Discussions around food demand meeting the
population need have now become more critical. In 2050, it is expected that the
demand will increase by around 59% – 98%. Boosting agricultural production is
limited because of the availability of land. The current trend is also not
enough to meet the growth. However, a key factor to understand from the current
trend is food waste.
Forty-five percent (45%) of produce products like vegetables or fruits eventually turn into food waste. 20% of seeds, meat produced are also wasted. Add to this another 35% of fish products also wasted. Approximately, the total cost of food wasted is at $1T. Food waste, however, is not solely about food wasted in the table. Retailers, because of their quality standards, also contribute to the losses. The process of how food is being transferred within the supply chain also contribute to the waste. This led to the United Nations stepping in and establishing a key development goal of cutting down the waste by the year 2030. And they are looking at the technology on how to solve this concern.
One of the key approaches being considered is the application of sensor-based sorting machines. Sorting is the process of identifying which among the products meet the quality standards. The sensor-based machine approach is expected to eliminate inconsistencies coming from human evaluators, to boost up marketable food products, and eliminate food loses.
The sensor-based technology uses subtle differences in colors of fruits and vegetable images and compares it with a visual spectrum of acceptable value. Through this image-based approach, the machine is also able to detect the contaminants, which are then eventually removed.
A reverse approach is also being considered wherein food losses are scanned for any remaining acceptable quality.
Ultimately, the answer to the pressing food demand might just indeed be the way we consume food today.