Food Technology for All

by Nanette Byrnes | May 26, 2015

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For years, the most important food technologies were all about scale…Many of today’s food technologies seem to be moving in the opposite direction, toward methods and products that are economical for small farms as well as large corporate ones.

“For years, the most important food technologies were all about scale…Many of today’s food technologies seem to be moving in the opposite direction, toward methods and products that are economical for small farms as well as large corporate ones.”

“Venture investment in food-tech startups climbed to more than $1 billion in 2014, according to CB Insights —a significant increase from $288 million in 2013. One focus of Google Ventures and other Silicon Valley investors has been companies taking creative approaches to producing new foods such as vegetable-based beef substitutes, protein bars made with cricket flour, and other products aimed at small but valuable groups of consumers.”

“On the farm, software and data analysis could make agriculture more affordable for operations of all sizes. Today every John Deere tractor, sprayer, and combine comes equipped to wirelessly communicate information about where it is, what it has planted, and more. By combining this information with data generated by soil sensors and weather reports, farmers could find ways to use water, seed, and fertilizer more efficiently, lowering their costs enough to more than pay for the technology investment while maintaining or even improving yields.”


Byrnes describes the potential of a new economy in agriculture as we switch from a world focusing on scale to one focusing on flexible scalability: the ability for systems to perform at micro and macro levels effectively. Products able to achieve this kind of versatility hold more potential for larger markets and more creative and adaptive uses.

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