Our future populations need 50% more food than we have now. Food Tech is an emerging sector that uses technology to increase efficiency and sustainability in the design, production, selection, delivery, and enjoyment of food. Do you know how your lunch made it to your plate$1 We dissect a few examples of food technology changing what and how we eat.
Bowery Farming vertical plant beds. Photo credit: Bowery Farming
With the world’s population growing, developing new ways to efficiently grow our food is at the forefront of the agtech industry. And if we can’t expand our fields out, why not go up$2 Vertical farming is one of the solutions. Expanding across the globe, vertical farms are mostly located indoors, such as in a warehouse and crops are stacked on top of each other, saving enormous amounts of space. But that’s not the only benefit. Since plants are indoors, producers can control the environmental conditions for plants to grow all year round regardless of the weather outside.
Bowery Farming, the largest vertical farming company in the US, has several farms across the country. But farming isn’t just about harvesting crops. Investing in research and development is a core part of the company and integrating parts of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and new software into their farms allows them to analyze and improve faster.
Photo credit: Jacopo Maia
The logistics of getting fresh food from farms to consumers is a colossal math equation. From collection centers and wholesalers to storage and processing plants and then getting it to markets, grocery stores, or restaurants, there are a lot of stakeholders involved.
One Moroccan startup is cutting out the middleman. Terraa has created a platform that connects farmers directly with retailers, restaurants, and service providers. This allows farmers to earn higher incomes and contribute to a more environmentally-friendly food supply chain.
Cutting the chain down even further is Barn2Door, a Saas solution for farmers to sell their goods directly to consumers. With coaching, courses, and marketing advice, Barn2Door’s solution empowers farmers to take control of their businesses and grow their own farm brands.
Photo credit: Bigstock
Sustainable Meat Production
Meat is one of the most highly demanded foods across the world, but the meat industry also comes with a big carbon footprint. Meat grown in a lab offers an alternative to traditional animal meat production with a fraction of the emissions.
In a matter of weeks, Sydney-based startup Vow can go from a handful of cells to an abundance of delicious, nutritious, and sustainable meat. With a herd of innovators, engineers, scientists, and foodies working together, Vow’s mission is to invent meat products that are tastier, more nutritious, and far more sustainable than meat from animals.
After closing a Series A of $49.2M, Vow’s first product, which is a lab-grown Japanese Umai Quail, will be going on sale in Singapore. Lab-grown meat isn’t authorized in many countries yet, but research and development in the industry is maturing.
Photo credit: Too Good To Go
Food tech doesn’t end once the food reaches your plate. It’s also behind the huge food waste revolution. More than one-third of food goes to waste in the world and many startups are acting out to change that.
Too Good To Go, a Danish food surplus marketplace, is making sure good food gets eaten and not thrown away. Their app allows customers to buy and collect Surprise Bags of food directly from cafés, restaurants, hotels, shops, and manufacturers – at a great price.
What about food waste that can’t be avoided$3 Greek startup Bio2CHP turns organic waste into fuel for local grid consumption. Waste turned to energy! Targeted at businesses in the agro-food industry, their solution will help solve two problems at once.
Vertical farming, innovative logistics, lab-grown meat, and upcycling are just a few of the solutions transforming the food industry.
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