How Is The Food Industry Slowly Evolving?

Published February 22nd, 2021 - 04:00 GMT
How Is The Food Industry Slowly Evolving?
Every year, Dubai hosts Gulfood attracting manufactures and service providers from all across the world. (Shutterstock: AALA_IMAGES)

Things are not the same for any industry anymore. Everything is changing whether it is because of the pandemic that has ravaged lives for over a year now, or because of technological advancements that have been slowly modifying how we carry out daily activities.

One of the sectors that have seen essential changes lately is the food industry, which is understandable by the fact that the current world emergencies have been linked to eating habits and consumption of animal meats.

Whether the COVID19 virus was in fact developed in bats that humans consumed or not, human eating habits have for very long been the source of medical conditions and epidemics. Only this week, Russia has reported the first case of H5N8 in humans, which is a strain of the bird flu that triggered many concerns between 2000 and 2010.

In addition to the coronavirus emergency, the food industry is going through some serious changes, whether we are talking about the new emerging diets that more and more people are showing interest in, or in terms of spaces in which food is being served.

In recent years, the diet conversation has expanded well beyond fitness, health, and nutrition, into discussions over the best ways to use the resources available in our world. Forget becoming vegetarian or vegan, we are now talking about plant-based and lab-grown meats and consuming insect proteins. 

Searching for healthy foods where there is an abundance of products that will not endanger any species including humans has become increasingly necessary, especially that meat is becoming more expensive according to experts, who think the world is going through a "food inflation."

This discussion over healthy and sustainable food resources is not the only thing that has changed when talking about food in today's world. Pressured by the pandemic, the ways in which we serve food and choose to dine have also changed dramatically throughout the last several months, and it might never go back to the old normal again.

Getting used to social distancing rules has become way too common than you think, that many people are already dreading the moment they will have to sit in closed spaces right next to another group sitting close-by. Even when the pandemic becomes under control, the new sense of expanded space that humans have gotten used to will also be determining the format of restaurants and cafes.

We have already started seeing some of these changes in restaurants that have replaced humans with robots. In Dubai for example, the Robocafe has been open where German-made robots take orders and walk around the venue bringing people their meals, helping them avoid human contact.

In other restaurants, customers have been encouraged to make orders using either screen touches or tablets that get sanitized quite often, minimizing their interaction with other people. Moreover, foods that were made entirely by robots will be introduced to the world, providing a higher sense of hygiene.

While this increasing reliance on automation can sound good to many consumers, it can be a little more costly to businesses working in the food and beverage industry. It can also devastate the hospitability sector laying off millions of chefs, assistants, and service people.

What other changes do you expect to see in the food industry in the coming years? Do you think that new diets will gain popularity as we recover from the COVID-19 emergency? How can restaurants and cafes cope with these changes?

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