Technology is instrumental in modern-day food production. And while there has been a recent trend to revert to more natural methods of crop propagation and livestock rearing, there is still a burgeoning demand from the growing global population.
Fortunately, food producers and manufacturers are answering the call by marrying sophisticated technology with sustainable practices. In this article, we will take a closer look at the role of technology in the past, present, and future of the food industry.
Machines and robotics increase efficiency
Higher consumer demand calls for faster output. Since the invention of machines used to automate tasks, companies have been able to increase production while at the same time improve quality. Using machines like an automatic can seamer machine lowers manufacturing overhead costs while also preserving the freshness of food. Through canning, bottling, and other preservation methods, seasonal ingredients are made available year-round and distributed globally.
Another advantage of using robots and machinery is eliminating work-related hazards. Jobs like butchering animals can lead to many accidents. By using automated cutting knives, work injuries are minimized without sacrificing the output quality.
3D printing is a phenomenon
During the past several years, 3D printing has taken off and changed the game for many industries. It is only a matter of time before the food industry starts experimenting in its application. There have been several attempts by NASA such as printing soft food and pizza. This innovation opens the door for many possibilities which could help resolve sustainability concerns in the future.
The use of drones
One of the ways technology can change the food industry is illustrated in ‘precision agriculture’. This concept involves the innovative use of GPS and satellite images to monitor climate patterns, crop yield, soil level, and other aspects related to agricultural production.
Drones are instrumental in the process because these small and powerful devices eliminate most of the manual work needed to check crops. Similar to the function of robots and machines in food manufacturing facilities, drones also increase efficiency and safety.
Reducing waste by using new packaging materials and techniques
One of the main concerns affecting the food industry today is sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Consumers are more conscious about ingredients, production methods, and the waste produced by manufacturing companies. Since the advent of social media, companies have always been put in the spotlight and criticized. As a means to adapt and listen to the demands of consumers, companies look towards technology to help them become more ‘green’.
Instead of conventional plastic packaging, food products can be marketed using edible packaging or biodegradable materials. Another approach is to use technology and help companies reduce surplus and product spoilage. For example, there is an app that connects food businesses to charitable organizations, food banks, and homeless shelters so that they can donate or sell surplus items at a much lower price.
In conclusion, technology may have been the catalyst that caused many adverse effects in the global food supply, but it could also be the one thing capable of turning things around for the better. Innovative use of technology to experiment with sustainable practices and waste reduction will ensure that there is plenty of food for the coming generations.
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