminate safety issues for the more dangerous jobs in the food industry. In 2016, a tech company rolled out a program for butchery. By using robots to cut the more difficult of the meats, they can save many work injuries. This is just one of the many ways technology can improve the industry.
In the past few years, 3D printing has really taken off across many industries and the food industry is one of them. There have been several applications of 3D printing food from NASA printing a pizza to creating soft foods for those who cannot chew hard food to consume. It opens the door for innovation being able to create many things that we were unable to before while also being able to help with food sustainability. There are many ways 3D printing is shaking up the industry.
Precision agriculture is a major player when it comes to how technology can make a difference. It is the use of GPS tracking systems and satellite imagery to monitor crop yields, soil levels, and weather patterns to increase efficiency on the farm. Not only can they see all that is happening across the fields, but they can also use analysis from the findings to test the soil and the health of the crops. A major way they are doing this is through the use of drones. These drones can locate and identify diseased or damaged crops and tend to them immediately. The use of these robots does not eliminate the need for food workers but helps them be more efficient with their work. With strict product requirements at large volumes and demand for lower pricing, the robotic elements help create a faster environment to produce more goods than regular labor.
Packaging and Waste
One of the biggest concerns for consumers right now is having healthy and sustainable goods. Consumers pay attention to labels and harmful ingredients, especially with social media, there is not much that companies can get away with anymore. Many companies use technology to help them “go green.” By using robotics and digitizing, companies in the food industry are able to find alternatives to plastics and other harmful packaging to the environment.
There are many different ways we are using technology in packaging now from edible packaging, micro packaging and even bacteria fighting packaging.
Consumers are also looking for where companies are sourcing their products and how they are handling their waste. Currently, 40% of America’s food is thrown away each year. With the help of technology, there are strides being taken to reduce that number and utilize the extra food.
One app, Copia uses its extensive food waste reduction dashboard to connect businesses with surplus food to local shelters, after-school programs, and other nonprofit organizations. Copia’s analytic software manages and tracks their surplus to save money and reduce their overall food waste.
With all these advancements in technology, there are so many different ways that it can really change how we produce food. Evolving technology could be the key to eliminating world hunger and solving our waste problem- we will just have to wait and see.