At last week’s AgriNovus AgBioscience Innovation Summit, there was lots of talk about how technology will change agriculture. This emerging technology will also help farmers meet changing consumer demand and grab a bigger share of the consumer food dollar. Are consumer demands for more natural, organic, cage free, and non GMO products simply a fad or a fundamental change in food buying habits? Aaron Rudberg, with the investment group S2G, said some of these trends are here to stay. “Things around natural organic, clean label, transparency in your food are trends that we do not see going away.”
That means farmers will have to make changes in when and how they produce. New technology is allowing farmers to work directly with food retailers, and that may prove to be more profitable for farmers. “In many ways, this will allow farmers to grab more value in the chain,” stated Rudberg. “Right now the farmers does not capture a lot of the food dollar yet they are the producer.”
Rudberg added new technology is also making food more traceable back to the farm where it was produced.
“As we have seen with the recent romaine outbreak and other food safety issues, the ability to track down a problem quickly is very difficult. Companies like Walmart are investing heavily in technology like blockchain and traceability. We believe that in 10 years we will be able to track most of our food back to the farm it came from.”
The livestock sector has been moving in this direction for years. Last week, the FDA announced it will start requiring origin labels on lettuce and other fresh vegetables.