America’s food supply is incredibly important and has become synonymous with orange trees and wheat farms. Almost one third of all food produced is wasted each year translating to a $940 billion global hit. There are too many inefficiencies in planting, trucking, the use of water and harvesting. This is compounded by pests, weather and consumer demand. Inadequate labeling and packaging are leading to waste and illnesses are being caused by pathogens in the food. Emerging technologies can provide solutions for these problems. As big data takes its place in agriculture the food chain is being revolutionized.
Sensors used on crops and fields can provide soil conditions, fertilizer requirements, information on the wind, the availability of water and any infestations by pests. GPS units used for trucks and tractors are a vital factor in the determination of the best usage of heavy equipment. Spoilage can be prevented by using data analytics so products can be moved more efficiently and quickly. Fields can be patrolled by drones and unmanned aerial vehicles so farmers are alerted of potential issues or ripened crops. RFID traceability systems provide data streams on a farm products as they go through the chain of supply. The growth rates and nutrients of individual plants can be monitored. Analytics help determine the crops that should be planted and take profitability and sustainability into consideration. For more details about the future of agriculture please visit https://www.forbes.com/sites/timsparapani/2017/03/23/how-big-data-and-tech-will-improve-agriculture-from-farm-to-table/#6fe5ae0e5989.
Packaging sensors will be used by consumers to detect spoiling food and verify freshness and integrity. Algorithms will create new recipes based on a pantry’s contents. There are already several startups creating a scanner the size of a finger to describe the composition of your dinner including the nutrients and ingredients. New technology will help consumers who are health conscious or have allergies or sensitivities.