In 2050 there will be 9,000 million humans on the planet and a daunting challenge: how to feed them. The 2017 edition of the FoodTech European Summit, Seeds&Chips, has set the challenge of sustainability for start-ups in the sector.
In the second edition of Seeds&Chips last May, more than 220 international start-ups presented their most recent projects in AgTech, FoodDelivery, Food Design, Big Data, Smart Kitchen, WineTech, Waste, etc., with many of them focused on sustainability.
One of the research areas that is looking to provide solutions in 2017 is that of hydroponic, aeroponic and vertical crops on urban roofs and in interior restaurant gardens. Robonica and Fresh Square are already developing their proposals.
Gothamgreens.com has started to offer “a year-round, local supply of premium quality, pesticide-free green products grown under the highest standards of food safety and environmental sustainability” in New York City and Chicago. Winnowsolutions.com offers restaurants food waste savings reports, with the aim of eliminating food waste, as well as various foodsharing initiatives.
Sustainability, but while still safeguarding our ecological wealth. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) guarantee global diversity by 2020. That is why initiatives such as Crop Trust -an international organization created to ensure the conservation and availability of plant diversity – were created, or research based on the use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to create predictive models for pests and for agricultural productivity.
Meanwhile, AgroTech or AgTech is in the midst of a debate on how technology will affect farming, with discussions at recent conferences such as the 2016 Silicon Valley AgTech Conference, the World AgriTech Investment Summit, The Forbes AgTech Summit…
The search for alternative sources of protein is another new line of innovation: laboratory meat, cheese made from cereals or insects are alternatives that are currently being researched. And not only to feed the growing population, but also the large number of people who have stopped consuming meat in recent years.
There is also the reevaluation of natural kitchen utensils that preserve nutrients, such as cast iron pans, along with the development of the Smart Kitchen. According to the report conducted by Research and Markets, the market for intelligent household appliances will reach a volume worth 38,000 million dollars by 2020.
The interaction of composite foodstuffs with the human genome is a question that promises to deliver more surprising answers. Cellular agriculture is another of the great paths toward sustainability that could speed up food production.
At the same time, some important drivers for this food revolution are emerging, such as the accelerator and laboratory Food Future, Inc, or Re-imaginefood.com, which is building a network of the top 100 influential people who can transform the food industry.
For now, the next upcoming conference, SouthSummit, to be held in Madrid from the 5th to the 7th of October, will focus on the following advances: Food Hacking&Nutrition, Smart Agriculture, The Kitchen of the Future & Gastrobots, Internet of Food and Brewing the Bar of the Future. And more big names will surely emerge there to help tackle the 2017 sustainability challenge.