Technologies That Impact Our Food Supply
Food is often thought of as simple and natural. Farmers plant seeds in the ground or raise animals that eventually become food for the world. As simple as this sounds, modern technology has made major changes to the global food supply.
Different types of technology have had a large impact on the food supply, farming, production, distribution, and transport. In 2020, farmers, food scientists, and food companies are relying on technology more than ever to help meet the world’s growing food needs with the goal that one day no one will go hungry and everyone will be able to eat the freshest food possible.
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Here we will explore five important food supply technologies that are not only shaping how the food industry now operates but also how these technologies will affect our food supply in the future.
Genetically modified organism (GMO) technology is the technology on this list with the most potential to revolutionize the food industry. It is also the most controversial. Genetic modification of food has been going on for 25 years now but many people are still confused about what GMO food actually is and its safety.
GMO food has been scientifically altered to achieve a goal: to increase yield, add nutrition, or keep it fresher, longer. Although the majority of scientists believe this process is entirely safe, the general public is largely more skeptical. This is especially true when the modification is used only to produce a higher yield for companies.
GMO foods have the potential to change the way the food industry works and help feed hungry people, particularly in developing nations. With GMO technology, food producers can make food more nutritious and get high-quality, healthy, fresh food to populace who live in areas where this type of food is not currently available.
2. Data loggers
The food technology that is most widely discussed deals with the production of food or the final product that consumers eat. However, there is a huge, vital piece in between these two steps: transport and storage of food.
One technology helping to improve the way food is stored and handled is data loggers. As Dickson mentions here, data loggers are critical for monitoring temperature-sensitive products, including many food items. These internet-connected sensors help monitor and maintain precise environmental conditions so that food stays fresh and safe to eat.
Data loggers have been around for a long time but the new generation of these devices is part of the Internet of Things (IoT) making them much more efficient and effective. These sensors can now communicate and transmit the data they collect to a remote location.
Cloud-based, remote environmental monitoring is a massive leap for the food industry. Using this method, makes it feasible to track the exact conditions in which food has been transported throughout the entirety of its journey from production to consumer. This ensures that consumers get products with less chance of carrying food-borne illness and that taste fresh and delicious.
These unmanned flying machines have many capabilities making them useful for a number of applications in the food industry. Drones help the food industry from the time the food is produced to the moment it gets into the hands of consumers.
On the production side, drones are helping farmers better monitor their farms. They can quickly cover long distances and make it possible for fewer people to monitor huge farms, saving farmers money and manpower. Likewise, these savings in the production process can eventually lead to savings for consumers as well.
Drones can also be used in distribution processes as a cheaper and quicker alternative to the traditional truck, ship, and plane-based distribution model. For consumers, drones may eventually mean easier and more convenient food delivery options and give consumers in food deserts access to better food.
Most people think about cryptocurrency when they hear about blockchain technology but this secure digital ledger also has big implications for many other industries. In the food industry, blockchain technology can be used to help secure the food supply, fight food fraud, and allow consumers more transparent access to a food’s journey through the supply chain.
Blockchain technology will do all this by creating an easily accessible digital record of where the food has been, how it was handled, and what has been put in it from beginning to end. The end result will be a scannable QR code or digital key associated with every food product that anyone can access to see exactly how an item was treated throughout its lifecycle.
This will give consumers more knowledge about exactly what has been added to food and how fresh it is. It will also offer companies the ability to fight low-cost, low-quality knockoffs of their products, and make the entire food supply more secure from tampering by bad actors wishing to do people harm.
Food waste is a enormous problem around the world, especially in developing nations. America alone throws away around 80 billion pounds of food each year. While all this food may not be able to feed the hungry, it is good for something. That is where upcycling technology comes in.
In 2020, beauty companies and DIY enthusiasts alike are using food waste to make cosmetic products. This reduces the food waste that goes into landfills and can also help reduce the harsh chemicals and packaging that go into many traditional cosmetics. Using upcycling technology can be a major win for cosmetics companies who can get their hands on food waste for very cheap prices or even for free and make a big profit on the final products.
Food may start with just seeds, water, and dirt but to get safe, high-quality food into the hands of consumers in 2020, there is much technology involved along the way. Technology in the food industry is important for all of us and watching how the technologies above develop in the coming years is imperative for anyone interested in getting the best food possible.
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