New technologies are being used in the food industry not only to improve the benefits of food, but also to change the way nutrients are produced.
A lot of people are making a shift towards sustainable food choices.
The pandemic has also impacted such choices. Positive lifestyle habits have reduced fast-food consumption. The emphasis is on fresh produce and reduction in comfort food.
Commitment to Zero Hunger
The United Nations, together with several governments, have committed themselves to achieving zero hunger by the year 2030. Approximately 30% of the world’s population faces intense food insecurity.
Technology is making headway to address challenges around food insecurity.
For instance, the Rice Research Institute released an improved variety of rice after two decades of research.
They have donated $1.5 billion worth of rice to farmers in Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This improved quality of rice has not only increased productivity but also lessened the effects of heat, drought, cold, diseases, salinity, and pests.
Holistic Approach to Health
Technological developments are a crucial factor in bringing about a holistic approach to health.
The market for food that is less processed and healthier is continuing to grow. Many people are concerned about sustainability and climate change.
The pandemic has brought about a demand for products that have ‘immune support’. People want minimal preservatives and additives to ensure a superior quality of food. The emphasis is on adequate nutrition and emotional well-being.
Plenty of apps are available that help users track their fitness, plan meals, and even participate in virtual exercise classes.
Urban Food Production
Technological innovation is helping cities feed themselves and create more effective linkages between urban and rural food systems.
There are organizations that are creating indoor farms in urban spaces, which can produce safe and nutritious food. For instance, AeroFarms, a company based in Newark, uses aeroponics to grow greens in an environment which is temperature-controlled. Aeroponics is a technique which lets the roots hang suspended in air while a mist of nutrient solution is sprayed on them.
Compared to field farming, this technique consumes much less water, and the yield is higher. AeroFarms plans to build farms along distribution routes in urban areas. Agricool, a startup based in Paris, is growing strawberries in old and reused containers. They use LED-lights and aeroponics which enable growing strawberries throughout the year.
Reducing Food Waste
Many tech companies have come up with innovative ways to reduce food waste.
For instance, Goodr uses technology to help people who need food. They pick up food from restaurants, caterers , and events, and deliver them to the hungry, particularly to those who do not usually have access to free meals.
Their app allows users to reach out to them when there is surplus food ready to be collected. They also collaborate with organic waste haulers to dispose and recycle inedible food items.
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