News Story On Food Waste

Technology to the Rescue of Food Waste

When it comes to the recovery of food and reduction of food waste, the number of solutions that are technology driven has been growing. There exists a lot of wastage of food across the globe today and seeing different players come together with the mission of minimizing such wastes is quite encouraging. A suite of solutions have been developed, from the point when the food is grown on the farm to the point it gets to the level of consumers.

To gain more insights on how technology is adopted to minimize food waste, we interviewed Albert James, an individual with extensive knowledge on the area of food security. We talked to him to better understand the issue of food waste and the role played by technology in minimization of food waste.

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There are two terms that are commonly used to describe the food we produce but never consume; food loss and food waste. Food waste involves the deliberate act of throwing food away, discarding the excess food and allowing food to spoil. To comprehend the potential of technologies in minimizing food waste, we talked to Mark Brian also a food security expert. Question. Is it possible to minimize food waste using technologies? Mark: Consumers have the potential of making their food go further through minimization of food wastage. Science should be used to cut on such wastages in the different stages of the supply chain. There has been a recent surge across the globe in digital technologies

aimed at the reduction of food wastages. Different companies have created mobile applications that go a long way in minimizing the wastages. For example, the “Too Good to Go” mobile phone application was created by Danish developers that has the ability to connect customers to fresh food products at prices that are fair. That is the leftover food thrown away by restaurants daily before they close. The food system is filled with problems which could best be solved by innovative technologies. Those problems include wastage of food, one problem that insiders in agri-tech argue is ripe for blockchain solutions, even though critics argue that blockchain is in no way a magic bullet. Tech companies have also been starting up food movements, whereby, they enable the mobilization of food to such places where it is needed. An application has been developed by FoodCloud which connects retailers of food to different charity groups. Today, in Ireland, through this

application, manufacturers of food, farms, and supermarkets are able to upload the foods they hold in excess which is then donated to other areas where there is a scarcity of food. Agriculture has been revolutionized by technology at regular intervals since the ox-drawn plow was invented in Egypt to when the first tractor powered by gas at the beginning of the 20th century. Moving forward it is expected that digital technologies in agriculture are expected o have a sizeable coverage of the market. Technology has the capability of changing the shape of foods demand, through personalized nutrition and alternative proteins, which happens through the promotion of linkages along the value chain of food, through the Internet of Things, big data, and mobile delivery of services and traceability that is block-chain enabled. Technology also aids in creating systems of production that are effective, like gene editing, water sensors and other advancements that are scientific that

increase the yields in agriculture and make it more precise. Such innovations, when brought together, have the potential of transforming the food sector which in most parts of the world is characterized by wastages. Other technologies that reduce food waste include; Blueapple This is a product attached to refrigerators to absorb ethylene gas which provides consumers with an opportunity to store products that are fresh for longer periods. Through activation of a natural oxidation process, Blueapple is an effective absorber of ethylene that extends the shelf life of products by up to three times. Edipeel This is an invisible natural postharvest protection innovation that is tasteless and edible, developed by Apeel sciences that protects food surfaces. Natural plant extracts that are recycled from agricultural by-products are used to make Edipeel which serves as a barrier-like skin that

Copia makes use of its extensive dashboard for reduction of food wastes to connect businesses which have surplus foods to after-school programs, local shelters and other organizations that do not have profit intentions. Through paying volume-based fees, businesses are able to request pickups for the foods they have in surplus and could make use of the analytical software made by Copia for management and further tracking of their surplus which goes a long way in saving money and cutting on food wastages generally.

A cold chain management system that is real-time that monitors the condition of food products that are perishable when they are in transit to store shelves from the producers. Using this system users are able to identify any problems along the chain and subsequently take actions that maximize the quality of the product which goes a long way in minimizing food waste. BluWrap BluWrap utilizes fuel cells for monitoring and reduction of oxygen in containers used to ship food products like meat and fresh fish and as such helping to extend such products shelf life. BluWrap has inbuilt sensors that work to create atmospheres that are consistent throughout the shipping chain of a product, which extend the window of the freshness of food and allows food to reach new markets when fresh. Freight Farms The Leafy Green Machine and its supporting app Farmhand Connect were created by Freight Farms. Together, these

work to produce harvests that are consistent throughout a year in different geographic locations. The leafy Green Machine offers hydroponic systems whose loops are closed within shipping containers that are outfitted with technologies that are capable of controlling the climate and growing equipment that is efficient. On the other hand, Farmhand connect provides growers with an opportunity of tracking the climate of their farms remotely and controlling their temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, pH and nutrient levels, which maximizes their production and efficiency which goes a long way in waste reduction. IRRI Super Bag Hermetic storage is used in the Super Bag to increase stored seeds and grains shelf life. When these bags are sealed, they reduce the levels of oxygen in those bags from 21% to as low as 5% which goes a long way in reducing the number of live insects in those bags without necessarily using insecticides.

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These bags also increase stored seeds germination life to 12 months from 6 months and further consistently maintains the moisture of grains within such bags which allows for head rice recovery that is potentially higher during the process of milling. Winnow Systems These systems are intended to help the hospitality industry cut on wastage of food through monitoring their waste food and the foods that are being wasted. Generally, these system develops reports on a daily life that chefs use in identification of the key areas to reduce waste, benchmark numerous sites and further track their progress over time. Wakati This is a standalone device that is solar-powered that uses hydration for food preservation creating alternatives that are low-energy and low-cost to refrigeration that is conventional. This device only uses a liter of weekly water basis and solar energy to maintain the hydration of fresh products. That enables farmers in climates that are warm to store their harvests in a manner that is effective when in the farm and even when on-transit which increases their capabilities of bringing crops to markets. There exists a huge potential in these different technologies in minimizing food waste. Everybody, beginning from farmers to suppliers to consumers should definitely utilize these different technological innovations to cut on food waste. These technologies usually are, focused on prevention and recovery of food waste and wherever in use have been seen to change the way people interact with food – positively which goes a long way in reducing food waste. Customers are important driers in the calculation of food waste as their abilities to make swaps inform the quantity and quality of products which company`s produce. More resources definitely need to be allocated to research to develop more

food sector to reduce waste. The irony of the world is that while lots of food go into waste in some places, there are other places where people hardly get something to eat.


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