From wildfires in Australia to flooding in the American Midwest, the effects of climate change around the world cannot be ignored. Natural disasters are nothing new, but they are being intensified by climate change as never before. And we humans have our fingerprints all over the problem. Our food systems – what we eat and how we procure it – are major drivers of rising temperatures and extreme weather patterns.
As it exists today, our global food systems contribute 25% of the greenhouse gases that give rise to global warming. With population growth topping 1% per year and per capita calorie consumption increasing across the world, global food demand will continue to rise. Meat and dairy production bear much of the blame for our food’s impact on the climate. Livestock accounts for 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than all forms of global transportation combined. Worse still, global demand for meat has doubled over the past 30 years as nations become wealthier and larger.
The time has never been better for new technology to disrupt these alarming trends. Food and beverage technology, or “FoodTech,” holds the potential to improve how we eat — from increased food yield, improved nutritional value and freshness to innovations in supply chain and procurement. While in the past the food business has lagged behind other industries in its implementation of new technologies, broad changes in consumer preferences have given startups a new impetus to innovate. An increased awareness of social and environmental issues is driving consumers to look for products and technologies that will help them align their personal values with their purchasing choices. This makes FoodTech a growing and increasingly attractive sector to investors. As a result, over the last five years investment in emerging FoodTech has tripled.
What new developments will shape this promising sector? Below, are three trends in FoodTech that are poised to make an impact and offer significant potential for growth: sustainability, health and personalization, and supply- chain innovation.