WILL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TRANSFORM THE FOOD WE EAT?

WILL ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TRANSFORM THE FOOD WE EAT?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming the food industry in many ways. The technology opens new doors to innovation and new product development (NPD). It can also be used to power demand forecasting models and meet production requirements through the elimination of overstocking.

AI FOOD DEVELOPMENT

The new Brazilian start-up company, Fazenda Futuro, has developed a vegan burger using AI technology. The burger has the taste, smell and texture of a regular meat burger, but instead it’s made from chickpea protein and soy. The cutting-edge ‘Futuro’ burger also proudly boasts the same nutritional prowess of a regular beef burger. Similarly, NotCo, the plant-based food manufacturing company, is using AI technology to develop successful plant-based alternatives to animal based foods such as mayonnaise, cheese and yoghurt. Instead their innovative products are made from garbanzo beans.

Food and beverage businesses that can leverage AI in their operations to develop and devise plant-based products (and substitutes) are likely to find success.  These AI processes include the analysis of the specifics of flavor, aroma, texture and nutritional content when developing meat alternatives. But the power of AI doesn’t end there.

Other startups such as Iron Ox have developed entire growing systems based around AI robotics. Their processes are aimed at reducing labor costs and minimizing crop loss due to factors such as climate change. Advents such as drone pollinators are also being utilized to increase efficiency in farms and greenhouses. This means the delicious organic produce we see in supermarkets is increasingly arriving via an AI helping hand.

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CAN FLEXITARIANISM SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT?

CAN FLEXITARIANISM SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT?

Scientists continue to enforce the idea that a drastic cut in world-wide meat consumption is needed. In January 2019 the Lancet medical journal published a study that called for dramatic changes to food production and the human diet, in order to avoid “catastrophic damage to the planet”. A further study, published in October 2018 in the journal Nature, estimated that meat consumption must be reduced by 90% to avoid unsustainable global warming, water shortages and deforestation. So how can we best respond to this cry for help? One response is moving the planet towards flexitarianism; a diet consisting of largely plant-based food with occasional meat additions.

The global food system is certainly damaging our planet. And when it comes to tackling the environmental impact of meat consumption, scientists endorse the flexitarian diet: "We can eat a range of healthy diets but what they all have in common, according to the latest scientific evidence, is that they are all relatively plant based," said lead author Dr Marco Springmann from the University of Oxford. "You can go from a diet that has small amounts of animal products, some might call it a Mediterranean based diet, we call it a flexitarian diet, over to a pescatarian, vegetarian or vegan diet - we tried to stay with the most conservative one of these which in our view is the flexitarian one, but even this has only one serving of red meat per week."

If the world moved to become more flexitarian, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture would be reduced by more than half. In fact research analysis by Oxford University scientist Joseph Poore shows that if every family in the United Kingdom swapped a red meat meal to a plant-based meal just once a week, the environmental impact would be equivalent to taking 16 million cars off the road. 

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THE FUTURE OF AUTOMATION IN RESTAURANTS – THE FOUR WAYS YOU CAN AUTOMATE YOUR OPERATIONS

THE FUTURE OF AUTOMATION IN RESTAURANTS – THE FOUR WAYS YOU CAN AUTOMATE YOUR OPERATIONS

Many restaurants use forms of automation in a bid to increase efficiency, save money, and improve customer service. And as new technologies begin to emerge, with opportunities such as self-ordering kiosks, mobile apps, and other advanced tools, the reliance on automation is likely to increase. If saving money, streamlining your restaurant operations and staying at the forefront of technological trends are your goals, then read keep reading:

1.    Mobile Apps

The great benefit of mobile apps is that they increase customer engagement and also the likelihood of customers returning. Domino’s Pizza and Taco Bell have invested heavily in their mobile apps – which are a means for customers to place orders and pay with no fuss. Customer’s enjoy the convenience of ordering off their phone. So much so that digital restaurant orders have grown 23% annually since 2013, and are expected to triple in volume by 2020.

