And what about the “cultured meat”, which San Francisco-based startup, Memphis Meat, ensures to bring to our plate, on 2021?
Let’s go step by step and see how producing and selling food has changed in latest years.
Agriculture is the primary human activity, the one who allowed the creation of human society. Man, for his part, never stopped improving and progressing, seeking useful and innovative solutions to simplify daily and community activities .
First of all, the production of food.
Unlike the industrial sector, agriculture has suffered a major setback during the years of industrial revolution in terms of research and development. The result is that as Industry 4.0 is increasingly insisting, agri-food is experiencing a slower growth.
Slower, but not less meaningful.
The turning point for the food industry came with the advent of the Information Era. The access to information has hijacked not only the public but also the producers’ attention to a more “transparent” production and production techniques. Transparency is the leitmotiv, the driving force of the so-called “Digital Revolution”. Transparency, as a transversal concept: transparency in information about the product, which led the “power” into the hands of customers , and transparency in the knowledge of the plant.
So, on the one hand, customers require access to more and more detailed information on both plant and animal production.
On the other hand, producers are seeking to cope with changing customer’s behavior and improving production in terms of both efficiency and quality of final product.
The Digital Revolution met the needs of both.
As for the “new” customers, web is full of apps who can read the bar codes of the major products on sale and return information about content, calories, and even origin. In addition, the public’s attention to the “cruelty free” breeding and “green” crops generated new market parameters: crops environmental sustainability level and ethos of farms. Here the revolutionary idea of the murderless meat is born.
Talking about production, digitalization of agriculture has allowed to reach more than one target, such as climate change, cutting entry market barriers and introducing advanced farming techniques.
The first target, therefore, is to mitigate the effects of climate change on production: current climate change can have very negative effects on agricultural production (effects of excess rain, heavy hail or long periods of drought). It is important that producers have tools able to help them calibrating farming strategies on weather conditions. This is already possible, thanks to the DSSs (Decision Support System), IT systems capable of processing data from weather and soil sensor networks and guaranteeing the transparency about plant and environment conditions, pivotal for effective and efficient cultivation.
Digitalization of agriculture reshaped market criteria, allowing to cut entry barriers even for smaller realities, thanks to the use of this kind of technologies. The use of these new technologies allows cultivation of very dry soils or soil not suitable for cultivation, thus expanding agri-food market also to developing countries.
IT world allowed to abandon conventional cultivation methods, moving to new realities, never imagined until, just like Vertical Farming.
Who would have imagined that we would be able to cultivate without sunlight and even without soil?
In Vertical Farming, solar light is replaced by smart LEDs, capable of reproducing natural, ‘indoor’. Thanks to the hydroponic, plants grow in a fully controlled artificial environment, deleting all parasites and diseases caused by contact with soil.
Agri-food, or rather of AgriTech, is the forge of ideas where innovations and most innovative inventions can find the right ground to grow, bringing it from the tail of the industrial revolution, to the leading column of the new digital economy.