Canada’s Next Meal: Pushing Food Innovation Further

We’ve gone through a long and steady food evolution as humans. Remember, we used to be hunter-gatherers. Clearly, we’ve come a long way from foraging and catching our food with a spear.

We moved on to bigger and better things, like food production, and technology will take us even further. Canada’s food manufacturing industry has already begun to embrace what technology has to offer.

New products are being developed, and consumers are using AI in helpful and creative ways. Food technology is even paving the way for sustainable food production.

Canada continues to rev the engine of food innovation, and they don’t plan on letting up anytime soon. Let’s take a look at some of the innovations so far.

Food Innovation In Canadian Food Manufacturing

1. AI On The Consumer Level

We already talked about AI being incorporated into food manufacturing plants, but how are consumers using it?

Consumers are using AI to suggest meal plans, recipes, and grocery lists and to plan dinner parties. The suggestions can be framed around your budget, diet restrictions, food allergies, number of people, cuisine, cooking skill level, and just about anything else you can think of.

A few years from now, we could utilise the analytics and other feedback from these inquiries. The information could spotlight emerging consumer trends and impact packaging, portion sizes, and ingredient selection. This could help manufacturers plan ahead to prepare for a spike in demand and ramp up production. 

Consumers are becoming much more environmentally conscious than they used to be. AI gives them the ability to ask for food products with sustainable packaging.

Single servings and meals for two are searched just as much as a dinner for a family of four. In that case, packaging and portion sizes can be adjusted for different consumer markets and to be more environmentally friendly.

AI introduces different foods and cuisines that people can try from home. That means consumers are looking for a variety of spices and flavors from various cultures. The selection of ingredients manufacturers have to offer will be just as essential as where they’re sourced.

Food manufacturers can use AI metrics to see what consumers are searching for and when. This information can ensure that they always produce what’s popular at the time.  

2. Lab-Grown Meats

The earth’s population is steadily growing, heightening the need for more protein sources. Not to mention the impact meat production has on the environment.

Methane produced by animals combined with fossil fuel usage contributes greatly to air pollution and greenhouse gases. Forests are cleared to make room for more grazing pastures. Combined with a rise in water consumption and land degradation, animal meat production isn’t environmentally sustainable.

So, the search for alternative proteins continues. Crickets and other insects are a hard sale for mainstream consumers, and some people want to go beyond plant-based meats (pun intended).

In comes, lab-grown meats.

The first lab-grown burger patty was grown from the stem cells of animal muscle over a decade ago. At the time, it would have cost over $440,000 CAD to get it on your plate due to production costs.

Food scientists have been able to minimize prodution costs and are developing beef and chicken products. Lab-grown meat isn’t approved in Canada yet, but that doesn’t mean the story ends there.

Even though it hasn’t hit the shelves, lab-grown meat proved that meat can be made without slaughtering an animal. That’s a huge win in food production.

3. The Rise Of Vertical-Farming

We mentioned earlier this year that sustainability would be a key trend for 2024, and we’re already seeing it in action with vertical farms. Vertical farms allow agriculture to come indoors. They look like shelves stacked on top of one another, with each one growing produce.

With vertical farms, food can grow just about anywhere, from inside buildings to rooftops in urban cities and even in cold climates where outdoor farming may not be possible.

Pesticides aren’t needed, and it cuts down water usage. Depending on the produce being grown, soil may not be required either.

Vertical farms also provide a viable solution to food security, which is what Up Vertical Farms plans to do in British Columbia. Their farms can produce 6.3 million bags of salad a year to be distributed and sold in western Canada.

  

This is a major step toward greater self-reliance for Canada, which will reduce its dependence on importing lettuce.

The time we’re living in has been coined as the golden age of food science and technology (Dana McCauley, Chief Experience Officer at CFIN), and they’re not wrong.

We didn’t look toward our food for solutions to our environment 30 or 40 years ago, but now we do. We’re gaining a better understanding of the footprint our food leaves behind, and the pressure it puts on the planet.

Let’s not forget about the fun we’re having, too. How cool is it to tell AI that your mom is coming over for brunch on Sunday and that you need a menu and grocery list, which gives them to you in seconds?

Canada plans to keep pushing the boundaries of food innovation to see what else can be accomplished with food. As a result, you’re likely to see an increase in companies looking for food scientists and research and development professionals to continue the narrative.

They’re not the only ones who love seeing innovation at work. That’s why we created the QTalent platform. Few job platforms cater specifically to food manufacturing job seekers and professionals. 

The companies you see on our platform are in the food manufacturing industry, and they’re actively looking for employees like you. Set up a profile, take a look around, and see what opportunities are out there!

Brittany Brooks

Author

Brittany Brooks has worked in Human Resources as an HR specialist and manager for 10 years. After that time, she decided to use her powers for the good of the workplace. She uses her first-hand experiences in her writing to give employees and business owners an honest look into what’s happening at work.

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