2.    Self-ordering kiosks

Another way to automate your restaurant operations is by investing in self-ordering kiosks. Your labor costs will be significantly reduced, order speed will be increased, and fewer mistakes will be made. Most prominently, McDonalds started rolling out self-ordering kiosks at its US locations in 2015, and the chain hasn't looked back since. By 2020, most of its 14,000 locations will have kiosks installed. BTIG analyst Peter Saleh writes that “McDonald's shift to kiosks and mobile ordering could help the chain win back nearly $2.7 billion in lost sales”. When it comes to self-ordering, research shows that consumers enjoy the convenience, the efficiency, and the accuracy. Research by Retail Wire found that  26% of people under 34 want to be able to pay for food and drinks using mobile devices or at self-service kiosks.

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THE FUNCTIONAL BEVERAGE BOOM

THE FUNCTIONAL BEVERAGE BOOM

THE FUNCTIONAL BEVERAGE BOOM

The functional beverage market is forecasted to reach $208.13 billion by 2024. Global functional beverage consumption is driven by the consumer’s inclination toward non-alcoholic beverages. Low sugar, plant-based, functional beverages such as Kombucha, continue to boom and are preferred over fruit juices and carbonated drinks. The Kombucha market alone increased by nearly 41% to $534 million in 2017, and is expected to be worth $1.8 billion by 2020.

A RISE IN DEMAND

New ingredients such as mushrooms, cannabis MCT oil, and pre/probiotics have boosted the creation of these innovative “functional” beverages. And manufacturers are embracing innovation in a bid to gain a position in the market. Functional beverages assist in enhancing bodily health, such as improving the immune system, heart rate, digestive health, and weight management. As Mordor Intelligence found: “consumers are developing an affinity for functional beverages which offer enhanced convenience, thereby providing suitable, convenient, and healthy alternative to soft drinks” (FUNCTIONAL BEVERAGE MARKET - GROWTH, TRENDS, AND FORECAST (2019 - 2024). Growing demand from the millennial generation, and their increased focus on wellness awareness, coupled with increasingly busy lifestyles, have also led to an increase in demand.

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COULD 3D PRINTED MEAT TURN THE WORLD VEGAN?

COULD 3D PRINTED MEAT TURN THE WORLD VEGAN?

With sustainability at the forefront of the food and beverage industry’s agenda, it’s no surprise that meat products are being replaced by plant-based alternatives. Earlier this year the California-based ‘Beyond Meat’ became the first ‘vegan IPO’ when they floated their shares on the Nasdaq stock exchange. But there has also been an even greater recent innovation with the advent of 3D printed “meat”.  

Startups, ‘Redefine Meat’, and  ‘Novameat’ have developed 3D printing technology to create healthy and sustainable meat-free products, which recreate the taste, texture and cooking properties of real meat. Vegan ingredients such as rice, peas and seaweed, are turned into a food paste that is then 3D-printed to form a raw, steak-like substance. 

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RETHINKING SEAFOOD: WHAT IS CELLULAR AQUACULTURE?

RETHINKING SEAFOOD: WHAT IS CELLULAR AQUACULTURE?

BlueNalu of San Diego, California, is a leading force in the business of cellular agriculture. But what is this pioneering trend? By now you’ve probably heard of cultured or ‘lab grown’ meat, but what about cultured seafood? Cellular aquaculture is the process by which living cells are taken from fish and grown, using culture media, to create seafood.  

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Seafood consumption has doubled over the last 50 years and continues to rise, and the current seafood industry will be challenged to meet this increasing global demand. More worringly, the planet’s seafood supply chain is constrained by a series of complex problems, which include illegal fishing, overfishing, ocean acidification, rising ocean temperatures, plastics and other environmental pollutants. These factors led BlueNalu to create a cell-based alternative that may form a solution to many of the world’s seafood challenges. 

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The Future of Food Part 6: Insects

The Future of Food Part 6: Insects

The farming and processing of animal livestock continues to destroy nature and release thousands of tones of C02 into the atmosphere. It’s expanding daily, all to feed a growing population with a desire for meat. But did you know that 1,900 species of insects have been identified as suitable food for humans? Although most of us don’t see the consumption of bugs as particularly appetizing, we should not dismiss their benefits.  

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