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Witnessing the digital breakthrough

FoodTech: A Tasty Combination Of Food and High Technology

05 July 2019 14:02, UTC
FoodTech: A Tasty Combination Of Food and High Technology
By Aleksandre B

Any food-related business idea is a potential bid for a part of a huge market. A market that will never be in decline, that customers never leave, in which there will always be a place for market leaders and startups. Humanity consumes food, and does it in large quantities, with love and greed, meticulously studying the energy value and composition of some products devouring everything that is covered with sauce and has a crust.

In this article, we will focus on food technology that is a business area in which modern technology and food are closely linked

Delivery

One of the most popular and successful areas of food technology: modern computer and mobile technologies which create food delivery services that connect customers with their favourite suppliers of products — it’s fast, inexpensive and simple. In technologically advanced countries, such enterprises are widely spread. Still, in developing countries, such services are just about to gain popularity.

Restaurants, supermarkets, special food selection services that take into account the most diverse needs of users, farms — any product manufacturers are getting closer to their customers when they use modern delivery methods.

Some options are possible: universal enterprises that bring products from any suppliers; own delivery departments at restaurants or trade organizations; online supermarkets where the buyer chooses and then receives the order without leaving home.

In this segment, we can distinguish such companies as Instacart and DoorDash, which are among the first startups to deliver food and drinks. Current leaders include UberEats, operating in more than 1,000 cities; FoodPanda covering 43 countries; Deliveroo which is one of the most popular in Europe; and Domino’s Pizza.

Production

In this sector of food technology, there is absolute freedom for inventive entrepreneurs. There are enterprises that modernize the process of growing plants and vegetables, for example, on vertical farms. There are firms that develop innovative products, such as artificial meat. Also, nowadays such a promising area as 3D dishes printing is very popular. Vending machines that prepare food from the ingredients selected by the user are potentially in great demand.

Innovative products with a sweet taste, but without sugar, are produced by Miraculex; high-tech meats, almost literally grown in greenhouses, are offered by such companies as Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Mosa Meat. Ripple Foods manufactures “milk-free” dairy products while InFarm, Grove Labs, Bright Farm produce compact and productive farms for growing vegetables and other plants.

Package

This market seems to be very promising, taking into account the increasing attention of the population to the environment, reduction of the damage caused by trash, and at the same time, the still growing consumption levels. It’s not an easy task to create adequate, convenient and safe ways to prevent products from losing their freshness and palatability during delivery or storage. Anyway, it can be successfully solved with the help of high technologies.

Here are some examples of such enterprises and their products. Sulapac is a biodegradable and plastic-free material; Tipa manufactures special packaging products for the storage and transportation of food, created by studying the properties of natural materials, such as peel oranges and avocados. Ecoware, Bioplas, Algix also offer high-tech packaging solutions.

Quality control

The development of networks and computing systems makes it possible to organize food “travels” from manufacturer to buyer’s table so that any nuances can be seen and taken into account. For example, the geographical and environmental features of the area where the plants were grown, the time of crop and shipment, the duration of the delivery process, the specificity of storage at intermediate points. Such services often use open and unbreakable data storage technology in the blockchain.

A bit more examples

Mimica's smart labels allow customers to keep their products fresh. SCiO has developed a microspectrometer, with the help of which the user can determine the composition of food products and the presence of different components in them. Impact Vision scans products and analyzes their freshness and quality. BovControl is a cattle control system for farmers, it allows you to digitize and automate the work of cattle farms. AgerPoint controls growing crops with the help of automated scanning of plantings and subsequent analysis of the collected data.

Recommendations

Services that store information about the entire variety of food products from different suppliers allow their users to make an informed choice of products, taking into account many additional requirements. Among such popular enterprises are applications for choosing the brand of wine. Considerable demand is for programs that advise the correct selection of products for different diets, taking into account the peculiarities of the diet of vegetarians or vegans.

You can pay attention to such representatives of food technology projects as Tastemade — a portal of video recipes and recommendations, Vivino — wine recommendations, Zipongo — tips on proper nutrition and healthy diet.

Home appliances

High technologies in the food industry are not only global services that work in enterprises and help to organize their business. Smart cookers, as well as a variety of smart home cooking devices are also considered as foodtech. 

For such developed devices, it is not a problem to identify the products that the user has chosen, to advise on suitable recipes and immediately prepare dishes. A good example of foodtech is the Instant Pot Inc company, which represents several models of its high-tech multi-cooker Instant Pot. The Ember brand, for example, offers a mug that can regulate and maintain the temperature of the drink.

Work organization

An integrated and technological approach to the activities of enterprises related to the food industry is also foodtech. Probably McDonald's was one of the first and most famous companies in this field. From the very beginning, its business has been built on the considerations of efficiently organized details which are produced in accordance with all the standards in all the branches.

The introduction of CRM, information databases, comprehensive control and accounting systems is a modern way of doing business in food technology. One of the examples of such enterprises can be considered the Russian company DODO Pizza, which positions itself not as a pizza manufacturer, but as an IT company using the best high-tech solutions.

Image courtesy of Inc-42



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