The Role of AI in Creating Sustainable Food Systems
Artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionized many industries, and the food and beverage industry are no exception. With the world population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, it is becoming increasingly challenging to produce enough food to meet global demand, whilst meeting net zero targets. AI has a critical role to play in creating a sustainable food system, by optimizing agricultural practices, reducing food waste, and improving food safety. Here we look at the role AI can play within the sustainable food transition.
- Optimizing Agricultural Practices
Artificial Intelligence is key in optimizing regenerative agricultural practices. Through detailed science and engineering, AI can provide farmers with valuable insights into crop yields and soil conditions. Machine learning algorithms have been developed to analyze weather patterns, soil health and crop yields, which can determine the optimal time for planting, harvesting and irrigation. AI is a game changer within regenerative practices, leading to more informed decisions about crop yields and reduced total water usage.
- Reducing Food Waste
An estimate one-third of all food production for human consumption is wasted. This is an astronomical amount. How can AI address such a crucial issue? Firstly, AI can undertake predictive analysis, identifying areas where waste is more prevalent and recommend solutions to reduce it. AI can identify food items that are likely to go unsold and recommend ways to repurpose their potential wastage. Through predictive analysis, AI can support major retailers in their purchasing decisions and strategies to deter consumer waste. Secondly, AI can support the efficient storage and transportation of food. By analyzing data on temperature and humidity, AI can recommend optimal storage conditions for various types of food. Additionally, AI can breakdown data on traffic patterns and delivery routes to optimize food transportation, fuel efficiency and reduce food spoilage.
- Improving Food Safety
AI can be used effectively by identifying potential hazards in the food supply chain, by finding areas where contamination or other hazards may arise. By focusing on data, AI can recommend methods that enhance food storage or production processes. This has a direct impact on quality and safety, reducing the likelihood of food being recalled by major supermarkets.
There is no doubt AI has the potential to play a significant role in the sustainable food transition. We have described a few areas AI can support the food sector. Not only can AI optimize agricultural practices, but it can also specifically target key areas that contribute to our climate challenges. We already witness AI playing a prominent role within farming technology and are likely to see emerging technologies that help create a sustainable and efficient food system for the future.