CAROLINA NAJAR, Food Market Director at AZTI

In an environment increasingly dominated by technological innovation, the food industry must address a significant transformation. The field of technological innovation and food engineering is establishing itself as a key theme to address the challenges of the sector, from sustainability, efficiency, personalisation of consumption and the search for new ingredients. This revolution is not only redefining methods of production, distribution and consumption, but is also opening up unprecedented opportunities for new companies willing to lead the change.

Adaptation and efficiency through technology

One of the most significant challenges for the food industry is the efficient management of resources. The adoption of artificial intelligence and big data is optimising the entire supply chain, increasing food safety, improving demand forecasting and logistics. These tools not only boost operational efficiency, but also contribute to the reduction of food waste, a key factor to achieve a sustainable and responsible model for people and the planet.

As an example, we have implemented advanced solutions that integrate management and production data, enabling faster and more efficient decision-making. We have also implemented other tools, such as the AZPilotManager platform, which makes the R&D&I management of any food company more efficient and secure. Not only do we ensure the economic viability of our operations in the food industry, but we do so with greater food safety in mind and it allows us to make innovation easier for companies in the sector.

Personalisation: The future of nutrition

Personalisation is making a significant difference in the FoodTech sector. The ability to develop food products tailored to individual consumer needs and preferences is made possible by the incorporation of emerging technologies. Tools such as genetic sequencing, omics and biomarkers are enabling a deeper understanding of individual nutritional needs, opening the door to personalised recommendations based on AI that can substantially improve personal health and wellbeing.

An example of this is Lipiwell, the precision nutrition service offered by AZTI which, based on biomarkers that connect metabolism with nutrition in real time, allows people’s well-being to be improved.

Sustainability and circular economy

FoodTech is also driving initiatives that promote greener and more efficient production methods. Technologies such as vertical farming and the development of alternative ingredients and proteins are playing a crucial role in reducing the sector’s environmental impact. We have developed the Envirodigital tool, an advanced environmental management platform that allows companies to measure and improve the footprint of their operations. This tool simulates environmental efficiency and resource-saving scenarios that, in addition to eco-designing products, aim to strengthen the sustainability of the entire food chain.

Traceability and food safety

In addition, traceability has become an increasingly important issue, with consumers increasingly interested in knowing the details of the origin, how it is produced and processed, and to be certain of the safety of the food they consume. Blockchain-based solutions offer unprecedented transparency along the entire supply chain, ensuring that products are not only safe, but also ethically produced. These technologies not only meet consumer demands, but also reinforce trust in brands that adopt these advanced practices.

Collaboration: Key to technological progress

Finally, collaboration between different sectors and disciplines is essential to make the most of the possibilities offered by FoodTech. At AZTI, we are committed to creating synergies between technology startups, researchers, technology players and traditional companies in the food sector to foster an environment of innovation that responds to global challenges. These connections are essential to accelerate the development and adoption of new technologies, ensuring that the food industry can continue to move towards a more sustainable and efficient future.

FoodTech transcends trends; it represents the future of our food. Shared knowledge spaces such as Food4uture or AZTInnova allow us at AZTI to continue leading this exciting journey, exploring new technologies and holistic and open approaches that can benefit the entire food value chain.

The era of food transformation has arrived, offering a multitude of new opportunities for those companies willing to lead the change towards a more innovative, sustainable and collaborative food system.

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