New technologies could structurally change food supply chain

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

Innovations like using insects as forms of protein have the power to structurally change the food supply chain
Innovations like using insects as forms of protein have the power to structurally change the food supply chain

Related tags: Food supply chain, Technology, Nutrition, Food

Innovations and new technologies – such as 3D printed food, insects as forms of protein and wearable technology – have the power to structurally change the food supply chain in the not-too-distant future, according to Rabobank.

With the food sector experiencing challenging times – price pressure from retailers and changing consumer behaviour – these kinds of innovations could be key to growth in the sector.

Rabobank described three mind-sets of ‘the dynamic consumer’ – sustainability, convenience and health – and has gauged the viability and timing of a selection of innovations in its report ‘What’s Cooking in Tomorrow’s Kitchen?’.

Jelle Groot, analyst at Rabobank, said: “Traditionally static consumption patterns have undergone a transformation and we believe there are now three prevalent consumer mind-sets for food buying.

“Understanding these mind-sets and using appropriate innovations could not only have a game-changing effect on food processors’ businesses, but will be essential to remain relevant in a highly competitive environment.”

According to Rabobank, the use of alternative ingredients, such as macro-algae (seaweed) and insects, is a realistic option, but adoption may take some time as challenges lie in scale, cost and consumer acceptance.

In terms of developments in the convenience arena, online food shopping is predicted to grow over the next two decades, with new technologies able to deliver augmented shopping experiences, and more personalised offers.

Meanwhile wearable technology is a key development for consumers with a healthy mindset, who want to keep track of that they’re eating, and data on calories consumed, for example.

Rabobank also believes that 3D printed food will fit into this category, with consumers able to personalise food in terms of nutritional values, portion size and flavour.

Among the challenges food companies may encounter with these new technologies is the pressure to deliver more consistent quality, as gadgets such as handheld scanners, which enable consumers to find out the nutritional values of food, also look set to rise in popularity.

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