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Launch of new report on transformative innovation in the food sy

Published: 21 January 2019 by KTN
  • agrifood

A new report published by the multi-agency Global Food Security (GFS) programme highlights how disruptive innovation is needed to transform the UK food system.

The report highlights that we are on the cusp of a 4th Industrial revolution and that embracing the latest data technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) could improve food security and meet Government and Industry strategies, including the Agriculture Bill, Clean Growth Strategy, Industrial Strategy, the Courtauld Commitment and the Paris Agreement.

GFS developed the report in partnership with the Food and Drink Sector Council, Defra, BEIS and Sainsbury’s, and a key recommendation is the need for a long-term UK food system innovation strategy and a joined-up approach to policy making across the whole food system.

Judith Batchelar, OBE – Director of Sainsbury’s Brand, says; “The need to drive systemic change is indisputable. We can only be resilient to the “knocks” and “disruptions” and at the same time create value for all stakeholders if we deliver true structural change. That begins with thoughtful applied science and innovation that has the ability to transform the system both in its ambition, but also through implementation at scale and speed.”

Dr Riaz Bhunnoo, Director of the Global Food Security programme says: “There are no silver bullets for food security, however technology is a key part of the solution. We need more research to integrate technology into the wider food system alongside dialogue with civil society on its acceptability. Our report highlights the latest cutting-edge technologies that are needed to help us secure safe, healthy and sustainable food.”

Key areas in the report include:

Data-driven supply chains guided by AI, with large data sets that reveal patterns and predict behaviour to improve resource efficiency, improve sustainability, and reduce levels of waste in food supply chains

Distributed ledger technologies that have the potential to improve trust, traceability and provenance, improving connectedness and improve management of risks associated with food fraud incidences

Internet of Things (IOT) and cloud computing to increase use of robotics and automated decision-making.

The report focused on five major challenges for the food industry that would benefit from transformative innovation:

Traceability, transparency and disclosure

Food safety, fraud, and security

Efficiency, productivity, and sustainability

Improving diets and health

Reducing waste

GFS will now work with its programme partners and the Food and Drink Sector Council to develop a plan of action to address these priorities and provide the catalyst for transformative innovation.

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