“The potential value unlocked by AI in helping design out waste in a circular economy for food is up to USD 127 billion a year in 2030,” according to Artificial Intelligence and the Circular Economy from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation. Opportunities come at all points in the food system: farming, processing, logistics, and consumption. For example, image recognition can identify when fruit is ready to pick, algorithms can better match food supply and demand, and AI can improve the process of turning food by-products into new useful products.
What is a circular economy?
The traditional linear economy involves making, using, and disposing of products. In contrast, a circular economy operates based on three principles:
“In a vision for a circular food system, food production improves rather than degrades the environment and people have access to healthy and nutritious food,” according to the report.
Factors that play into that vision include:
AI and the circular food economy
AI can help build a circular economy in three key ways:
The paper cites the following examples of companies already using AI in ways that support the development of a circular food economy:
As consumer demand for convenient, easy-to-prepare food increases, so does the opportunity to design and process food in a circular way. According to the report, “By using AI as a tool to help source regeneratively grown ingredients, replace animal protein ingredients with plant-based proteins, reduce processing waste, and avoid unsafe additives, food innovators and designers can make it easier for people to access healthy food products.”
By Carol Wiley
Source: Food Industry Executive
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