4 top innovations that nobody saw coming in the food industry
Food innovation means different things to different people. For instance, those born in the 60s and 70s may still be coming to terms with the ease and speed of online food delivery options. But for those born in the 2000s, it seems like a run-of-the-mill piece of technology. Perhaps, they’d be more intrigued by robot servers and advancements in the plant-based protein space. But, in a few years, it might take nothing short of a time machine that delivers food from historical times for people to think, “wow, now that’s food innovation”!
However, it can’t be denied that there have been tremendous tech-powered developments in the food industry in recent years. These include customer-facing innovations and new back-end technologies. In fact, there has even been a lot of talk about food innovation being one of the important agendas of COP27 (Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC) to combat climate change.
Let’s now look at some of the top innovations in the food industry.
Focus on health and immunity
If you think it’s odd that good health is an innovation – you’d be right. The fact that technology and healthy eating haven’t always seen eye-to-eye is definitely odd – but that’s how things were. Only in recent times is this subject getting the attention that it deserves. Today, many consumers expect more than just taste – they also want to enjoy the nutritional advantages. So, food brands have begun taking actions - from reducing sugar (or using natural alternatives) to using more immunity-supporting ingredients like turmeric;
Protein supply transformation
Traditional protein-rich food, such as egg, chicken, and fish, has been facing unexpected competition from the unlikeliest sources like plants and insects. On the one end, plant-based protein offers a viable option with chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, kidney beans, etc., replicating the taste and nutrient-rich content of the meaty kind. On the other side, bugs are becoming the new beef, with insect protein providing vitamins, calcium, amino acids, and all the good stuff your body requires.
Service robots for restaurants
The food and beverage industry may be taken over by robots in the near future! We don’t mean it to sound apocalyptic, though. On the contrary, the influx of robotic technology can be just what the industry needs – given the constant workforce shortage and human inefficiencies inherent in tasks like serving, cleaning, and even cooking. From robotic servers to robotic chefs and bartenders, several innovations seem to be queuing up. As you may know, a few Singapore restaurants have already started using them, including Cali’s own Cobie - a state-of-the-art driverless robotic waiter.
Sustainability & localisation
Again, it may seem odd that ensuring the food demand and supply ecosystem is eco-friendly is being referred to as an innovation. But the truth’s that historically - technology hasn’t been a friend of the environment. But, in these eco-conscious times, people want to be sure that they are helping the planet or, at the very least – not harming it while consuming food. Hence, they gravitate towards food brands that wear sustainability as a badge of honour. These methods include regenerative farming practices, upcycled food, eco-friendly packaging, etc.
Furthermore, localisation is gradually gaining more traction. It’s a pleasant surprise – given that globalisation was at the forefront of the food and beverage world. But as we said earlier, we live in eco-conscious times – and consumers seem to have an uncompromising stance on empowering local communities they’re a part of.
As you can see, food innovation isn’t necessarily restricted to using nuts/bolts or software. Sometimes, innovation occurs in the minds of consumers as they make expected and unexpected shifts in how they consume food. After all, food isn’t just what people make, sell, buy, and eat. It’s a part of every country’s history, culture, and economy, as well.
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