As the food industry is getting more sophisticated to meet consumer demand, so is the technology producing it. From innovative manufacturing processes to household consumer goods, innovative solutions are reflected in all aspects of this industry.
The supermarket is one of the most ubiquitous sights in the Western world. Seemingly immune to the decline of the High Street, supermarket brands go from strength; Walmart is the largest company in the world by revenue1 while Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrison all rank among the world’s largest companies2.
With global retail sales of $4 trillion (£3.1 trillion) annually, food and beverage is one of the largest sectors in the world - the top 50 food manufacturers account for 20 per cent of global packaged food retail sales1. Food conglomerates and FMCGs regularly develop innovative food products to provide consumers with easy cooking and eating choices. Whether it’s Uncle Ben’s Rice, Heinz Ketchup, or Twinkies, there are iconic favourites in every household.
The fitness industry has transformed over and over in the past 50 years. From fads like the grapefruit diet, emphasis on superfoods like quinoa and exercise regimes like Zumba, the industry is constantly changing as consumers continually lose confidence with each but never give up hope in the next .
While governments, charities and the media attempt to change attitudes towards diet and exercise, obesity rates globally continue to grow and 42 million children under the age of five worldwide are now overweight1.
The 3D printing of food, like most other applications of the new tech, is still struggling against the bonds of novelty. While 3D printed candies and other sculpted dishes are most certainly impressive, it will be applications which can produce healthy food easily, quickly and cheaply that establish the technology as feasible.
Last week, we discussed how a rising global population places strain on methods of food production and how technological advances could be used to feed 10 billion people.
But that was only half the tale. Providing food security to so many people relies on technological innovations to solve problems at such a scale that IP conflicts occur regularly. Unfortunately, a system designed to protect and incentivise innovation can actually stifle development and even exacerbate issues.
In this article, we will look at the role IP plays in agriculture and how that impacts a stretching global food chain.
The population of the world will reach 9.7 billion by 20501 , 66 per cent of which will be in cities2 . Energy supply, transportation and employment will all be of concern but one of the most crucial worries is far more fundamental – how to feed these people.