Trends In Future Food Tech

Food is a fundamental part of life, so it’s no surprise that future food tech is becoming a hot topic. Here are three interesting trends in the world of food technology.

Meat Alternatives

The growing popularity of meat alternatives shows no signs of slowing down. Fueled by regenivore, reducetarian, flexitarian, vegetarian, vegan, and other movements, everything from the more processed high tech imitation meats such as those from Beyond Meat and Impossible Food to the more traditional tofu and tempeh are steadily capturing market share. The number of new competitors is one of the more interesting dynamics, with a voracious battle for dominance sure to play out in the years to come. Beyond Meat’s stock is down around 75% from its IPO in 2019 and it’s certain that there will be other astronomical rises and falls as the battle for this “share of plate” continues.

Smart Appliances

It seems everything is “smart” these days and kitchen appliances are no different. From the simple gadgets like Yummly’s smart thermometer to the complex Samsung Smart Fridge it’s clear the battle is on for bringing intelligence into the kitchen (no offense to the cook). While a dose of healthy skepticism is probably warranted the fundamentals of this trend are rock solid. Cooking at home hasn’t really changed much for the past several decades and given the massive role eating plays in our lives it’s only a matter of time until we begin to see meaningful changes in how we interact with food in our homes. While being able to see who's ringing the doorbell on my fridge door isn’t exactly going to make the world a meaningfully better place, future food tech under development that helps a fridge tell me when items are about to expire and reduce food waste can definitely move the needle.

Consumer Facing Automation

So far a lot of automation has been focused further up the supply chain, on farms, in factories, and at distribution hubs. That’s likely about to change. Multiple fast food restaurants are testing varying degrees of automation that directly faces the consumer. Whether it’s the McDonald’s in Fort Worth delivering drive through meals straight from a conveyor belt or AI supported virtual kiosks enabling workers based abroad to take orders from customers at the counter, automation is pushing its way up the supply chain. With a retiring baby boomer population likely to fundamentally change labor force dynamics for the foreseeable future, more companies will deploy increasingly visible automation to stay ahead.

Future Food Tech’s Impact

Future food tech that was once only a figment of our imagination is now becoming reality and on balance that’s probably a good thing. As we work globally to make sure everyone has access to affordable and nutritious food while also curbing the impact on the planet we’ll once again look to technology as a tool in our toolkit to actuate change.

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