The Future of Food
In recent years, global food supply networks have come under greater scrutiny than ever before. While some of this has been driven by media coverage of cases of food safety – including the presence of harmful bacteria or the use of illegal medicines – and food authenticity – including the ‘horsemeat scandal’ – it has also been driven by the evolution of international standards and consumer drive to understand more about where their food has come from.
Scotland’s Animal Health, Agritech and Aquaculture communities work very closely together to continuously innovate for the Future of Food. Specific priorities include:
- Increasing robotics and automation solutions in order to overcome labour challenges.
- Increasing production systems which allow for greater domestic production of foods
- Supporting new ventures through Scotland’s first Venture Studio for AAA, FAST.
- Improving and de-risking the logistics of food supply chains to deliver fairer shared value across the whole food chain.
Robotics and Automation
Advancements in digital monitoring and surveillance are rapidly transforming the animal health landscape, bringing improvements in speed and efficiency that enable individual-level treatment even in groups of hundreds or thousands of animals. Software systems can harness the wealth of data provided by digital technologies to predict disease or health challenges before they occur.
Innovative production systems allow for greater domestic production of locally grown and imported foods. Examples include land-based aquaculture, vertical farming and novel ingredients such as algal oils, cultured meat and insect protein. Scotland must continually innovate as we transition to a net zero society by 2045 and regenerative agriculture will play a leading role in sustainable food security, meeting nutritional demands without compromising the planet or animal welfare.
Supporting New Ventures
Deep Science Ventures and the University of Edinburgh have launched the Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST) programme, Scotland’s first Venture Studio, to design a number of innovative high growth start-ups operating exclusively in the agriculture sector. FAST Food & Agriculture Science Transformer (FAST) | Roslin Innovation Centre currently has three new Opportunity Areas including Regenerative Aquaculture, Pollinator Reinforcement and Controlled Environment Agriculture have been established to attract talent to Scotland and to support scale-up activity.
A planning application for the £21 million Seedpod project reaches key milestone | SRUC industry development hub at Craibstone has been submitted to Aberdeen City Council. This is a crucial milestone for the project to realise industry’s ambition to double the size of north east Scotland’s £2.2 billion food and drink sector. Led by Opportunity North East (ONE), the transformational SeedPod investment will put the region’s manufacturing and processing businesses at the forefront of innovation, productivity and sustainability, increasing high-value exports and creating new jobs. It will play a key role in the green economic recovery, helping businesses and the sector deliver low-carbon production and contribute to net-zero goals.
Shared Value across the Whole Food Chain
Ultimately, we want to be able to create safe, nutritious, affordable food in a sustainable manner; where primary producers are paid a fair price for their produce whilst striving for the highest standards of environmental stewardship and animal welfare; where processors and retailers can carve out a fair margin and create value-added products; and where consumers have comfort that the food they purchase is of the highest quality and safety. Integration across food supply networks continues to evolve in Scotland to achieve all of these goals, as well as reducing waste through circular economy approaches.