Food + Technology

Technology is reshaping what and how we eat in big ways

Innovations are popping up all over the world that will allow us to connect with our food in new ways in 2017. From virtual grocery shopping to creating meal plans based on our DNA, it’s clear that food and technology have become fundamentally linked.

Major kitchen appliance manufacturers have been making incremental changes over the past decade to bring better technology into the home. In the last year we’ve seen exciting launches including Whirlpool’s indoor composting unit, which recycles 95% of your food waste into rich compost right inside your kitchen. Samsung’s new Family Hub 2.0 takes the humble refrigerator and turns it into an information-rich appliance that tracks your fridge contents, reminds you of important to-dos, and offers voice-activated features including a recipe reader to keep you on track when baking your next masterpiece.

Apps for smart phones are also introducing game-changing features. Popular diet tracker, Lose It!, recently released their new app feature, Snap It, which identifies foods and reports calorie counts simply from a photo of what’s on your plate. Bootler, a new app designed to search all food delivery options in a given city/region, helps you compare meal possibilities and delivery fees. If you’re struggling to find the meal plan that works for you, try websites like dnafitcanada.com that turns a saliva swab into a personalized solution, or habit.com, which focuses on your unique biology to take the guesswork out of eating.

Social media’s role in our food consumption is gradually changing too. No longer used solely to showcase your latest brunch, platforms like Facebook now allow you to order your food directly on a restaurant’s Facebook Business page, like Mr. Sushi on Great George Street in Charlottetown . Leading brands like Tim Hortons are using social media to talk directly to their customers. Campaigns like #TimsDark, for example, allowed social media users to weigh in on the development of a new Tim’s Dark Roast by providing real time feedback that the company could implement into their latest re-launch of the product.

Lab-grown meat, also known as cellular agriculture, is making its debut outside of the research realm and has the potential to disrupt the entire food industry. Companies like Memphis Meats, a major technology company responsible for creating one of the first lab-grown burgers, now creates chicken strips and duck a l’orange from stem cells. It’s not just meat that’s being created in the lab either. Perfect Day, a California start-up, uses age-old fermentation techniques to produce animal-free dairy products that are hormone-free, lactose-free, and considered easier on the environment.

If 2016 was the year of sustainability, 2017 is shaping up to be the year of unveiling technologies that may help us achieve these sustainability goals in our food system. We now have access to many apps, appliances, alternatives, and agricultural advances to make the best food choices of modern times. What technology will you be implementing into your gastronomic life this year?