By Craig Ledo
Here are some of the top food industry trends we are seeing develop for 2017.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law on January 4, 2011. The past few years have been focused on preparation for FSMA. 2017 will be the first full year of FSMA compliance, with the FDA carrying out audits, and for larger companies, truly facing the reality of the FDA knocking on their door. Requesting required records, conducting audits and in the worst situation for food companies, shutting down operations if they feel it’s called for.
Food waste has become another big issue. The EU, UK, and the US have set goals for reducing waste in the future, and there are several global awareness campaigns focusing on the role of developing countries, too. In 2017, advocates will continue searching for a way to make reducing food waste as automatic as recycling is in many places now.
Consumers are more focused than ever on what they eat, especially when it comes to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The idea that some of our food is genetically modified, and we don’t know about it, has become a big issue. Consumers are pushing for more information on labels at the least and outright bans on GMOs at the most.
As consumers demand more information about what’s in their food, they also want to know more about how it’s produced: how much water and land is used, and how much is thrown away. In simplest terms, sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare. This form of agriculture enables us to produce healthful food without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same.
Technology has helped the food industry to make more food more quickly and improve shelf life. Technology has helped the food supply chain, enabling visibility, control, and insights. Technology is also working to solve problems of sustainability and nutrition. Technology can even help with the hassles of grocery shopping. For example, Amazon Go, the new grocery store concept where you choose items and leave without waiting in line to pay, is set to open at least one location in 2017.