Food fuels our very existence — so perhaps there’s no more noble pursuit than ensuring there’s a sustainable supply of healthy foodstuffs available to all. But rising populations, disease, conflict and displacement means securing high-quality food for the masses is very challenging.
With that in mind, here are four research and tech developments in the food industry.
Boosting food production in Africa is an ongoing struggle — but a new mobile app named uLima is designed to help solve the problem. CEO Sunesh Bhoola explains that the platform will connect farmers with useful information libraries, databases and access to the latest market and weather information.
Combining this knowledge with the advanced crop, soil, livestock and agrichemical information also available on the app will enable farmers to make efficiencies and increase yields using the latest information and guidance.
The app was launched in Kenya and it’s hoped it will help Africa use its huge tracts of arable land much more profitably.
A team of Cornell researchers led by Professor Miguel Gomez have been studying food security in low income neighbourhoods in the north-eastern US.
The team carried out interviews and tracked food prices on supply chains to get a long-term picture of the journey from farm to supermarket and then customer.
The area is served by smaller supermarkets that have less purchasing power than their larger competitors — but it emerged that these retailers were able to source healthy foods direct from regional wholesalers in order to turn a profit and contribute to community health.
An added bonus of a reliable local supply chain was that lower transportation costs reduced the carbon footprint of food transport.
Researchers at Hong Kong Baptist University have made the slightly unpleasant discovery that human skin flakes that naturally peel off during activity could be the cause of the strange smell that’s sometimes apparent in air-conditioned areas.
As the flakes deteriorate they act as a fuel for bacteria and this interaction releases a malodorous whiff that’s off-putting for everyone.
This situation can be avoided by installing a filter that stops the material entering in the first place — meaning that large-scale refurbishments shouldn’t be necessary to stop the pong long-term.
In the UK, food industry specialists Penmann design and install innovative bespoke process cooling and ventilation systems — to stringent hygienic build requirements.
Maintaining an optimum temperature in a controlled environment throughout the production process is essential for firms that create everything from pastry products to premium ice cream — and tight margins mean that wastage can jeopardise profitability.
But the engineering excellence of these types of niche firms means more manufacturers can future proof their facilities and operate in confidence.
These four research and tech developments in the food industry provide ample evidence that feeding the world really is a global affair.
What food industry development has caught your eye? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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