Food 3.0: the nutrition revolution | Mega | in conversation with Leo Johnson

Food 3.0: the nutrition revolution | Mega | in conversation with Leo Johnson

September 13, 2019 0 By Ewald Bahringer


We’re at a point of inflection in the
future of food. Food 1.0, we will make us, we produced Food. Food 2.0, we bought it. Food 3.0, what’s the possibility that we take the new set of fourth Industrial
Revolution technologies, and once again we become the makers of our own food. George Orwell, the great British writer,
said it would be the tin can that would kill more people in the long run than
the machine gun. What was he going on about? We’ve had the century of big food, where
we took hunger seriously. And what we tried to do is harness the ecosystem,
tame the fields to deliver their abundance to us, and we did a mighty good
job on it. We lifted billions out of hunger, but what we’ve started to see a
century later is the dysfunctions beginning to emerge. That we’re now at a
point where there’s a billion people who are overweight, with another billion who
are chronically malnourished. We’ve got a system that is over delivering, and under
delivering at the same time. So what can technology do to address some of this
stuff, to get a food system that’s fairer, that works? Well some of it’s not rocket
science at all, so take Kenya where half the mangoes rot on the ground. You’ve
got companies like Azuri which are picking ’em up using a simple
dehydrator to create mango leather. In Latin America, where bananas taking
discarded bits of banana, overripe, again, turning them into potassium rich banana
chips. Across the board you’re seeing an array of innovations to fix the
fat-fingered system that we’ve got at the moment, that wastes 40% of food,
between field and fall, and to start to make it work. And then there is the
fourth Industrial Revolution advances that get opened up as well, and this might be
using the blockchain to be tracking the quality of the chicken – just how old is
it? This might be verifying the absence of slave labor in the shrimp supply
chain, what is the point here? We’ve got this arsenal of new technologies, and there’s
clearly a revolution that’s starting to break out. Across the board, we are seeing
that what we thought was a fixed model, the way stuff is done, the way stuff
arrives on our table, that’s all beginning to change. Is it all
about technology? Well as Kentaro Toyama, the former microsoft research director
said, ‘technology is not the answer, it is the amplifier of intent’. That’s the
central decision we’ve got to make, what do we want to do with food? Do we want to use
it to continue to divide between the haves and the have-nots, or to unite? Do
we want to make a food system that works for the many? Do we want to create a food
system where we don’t have this toxic combination of obesity and malnutrition?
Can we create a food system that delivers enough, more than enough for the
many. That I think is the possibility that technology can bring us.