Faster service and convenient food solutions are being propelled forward by our tech-driven world as AI (artificial intelligence) increases across the food sector. Soon it will be possible to place an order through a mobile app and a robot or drone will deliver the food to you. Got a craving for a double-cheese pizza? Have an autonomous vehicle deliver it. Domino’s Pizza and Ford have been testing driverless pizza deliveries whereby customers enter a number on a touch screen on the side of the vehicle to access the pizza.
“The desire for convenience is shaping logistics,” says Johanna Koskenkorva-Tapiala, responsible for client and customer insight at Fazer Food Services. “People want instant gratification. In the long-run, we expect to see more drone delivery concepts that can deliver a package straight to the recipient in any location.” An increasing number of online services and mobile apps are also making it possible for people to pre-order food and bypass the queue to pick it up. It’s easy to check out menus and order and pay from any device. US-based start-up company Say2eat, for example, uses chatbots so customers can text their orders to restaurants through Facebook Messenger, Amazon Echo or SMS, eliminating the need to wait on the phone for someone to take the order.
In addition to making things more convenient, technology is having an enormous impact on how food is grown and cultivated, resulting in more sustainable solutions. Smart data is being used to grow food more efficiently, through such things as sensor systems that control water, nutrients and atmospheric conditions.
Local Roots, based in Los Angeles, is one of many companies moving farming indoors. It grows vegetables in so-called “TerraFarms” made from shipping containers. Instead of relying on sunlight, plants flourish in these containers with the help of LED lights. Technology is also being used to produce fish and meat. Finless Foods in California is producing the world’s first in vitro fish and seafood. Cells from living fish grow into fish filets in a bioreactor.
Producing a juicy steak from living cells could also be a reality down the road according to Professor Julie Gold who specialises in biomaterials at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg. “It could actually be cultivated by using living cells in a food factory in the future, just like yoghurt or sourdoughs are cultivated by letting good bacteria grow,” she says. Gold points out the many advantages to cultivated meat such as eliminating the use of antibiotics in livestock and reducing the environmental impact of current meat production. It might also be possible to design healthier meat products she adds by replacing animal fat with vegetable-based fats.
Read more about what happens when food meets technology and other trends in Fazer’s Future Food Trend Report 2019.