Individuals' concern with food safety has been heightened by COVID-19. More than half of the people surveyed in a recent study believe food safety is a top 3 global issue, according to new research from the Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC). Consumers are increasingly worried about exposure risk related to food handling, preparation and transportation.
“There needs to be more traceability and visibility in the supply chain, a trend that is already in the works,” according to Jimmy Sohn, CEO of Techno+, a food value chain consulting company with expertise in the Korean alternative protein sector, who is also the principal consultant at Bright Green Partners, a global consulting firm for leading plant and cell tech strategy, and mentor of Big Idea Ventures, a hybrid venture firm specialising in new protein.
“There are studies about the traceability of food by using big data and blockchain technologies,” Sohn says. “People didn’t realise the urgency until COVID exposed the vulnerability in the system, and digital transformation comes back to the forefront.” Blockchain technology has a structure with the potential to create an open-sourced environment for information about food, and every point of contact along the supply chain, which allows again for greater transparency and traceability.
“If we look at how machine learning and artificial intelligence can be used for personalisation and dynamic pricing of food based on expiry date, technology as such can be used to make informed choices regarding dietary or nutrition requirements, and reduce the significant amount of food being wasted nowadays,” says Dalmadi. “Nearly 40 percent of the global population has access to the Internet, and among the bottom fifth of the poor, 7 out of 10 households have a mobile phone, so people are connected off the bat, meaning they have access to readily available information and services.”
A growing number of companies are leveraging AI technology and Machine Learning to help eaters with these day-to-day food choices. Empowering eaters’ choice has the power to positively affect two of the main challenges of our time: obesity and malnutrition. This ranges from finding the origin of the food you consume to accessing your AI-powered mobile app assistant for daily health and wellness regulation to tackle obesity.
Consumers “Vote with Money”
Before the pandemic, concerns about food security were rife. This was shown in people willing to pay a premium for further awareness of sustainability; from knowing where their food is coming from and its quality to whether the supply is generated from a sustainable source going forward...
Navigating the Valley of Death
Advancement in food technology can allow us to completely rethink how and where we can cultivate our food sources. One of the more revolutionary developments in this area is that of ‘cultured meat’. “If you think about being able to grow meat for consumption without slaughtering animals, it’s really something,” says Lung.