March 27, 2018

Advances in technology like the advent of the smartphone and the widespread adoption of cloud data storage have resulted in huge changes in how people live and work. The world of food has not been exempt from these seismic shifts. Whether it’s farms growing produce with the help of genetic engineering, chefs adopting new preparation methods like sous vide cooking or diners snapping photos of their food to share with their social networks, technology has a major influence on how we eat.

For anyone working toward an online culinary certificate, it’s vital to stay up to date on the newest developments in food technology. By keeping tabs on these advancements, you may find innovative ways to make amazing dishes and promote your business.

Urban agriculture continues to expand

“Urban agriculture has grown into one of the most exciting areas for food technology.”

As consumers become increasingly interested in eating locally sourced food, urban agriculture has grown into one of the most exciting areas for food technology. Raising food in a city comes with special challenges, and producers continue to work out inventive approaches to providing the freshest possible ingredients. They use a variety of methods and tools to grow food that’s shared within communities, sold at farmers’ markets or served at restaurants.

For instance, vertical farming involves growing produce in stacked layers, using several techniques to control the environment. Hydroponics technology, which makes it possible to grow plants outside of soil, and precise restrictions on temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide contribute to this compact form of agriculture. The ability to provide plenty of light at a low cost, thanks to LEDs, was also a crucial factor.

Urban farmers continue to explore more ways to apply technology to yielding large amounts of food in close quarters. TechCrunch noted how drones collecting real-time data could equip producers with invaluable information about climate and soil conditions, as well as the well-being of their crops. Machine learning systems could guide planting, calculating when produce is most likely to flourish.

A new way of delivering tasty meals

Food delivery has taken interesting turns in recent years, including the arrival of apps for placing orders at local restaurants and the rise of meal kit subscription services. Meanwhile, Amazon has been at the forefront of many innovations in fulfilling consumers’ orders, including a grocery delivery service. Now the online retail giant is striving to take the next step by bringing prepared items that require no refrigeration to customers’ doors.

According to Reuters, Amazon is experimenting with a process called microwave assisted thermal sterilization, originally invented by Washington State University researchers for the U.S. military. MATS involves submerging a sealed package of food in pressurized water and then heating it with microwaves. The outcome is food, such as beef stew or vegetable frittatas, that keeps its original taste and texture even as it stays fresh for up to a year.

Taking photo of food with smartphoneMobile technology has transformed how chefs work and promote themselves.

High-voltage juicing

Laboratories and farms are looking into a shocking new way of processing foods. In scientific studies, treatment with pulsed electric field technology has shown remarkable potential as an efficient method of maintaining quality. Euronews reported on a research project that applies this concept to wine grapes and apples raised for cider, vinegar or juice.

This work involves treating fruits with high-voltage electric pulses. The pulses can create perforations in cells to make juicing easier and eliminate microbes so a product like juice has a longer shelf life. Since PEF doesn’t involve heating produce, the technology has the advantage of maintaining the natural flavor and nutrients.

Food technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, and these changes could have significant implications for the work of culinary academy students.