Food and agriculture

What are the main innovation trends in food and agriculture? By offering an overview of the challenges and opportunities affecting this industry, Supertrends can help you understand and use them to keep your agribusiness always one step ahead.

Food and agriculture

What is changing?

The food and agriculture sector is under pressure from a necessary, but difficult transformation that confronts corporate leaders with choices that may often be perceived as being mutually exclusive: On the one hand, there is the need for agri-businesses to align with national and international policies, regulations, and consumer preferences in order to achieve new ambitious sustainability goals. On the other, they must increase sector productivity, both to ensure business continuity and growth and to meet the growing global demand for quality food. Innovation in this sector is geared towards achieving a harmonious combination of these seemingly conflicting goals.

Digitalization and data-driven decision-making

Digitalization is the basis for optimizing processes and solving a wide range of problems that characterize traditional farms, such as low productivity and yields, vulnerabilities related to climate change, lack of access to credit, weak market linkages, and lack of preparedness in case of supply chain disruption. Although the topic of digitalization is not a new one and several advanced digital solutions have already found a place in the market, their adoption continues to be relatively slow. Lack of digital literacy and data-driven approaches, and high implementation costs – especially for small farmers –  are the main factors delaying technology adoption.

Sustainability and climate change mitigation

The need to feed a rapidly growing global population forces the food system to achieve productivity rates that worsen its negative environmental impact in terms of  deforestation, the misuse and depletion of natural resources (due to poor farming techniques, soil mismanagement, or overuse of agro-chemicals), and its contribution to climate change. In addition to being one of the main contributors to climate change – especially caused by emissions from livestock and animal-based food production –  the agricultural sector is also negatively affected by it. In fact, rising temperatures cause shifts in rainfall patterns, putting crops at risk and leading to yield loss and increasing food prices.

Food safety and food security

Meeting the increasing global demand is not just a matter of quantity (food security), but also of quality and nutrition (food safety). National and international regulations are placing increasing responsibility on food producers to ensure that both of these requirements are met. Growing urbanization worldwide also involves a change in eating habits that are increasingly oriented towards diets high in calories, proteins, and fats, but low in other essential micro-nutrients. Not surprisingly, this challenge ties in with the rise of non-communicable diseases (e.g., diabetes). In addition, rising temperatures and globalization – which makes food chains longer, more complex, and less visible – increase the risks for food integrity with possible consequences in terms of food poisoning and disease outbreaks that can potentially spread faster and more widely than in the past. 

Key technologies and innovations to watch

dna

Gene-editing technologies

The most important gene-editing technology is the CRISPR method. It enables scientists to edit the DNA of crops to make them more resistant, less vulnerable to diseases, and safer for humans and animals to eat.

In addition to contributing to food safety, genetic modification can also contribute to higher yields that help meet global food security requirements.

Drones

Agritech

Currently, various agri-technologies are used in farms and fields around the world in different stages of their lifecycle, such as robots, automation, and UAVs powered by AI and ML; remote sensing and digital farm management; and biotech and nanotechnology.

Due to the strong incentives for all countries to produce more quality food in a more sustainable way, the agritech market is expected to triple by 2030.

food agriculture

Precision fermentation

Animal-based food is produced in bioreactors where genetically engineered microorganisms work as a “cell factory” to produce specific molecules that are essential food ingredients, such as milk and egg proteins, fat, and collagen.

No living animals are involved, allowing for a significant reduction in water consumption and land use for livestock farming, with benefits for the climate and the environment.

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We provide you the knowledge and the tools to untap the hidden potential of your agri-business and of the innovations that will enable more sustainable practices, increase efficiency and productivity in a net-zero future.

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