Food Tech is already part of our everyday lives – while we shop, eat or make orders. But what exactly does the term Food Tech mean?
What is Food Tech?
Among other things, Food Tech wants to get the most out of existing resources, offer customers transparency about production and origin of products, and develop possibilities that ensure re- and upcycling considering the growing amount of food waste. Food Tech includes the entire development process – from product design to distribution.
Why is Food Tech necessary? After all, we have lived quite well until now.
There are many reasons why Food Tech is such a relevant and increasingly important topic. On the one hand, people’s awareness for food has strongly changed: food is not supposed to only fill people up, but it also needs to be healthy and stimulate the metabolism. At the same time, food has to be visually appealing. Of course, it is most comfortable if food is delivered directly to your home. Also, many people do not consume meat or other animal products for various reasons. This change requires not only new, innovative products and product concepts, but also procedures that meet these requirements.
Additionally, innovative products are also indispensable due to environmental pollution. 15,000 liters of water are needed only to produce one kilogram of beef. What options can technology offer those who do not want to give up eating meat because they love the taste of it? And what are the alternatives to livestock farming when the worldwide demand for meat cannot be covered anymore?
The best meat in the world does not have to come from animals!
Here is where Food Tech comes into play: The start-up Impossible Foods develops cultured meat, which is almost indistinguishable from beef: “A mix of wheat, coconut oil, potato protein and vegetable ingredients developed in laboratories“, Wirtschaftswoche explains. Food tasters, at any rate, were absolutely convinced of the “crisply fried patty“. Other people also recognized its high potential: Bill Gates und Google Ventures are already funding this new product. Impossible Foods, which serves its burgers only in restaurants in New York at the moment, seems to have an instinct for trends and is on the right track regarding taste. Its meat substitutes are hardly distinguishable from “real“ meat – they are juicy and the fiber structure is optically identical.
Impossible Foods is taking a step in the right direction with its innovation – moving away from livestock farming and the waste of resources, towards sustainable alternatives.
How about a coffee on the way to work?
In Germany, 320,000 disposable cups are used every hour, which makes about 3 billion cups a year. What kind of material is used for the production of disposable cups? Aside from tons of wood and plastic, one of the main ingredients is a lot of water. Wouldn’t a refillable cup be the perfect solution – one that does not waste a great amount of resources? The Australian company Frank Green produces such refillable coffee cups. They do not only look stylish, but also have great practical benefits: Whoever invests some money in the purchase of this kind of cup does something good for the environment by reducing their personal waste drastically. In addition, the CoffeeCup2Go is also smart: with the help of detectors, it connects with an app, hence enabling the user to pay cashless – by using a virtual bonus card, customers are also rewarded for their loyalty with free drinks and offers.
And after work? Maybe a Thai curry with regional vegetables for dinner?
It is nothing new that people like to have their food delivered to their homes. The newest trend are „food boxes“. Etepetete has set itself the task to “save“ vegetables. The principle is very easy: vegetables that normally get sorted out due to deformation or other blemishes – because they are no longer “salable“ – are put into “savior boxes“ and delivered directly to the homes of the consumers. That way, edible vegetables won’t be wasted. Customers can choose between different boxes, depending on each individual demand. According to Etepetete, half of each vegetable harvest never makes it to the retail market. Each year, 28 percent of the worldwide arable land is cultivated without any benefits coming out of it. In turn, this means that an enormous amount of resources is wasted on the production of vegetables.
Food Tech goes much further…
… now, how do I bring this alternative efficiently to the consumer?
The company Gazindo is dedicated to process optimization. Gazindo is a completely digital merchandise management system for the gastronomy branch. According to the manufacturer, the daily procedures of orders, the goods receiving department and the inventory are all covered by one digital product. Gazindo provides efficiency of making orders, cost of sales estimation, paperless acceptance of goods and labelling of allergens or additives.
An app that sends out notifications as soon as the supplier has new products or offers? That does not only save a lot of time, because all of the catalogues do not have to be searched through manually and the suppliers do not have to be individually contacted anymore. It also incidentally eliminates a great amount of bureaucracy – whole mountains of paper just disappear because all of the orders and analytics are available for the user in digital form. An algorithm searches for and finds the service provider with the best price, which also makes manual price comparison unnecessary. Transparency is also guaranteed: every product has its allergens and additives listed in the catalogue.
All of the examples mentioned above cover the needs of Food Tech: transparency, process optimization and less food waste. Technology has a wide variety of applications in the Food Tech industry. Companies have to rethink and break new ground in order to meet the challenges that the future will definitely bring.
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