US firm identifies technologies that will help reshape agriculture

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American company Lux Research has identified 12 key technologies that will reshape the agriculture world.

The Boston-based concern says it is harder than ever before to be a food or agriculture company.

Smaller competitors are using digital tools, novel channels to gain market access, and other innovations to gain share, shaking up the entire agrifood value chain, it says.

Lux Research’s annual report, “Foresight 2021: Top Emerging Technologies to Watch.” uses scores from the Lux Tech Singal – a composite measure assembled from a variety of innovation data sources, along with input from Lux’s experts – to compile its list of key technologies.

“The agrifood ecosystem is experiencing a phase of rapid, intense change, where most of the growth in the space in recent years has gone to companies outside the top 20 players,” according to Joshua Haslun, Ph.D, Senior Analyst at Lux Research.

“As smaller and more agile brands meet consumer demand for personalisation, larger brands will need to look for innovative solutions to regain lost ground and get ahead.”

Lux’s new report takes a deep look at the agrifood ecosystem and reviews what topics emerged and which technologies rose to the top during 2020.

Its expert analysis of the hottest innovation topics and best tech startups found that the top five technologies food and agriculture leaders should look to in 2021 are:

n Bioinformatics – Having developed and risen to prominence largely focused on medical and pharma applications, bioinformatics is now crossing over into agrifood and health.

n Alternative Proteins – Concerns about health and sustainability are pushing to diversify diets away from meat and fish, leading to changes ranging from land use to ingredient supply chains.

n Precision Agriculture – Digital tools are continuing to revolutionise agriculture, improving product yield and quality and reducing environmental impact.

n Biofertilizers – Biofertilizers and other microbial biostimulants use living microorganisms to improve nutrient use efficiency and agriculture sustainability.

n Ingredient Informatics – Applying machine learning to recipes and ingredients can produce new product formulations more quickly, rapidly accelerating new food product launches.

“Agriculture and food companies alike will need to capitalise on the digital revolution, with ingredient informatics as a prime focus for shortening product development cycles and precision agriculture technologies as unfamiliar-but-critical complements to conventional agrichemical developments,” explains Mr Haslun.

“Alternatives to mainstay ingredients are another hallmark of both agriculture and food, where biofertilizers and alternative proteins, respectively, loom large.

“Finally, look for bioinformatics to come out of its early role in pharmaceutical development to take a prominent, transformative position across the agrifood ecosystem.”

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