Why should the future of food matter to you? Aside from the fact that we eat food everyday — unless we’re fasting, that is — and that much of our social life revolves around tables of food, the horizon of food is evolving. Efficiency, intelligence and innovation are vital to meet the needs of a rapidly-growing population. From new ways to deal with food storage & waste, to cutting-edge alternatives, here are 3 players already at the wheel of a tech-driven food world:
1) Amber Agriculture - intelligent storage = more food.
With concerns surrounding food supplies, the fact is that total current world food production can already feed around 10 billion people.
In an interview with Foodtank, Jon Shaw, Director of Sustainability & Communications for food logistics company, Carrier, conveys that the question is not 'how do we produce more food' but rather 'how do we keep the food we’ve already grown, that is enough to feed the world’s population through to 2050, from spoiling as it travels from the farm to your market.'
Amber Agriculture is going back to the farm to answer this question. The student-run startup will equip farmers to be able to operate “smart” farms with intelligent grain-sensing storage — akin to the manner in which homeowners monitor their “smart" homes from the ease of a smart phone. How happy are you to be able to remotely dial in the temperature and humidity in your home? Even better if the process for tuning into your sweet spot is automatic. So too will stored crops be happy that their weather and humidity levels will be perfectly maintained by IoT.
Wireless sensors, cloud-based automation and mobile alerts are part of this take on smart farming.
Still early in the game, Amber Agriculture is focusing on spreading the good word. Being able to dial in smarter management decisions, in real-time, will present farmers with the ability to improve the value-chain, starting at the first link.
2) WISErg - reduce, reuse, recycle, gather data.
More food usually means more waste, thus creating a need for more intelligent waste management. This is what Seattle-local startup, WISErg, is offering. Why did the company qualify for Geekwire’s 2014 class of the Seattle Top 10? The company is bent on supplying grocers and kitchens with the ability to recycle spoiled inventory and make smarter buying decisions.
WISErg's solution is in the form of machines that slurrify food waste into organic fertilizers which they can then supply to growers who use the fertilizers to grow the foods that are sold back to said grocers and kitchens who keep the circle circling. The good — less landfill waste. The better — less overall waste.
Everyone’s hungry for data, and these Harvesters supply just that. From the food that goes into these composting robots, out comes analytics that provide grocers and kitchens visibility into managing smarter buying decisions that affect how much food ends up going bad.
These machines can process up to 4,000 lbs of wasted food per day each, keeping that much more out of landfills- putting it back to use in both farms and databases. Keep pumping out the good stuff, WISErg!
3) Impossible Foods - a bloodless revolution.
This burger is entirely plant-based.
If intelligent grain storage and food waste analytics don't get your appetite going, meet media darling: Impossible Foods. Here's another mouth-watering example of what you can make with plants now:
When an influencer such as Eric Schmidt at Alphabet, the parent company of Google, forecasts meat being outmoded by data-driven plant-based proteins, it accelerates the pace at which technology intertwines with food to redefine what we know about food today. Google even wanted to acquire Impossible Foods, but the plant-foods juggernaut is too focused on the mission of saving the Earth to be discussing such small matters.
What? Saving the Earth…when did we dive off the deep end? Who cares if each Impossible Burger chosen over a typical beef burger saves 75 square feet for wildlife, 18 driving miles-worth of greenhouse gases or as much water as a 10-minute shower? How does the burger taste?
Great question. Not that long ago, a “healthy" food likely meant you were about to eat a “bland" food. What Impossible Foods did was figure out how to make the plant version taste as good as the original; how to make a plant burger bleed.
Okay, this company has somehow managed to make a good-looking burger that tastes good and that's supposed to be healthier too? Surely I can’t afford that!
Well, what if we told you Impossible Foods is building out a new production facility that will allow one million of these unicorn burgers to be churned out every month and scale towards being able to supply the likes of McDonald’s...
THE McDonald's? The McDonald's that EVERYONE knows? So, you’re saying that pretty soon I’ll be able to afford these unicorn burgers at the McDonald's that I ate lunch at earlier today?
Well, maybe. Impossible Foods and McDonald’s are still rubbing shoulders at this point in the timeline, but if a relationship happens, that'd be cool! At least for a while. After the dust settles, we'll simply carry on with our routine, which includes going to McDonald's to eat burgers. It'll just so happen that these bloody burgers will be made from plants. This is how the Bloodless Revolution comes to be, and what a cost-effective, environmental, and tasty revolution it shall be.
Yet another example of what you can do with plants nowadays.
Where are you at this juncture? The ship has already begun sailing to a more conscious, efficient, well-fed horizon, but the waves that we in the public provide will determine how soon we can get to this future of food. There are questions aplenty that we’re deeply interested in exploring with you: Which areas of innovation strike a chord with you? Are you a futurist or purpose-driven company looking out at the horizon? Get in touch with us at Virtuul, because these are exciting times. Let’s grab our smart phones and our forks and get ready to shape the future…erm, I mean, eat!