Read about what FoodTech is, examples of FoodTech, and how it will be changing the way we eat in the near future!
What is the definition of FoodTech?
How could we not love FoodTech? It’s two of our favourite things, combined! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and jokes about cheese can get us through the day. So how is technology now influencing what goes on our plate?
And, most importantly, how tasty is it?
According to tech blog, Digital Me Up, FoodTech can be defined as “the intersection between food and technology; the application of technology to improve agriculture and food production, the supply chain and the distribution channel.”
So basically, FoodTech is any technology applied to the way we produce, sell, or serve food. This is hardly a new topic. Since the Industrial Revolution and the decline of self-sufficiency, inventors and industry leaders have applied technology to food production to help us produce more plentiful, better quality food. However, it is only really in the last few years that innovative ‘FoodTech’ has erupted as a sector in its own right.
Local Roots Farming
We recently blogged about the rise of indoor farming, and as the demand for fresh, healthy food continues to grow, this is one type of FoodTech that is booming. Technology is putting a new spin on farm fresh, and it is attracting a big investment.
Local Roots Farming is on a mission to use some of the most cutting-edge tech to grow the freshest, healthiest food possible. The company even puts a new spin on fast food, with their technology increasing growth speed by 50%.
When world leaders are trying to find ways to feed the world more efficiently and sustainably, the FoodTech created and used by companies like Local Roots Farming could supply the answer to the demand.
Sensor systems that control atmospheric, nutrient and water conditions, custom-engineered LED lighting that dial into specific proton wavelengths, an irrigation system that uses 99% less water than outdoor farming, and intelligent data collection that monitors plant health, is tech that will turn any farmer green with envy.
But it is not just our leafy veg that is receiving the tech treatment – our meat is too.
The average person in the UK eats around 70g of red meat a day, and about 95% of the UK population eats chicken at least twice a week. Now, if you thought that tech can’t make meat, then you are very wrong!
Memphis Meat is developing a way to use tech to produce real meat from animal cells. That’s right, meat without the need to “feed, breed, and slaughter actual animals”. The company has raised around $22 million in funding with investors including Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Kimbal Musk.
While this tech is still in development, production costs remain prohibitively high. When they announced they had grown their first chicken in the lab, the cost was an eye-watering $9000 per pound. But with its potential to use up less land and water and 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions in its production, tech could come out on top.
However, with its first commercially-viable product not planned to hit the shelves until 2021, Memphis Meats has time up its sleeve to fine tune its technical processes. So for now, that Turkey at Christmas will still be fresh from the farm.
It’s not just what goes on the plate that is down to FoodTech. Technology is affecting how it is served to you as well.
One day, Sally the Salad Robot could be creating your custom salad, especially if Chowbotics has anything to do with it. Sally is the company’s first product, but they are focused on developing more robots for food service. Ingredient-driven, chef-inspired dishes could be given the AI treatment in restaurants, cafes, hotels, food courts, and even hospitals soon.
Chowbotics recently landed $5 million in Series A round of venture funding and is ready to roll out Sally from the robot production line next year, before turning the tech onto breakfasts, burritos, tacos, and more.
Starship Enterprises (with Just Eat)
So FoodTech is growing and preparing our food, but don’t we still have to pick it up ourselves?
Of course not! Technology steps in here too with the growing trend of delivery robots. Look no further than London’s streets to find Starship Enterprises delivery bots roaming the streets.
Weighing no more than 40 pounds and producing zero emissions, Just Eat have already started to trial them on London streets with some success. With FoodTech whizzing around within a three-mile radius antravelingng up to four miles per hour, these bots could be the delivery drivers of the future.
So the influence of FoodTech is set to be behind every mouthful of food in our future, but in the meantime there are apps bridging the gap between tech and what we eat.
If you don’t fancy wasting your time in queues, there are a number of mobile ordering apps that enable you to pre-order what you want to eat and drink from some of your favourite local cafes or restaurants, and take payment. Then you just need to stroll in and pick it up.
Ordoo and Mobo2Go
While large chains like Starbucks and McDonalds have created their own, smaller chains and independent venues are turning to apps like Ordoo and Mobo2Go to create a seamless experience for their busy (and hungry!) customers.
All this FoodTech is starting to whet our appetites, and we can’t wait to see what will pop up on the menu next!