“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.”
Bill Gates, 2001
When you think about food, technology is hardly the first thing that comes to mind. However, technology is increasingly contributing to food’s journey from the farm to the fork. Innovative advancements such as 3D printers, robotics, sensors, drones, and more are continuing to revolutionize the way we produce, package, and consume food.
According to a recent report from ING, technology is helping food manufacturers produce more efficiently for a growing population. There are 37.59 million people in Canada right now, a figure that is only rising, which means there is a higher demand for food each year. To keep up with the ever-increasing needs of society, food and industry experts are proposing a rethink towards the methodology of the food industry. The combination of technology and food has already started changing the food and beverage industry, introducing new potentials and capabilities.
In the past few years, 3D printing has really taken off and is now being used in nearly every industry. From pizzas to personalized foods, 3D printing is being adopted for producing all kinds of food items. NASA has been funding and looking into ways to print food for its astronauts whilst in space. 3D food could also change the way we eat. 3D printers would allow us to modify the texture of food which could heavily affect consumer consumption. Although it has potential benefits, there is an absence of evidence on whether 3D printed food meets all the health and safety regulations, so far.
The use of machines in the food industry also ensures quality and efficiency. It can drive down production and storage costs whilst increasing productivity. Robots offer a wide range of opportunities and can affect every link in the chain. Robotic applications include butchery and product sorting. The automation of this process has improved safety and consistency. Robotics are being introduced into agriculture, packaging, delivery and cooking in an attempt to produce better quality and sustainable food.
Precision agriculture is also known as satellite farming is a modern farming management practice based on making production more efficient. Drones allow farmers to monitor crop yields from planting to harvest, under almost any weather conditions. Drones can be used to locate and identify diseased or damaged crops allowing farmers to react quickly to threats. The use of drones and other robotics does not eliminate the need for food workers but will help them be more efficient and safer in their work.
Redefining the future
Where the food industry will be in the years to come will depend on industry creativity. Technology will become smarter and more advanced and our relationship with food will alter because of that. With consumers expecting healthier products, food producers wanting to increase efficiency, and society shifting towards sustainability, technology will continue to develop and impact the food industry.
Technology plays an important role here at CJR Wholesale too. In the last year we have invested in more environmentally friendly vehicles and machinery to do our part in minimizing our carbon footprint.