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Interview with Sylvain Charlebois, Scientific Director (Interim), Institute of Agri-food Analytics
WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF THE FOOD TECH INDUSTRY?
The food industry is increasingly embracing technology to get products to consumers, faster and more efficiently. The whole idea is to really provide convenience to both consumers and producers, as food tech is also impacting in a positive way the BtoB sector.
BUT HOW TECHNOLOGIES CAN HELP THE FOOD SECTOR AND BENEFIT TO CONSUMERS AT THE SAME TIME, ACCORDING TO YOU?
The exchange between consumers and the industry is being disrupted by non-traditional food providers, which is why the adoption of technological solutions in the sector is accelerating. Needs were always there, but the industry was forced out of its comfort zone in order to recognize that change was necessary, to keep up with changing consumers.
WHAT’S THE POTENTIAL OF GROWTH OF THIS NEW SECTOR?
In volume, it will be difficult for the food industry to grow. But emphasising on value will allow the industry to grow… and food tech is one way to do it, since consumers have very strong expectations regarding the development of new services provided by technology.
HAVE YOU HEARD OF SOME INNOVATIONS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US?
Yes, in the food processing industry ! Many startups don’t want to be bothered by using traditional channels and major grocers. Why? They are low, inconvenient and expensive at the same time! This is why these startups are developing their own channels and connecting with consumers directly, not just to sell but also to integrate consumers in the R&D process through social media.