Updated: Feb 10, 2019
When it comes to food technology, "necessity is the mother of invention." More than ever, we need things in our lives to work better, faster, more efficiently.
The coming decade is already promising to be rich for children of innovation: disruptors who understand how, where and why things can just. work. better.
With green energy and biotechnology among the top booming industries of 2018, the food tech industry is functioning in parallel and holding its own when it comes to keeping the world green and fed. Powerhouse Kraft Heinz is one of a few big-name brands taking note with their VC arms designed to keep up with the rapid pace of food innovation by accelerating and investing in startups.
Here’s why food innovation is changing the way we feed the world and the companies who are placing sustainability and food preservation in the hands of technology:
What is food tech?
For the purist; cans, fire, milk powder, and corks are all products of food technology.
Obviously we’ve advance far beyond the cork, but the main objective of food tech remains to guarantee humanity nutritious and healthy foods by improving on nature through innovation.
The basis of the food tech industry is to deal with the techniques and principles involved in processing and preserving food. The idea is to create more food that can last longer without compromising our ecosystem.
Food tech companies are using science to disrupt the food industry while maintaining nutrients, enhancing flavors, and creating instant food technologies.
Food waste is a global epidemic that is only now getting the attention it deserves. Only a few months after becoming president in 2009, Obama started the initiative to end global hunger known as Feed the Future. This organization effectively made food waste a part of the global conversation in addressing waste impact and ways to reduce it.
Obama’s work in food tech was by no means a coincidence of timing. This initiative was precedent because of the research showing that we will reach a 9.8 billion population in the next 20-30 years.
At this moment, we are so wasteful with our current food supply, we would have to grow 50% more food to reach our growth quotas to feed that sized population. We are already at the point where we cannot extract more from planet without destroying our ecosystem.
Where will the revolution start?
Like all real change, we need to start at home. The food waste statistics within our own kitchens is staggering. Food is going bad before we get a chance to eat it. Bags of baby spinach go mushy before we even get to open them. Leftovers are forgotten and spoil. The world needs us to do better. We need it.
Enter Silo: what will become the single most important factor in reducing household food waste. Silo is a revolutionarily simple vacuum sealer for your countertop. It keeps your food fresh up to 5x longer, gives you freshness and spoilage alerts, and even reminds you when you’re low on inventory.
“Innovation in previous years focused primarily on what we eat and how we eat it. Most advancements in the last 100 years have been focused on quality of food and not on how we keep the food we have. Our technology will advance an area of food and sustainability that hasn’t been addressed or advance in over fifty years.” - Ofer Baratz, VP Business Development at Silo
Who are some of the other cutting edge players in foodtech?
Natural Machine’s Foodini aims at an open-capsule method where the consumer can add fresh ingredients to 3D print their favorite dishes without preservative-heavy ingredients. While this offering seems very niche now, the technology is exciting in that it may open doors to a wider range of applications.
Sous Vide Nomiku maintains a doorstep to dinner model. Customers can simply order their pre-packaged food, pop it in the Nomiku, and wait 30 minutes for their favorite home cooked meal to be prepared. This model minimizes the possibility for waste by tailoring ingredients-purchasing to just what you need for each meal.
SuperMeat is an Israeli biotech and food-tech startup that is developing clean lab-made chicken meat, so that it is consumer and animal friendly.
Mind-reading menus by Pizza Hut UK is an app which is trained to track customer retinas, so users can look across Pizza Hut ingredients and the app will decide which they’ve lingered on longest. Gimmicky - yes. Exciting technology - also yes.
And so, in 2019, if we support game-changing small players, and think globally, we will be well positioned to change the very course of history through food tech.