Top Technological Breakthroughs in Food and Beverage
Posted July 31, 2020
One of the most personally overlooked values of my studies when I was in college was how much of a role technology was going to play in my profession. I’ve been fortunate to have a long editorial career that’s seen many technological changes, from copy editing software (anyone remember Quark?) to not even owning a laptop. How did I possibly write term papers from the school’s computer lab and not at home? I remember waiting until 9 p.m. to call friends because that’s when the free minutes kicked in on my cell phone. I only had 60 short minutes a day back then on my plan. I can’t imagine that now, considering the interviews and Googling I conduct on a telecommute basis. My, how times have changed: Isn’t that right, Alexa?
Now that I’ve dated myself, I’d also like to share that one of my favorite aspects of my job is research. I love being a constant learner during the writing process, and I have been seeing some really cool technology coming through the food and beverage space. With that being said, I’d like to share my top three findings that sparked my interest as of late.
3D printing of food
Earlier this year, it was announced that Swiss chocolatier Barry Callebaut started printing chocolate for hotels, coffee chains and restaurants. Although printing chocolate isn’t an entirely new concept, it hasn’t been as widely available until this year. Business Insider reported that the 3D printed chocolate studio, Mona Lisa, would be in charge of producing “thousands of pieces at a time with a ‘bespoke, handmade appearance.’”
Then, as if that wasn’t cool enough, Popular Mechanics among others reported that KFC is 3D printing chicken nuggets. The bio-printed nuggets from Moscow-based company 3D Bioprinting Solutions will be made from chicken cells and plant-based material in the world’s first offering of its kind. KFC said in a release that the nuggets “will be as close as possible to both taste and appearance to the original KFC product, while being more environmentally friendly to produce than ordinary meat.”
Food delivery robots
These came onto the scene late last year, but they’ve picked up relevance due to social distancing and demands for contactless delivery. DoorDash started its “fleet of starship robots” to deliver up to 22 lbs. of food orders from door-to-door. Once the robot arrives, a text message is sent to the orderee, who simply clicks a link and unlocks the robot. The robot, according to Robotics.org, can climb curbs, avoid collisions and has theft-deterrent features like alarms and a 360-degree camera.
Sustainability is the name of the game in food and beverage, topping almost every single consumer trend list in 2020. Plastic is out, edible wrappers, tableware and even drink packaging is in. Chemical & Engineering News shared some of its coolest findings earlier this year, from drink packaging made of a waterproof seaweed film to plates and bowls made of banana leaves. Even condiments and whiskey cocktails are being offered in Ooho sachets, which are made from seaweed and plants that disappear naturally.
I’m excited to see where the next couple of years takes us in the tech world, and I look forward to looking back on this blog and laughing at these new innovations that will quickly be surpassed by the latest hot tech trends.