In its rawest state, food production is simple enough. If you plant a seed and cultivate it, you’ll get the fruit once it ripens. And if you took care of a farm animal, you could take its meat once it’s old enough to serve its purpose. This was basically how the food industry began, but humans have come far since then.
Today, you’ll see wide expanses of land dedicated to growing industrial crops for commercial use and manufacturing. And because it would be impossible to till the land manually, there are hundreds of different pieces of machinery invented for the sole purpose of helping farmers harvest their crops.
That’s all made possible through modern technology, and it’s not showing signs of stopping anytime soon. The greatest minds in the world are perpetually hard at work to develop better solutions for common agricultural problems and improve the answers they discovered in the past.
Agriculture and food production are no longer limited to just planting seeds in soil or waiting for them to be ripened for harvest. Now, machine automation, protein cloning, and genetic engineering are involved in the process. Find out just how much 21st-century technology is revolutionizing how people make food:
One of the biggest challenges that those in the agricultural industry face is their crops’ vulnerability to the elements. When natural disasters strike during the harvest, the entire yield can be affected and rendered useless. The same can be said when there’s a pest infestation that damages the crops.
While it’s impossible to plant and grow all crops inside a controlled environment, certain exceptions exist. For instance, there are gourmet and medicinal mushrooms that can be grown inside an enclosed shipping container. This innovative mushroom cultivation system will allow farmers to get huge yields through the use of modern technology.
Farming automation technology is believed to grow at an unprecedented rate, especially because it’s designed to produce for commercial scales. And because it’s situated in a compact, controlled environment, it won’t take much manpower to maintain the day-to-day productions.
If you’re staying current with the trends circulating in the food industry, you’ll know that many people have been turning to plant-based products for their diet. There are food companies continuously developing alternative proteins using plant-based ingredients, and they have come far.
Of course, most of the products available in the market today are considered works in progress, specifically because there’s still room to improve the taste, texture, and colors of these proteins. The alternative proteins use cell-based fats and mycelium to address the texture, while other ingredients are used to make up for the taste.
This wouldn’t have been possible without the alternative protein technologies created to address multi-sensory factors, but it’s still far from being perfect. That said, this innovation in food production shows very promising outcomes not only for those who want to eat healthier but also to address the sustainability issues in meat production.
Genetic Engineering and GMO
Most consumers are hesitant to try food that’s known to be genetically engineered or to contain genetically modified organisms (GMO) because they believe that it’s harmful to humans. They might think that GMO food is unnatural and developed in laboratories instead of in farms.
However, that couldn’t be more wrong. Scientists have been modifying the genes of plants to achieve desired traits since time immemorial through genetic engineering (GE). Among these traits are drought tolerance and pest resistance, which can help farmers get better yields from their harvests.
While it’s true that GMOs are developed with the help of science, they are also just a more refined version of how humans have been selectively breeding plants and animals for generations. Genetic engineering only replicates this process, which results in safer and healthier raw food products.
GE crops have been known to have a reduced need for pesticides and harmful chemicals, making them the better option compared to traditionally cultivated crops. Even today, many of the packaged foods stacked on shelves at supermarkets contain GMOs, such as soybeans, corn, or canola oil.
If you think about it, all these can make technology seem like it’s only making food production more complex and complicated. But in reality, it’s making the entire agricultural process easier by using innovative solutions and farming technologies that weren’t available to humans in the past.
The pursuit of knowledge and the challenge to be better than they were yesterday is what makes human beings thinking-feeling creatures, after all. There was a time when the Homo Sapiens ate their food raw but then accidentally discovered fire and how to cook their food. The times are changing; it’s only right that humans change along with it.