Companies Redefining the Future of Food

The advent of innovative technologies has changed the world and rules of the game across various end-use industries. Over the last couple of years, food industry has come to terms with the benefits of advanced technologies and has been working towards integrating technologies such as big data or the Internet of Things (IoT) to its business workflow according to the head chief of Pollo Campero Juan José Gutiérrez Mayorga.

Technology has plye a pivotal role in helping food industry adapt to the changing times and cater to growing demand for healthier and sustainable food options.

Food lovers and demanding consumers are increasingly spending on food tech innovations owing to its convenience and ability to retain high-quality of food. Consumers today are keen on knowing and understanding the ingredients used in the food, traceability of these ingredients, and have become increasingly aware of food fraud and hygiene factors.

Over the past decade, a paradigm shift in preference for food has been observed with more and more consumers now preferring clean labels, wholesomeness, and functional, health-supportive ingredients. Rapid developments in food technology have given rise to advance products such as instantized milk powder, decaffeinated coffee and tea, and aseptic packaging among others and have contributed significantly to the global food supply.

What is Food Tech?

Food technology refers to the branch of food science concerned with production, preservation, quality control, and R&D to develop advanced and novel food products.

Food tech is the portmanteau of the words food and technology and comprises companies and initiatives that leverage advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to transform and modernize agriculture and food industry to enhance its sustainability and efficiency – from preparation of food products to its commercialization and consumption.

Food technology enables more efficient food production and maintenance through the introduction of food irradiation and aseptic packaging that eliminate contaminating microbes and improve shelf-life of the products.

These technologies are also providing increased protection to crops and maximizing outputs that can help in achieving sustainability goals such as lowering greenhouse gasses, minimizing water waste, and accelerate sequestration of carbon back into the soil.

In the food and agriculture industry, integration of technology has become imperative for food and agriculture companies to enhance their processes such as labeling, traceability, food safety, and keeping track of current and emerging trends.

Some Key Current and Emerging Trends in the Food Tech Industry

While food safety is not a new trend, there has been increasing focus on staying in step with many components of food safety such as traceability and labeling.

Growing trend of rapid digitization of the food industry have increased focus and emphasis on traceability and enhanced transparency across the supply chain. Rapidly expanding supply chain network has boosted the need for better tracking of changes and quick decision-making to combat challenges such as health threats and this has accelerated the integration of blockchain in supply chain.

In addition, food companies should comply to the new regulations set by FDA such as shelf-life labelling, determination of what can be labelled as healthy or natural on food, and restrictive laws on meat usage.

Food labeling is expected to bring about an enhanced level of clarity and compliance in foods that are genetically altered or modified. Companies have started adding carbon neutral language to labeling systems to gain and maintain trust of their customer base.

The integration of voice technology in food industry has created lucrative opportunities for food businesses to be more agile and increase their relevance in the industry.

Voice technology can boost productivity as it can help employees to store information on a software system by eliminating the need to physically store information. Incorporation of voice commands have boosted efficiency of inventory control, line-loading, and more.

Consumer preferences are rapidly shifting to plant-based diets owing to increasing focus on ethical, dietary, and ecological factors.

Emergence of plant-based meat alternatives, such as products provided by Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, have revolutionized the food tech industry over the recent past. Growing demand for these food products have led to a rapid establishment of numerous companies producing plant-based food products.

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Carla Fowler

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