How tech will revolutionize the way we eat - Part 2/3
Educating the crowds
Written for Entrepreneur Handbook in October 2013
Tech wants optimize the meeting of offer and demand in the food industry. Fine, but aren’t there bigger problems in the developed world when it comes to food? Don’t more and more people absurdly have huge health problems related to their diet, in countries where good ingredients gets wasted by the tons?
One of the main reasons is that people aren’t fully aware of the impact food consumption patterns have on their lives. Or they might have a vague notion of it, but still not know what to do about it.
That is the second issue the Alliance between food and tech is addressing. How is it doing that?
First, educating children about the benefits of healthy food
Kids love fries. And ice cream, mac and cheese, chocolate… they obviously don’t want to be bothered with food ethics problems or Brussels sprouts. Nonetheless, they will definitely remember the benefits of good food when they start worrying about their weight and cholesterol rate. That is why it is important to develop their food literacy when they are young. Tablet or phone games appear to me as one of the best ways to do this. Take the popular Cooking Academy, for example: a version for kids teaching the importance of varying their food would be a great way to develop their food awareness. Something like Nourish Interactive’s “Nutrient Machine Madness”, but a little cooler.
Second, helping anyone to make their own healthy food
People who are aware of the importance of what they eat might still not know what to consume on a daily basis. Nutritional apps can now be their personal coaches for a healthy lifestyle. Nutritional apps are uncountable, but the most famous are surely The Carrot, Lose it! and My Diet Coach. For those who aren’t obsessed with controlling their weight, The Orange Chef has developed a playful pad that can do it, but also simply guide you through a recipe by intelligently weighing your ingredients.
Last: killing the Big Bad Wolf
Remember when you were a teenager and scared by Big Bad Food Distributors that made you eat stuff you knew nothing about? I’m talking about those huge companies like Kellogg’s, Nestlé and Danone, whose products we all buy but are pretty sure are unhealthy. To quote Chon in Oliver Stone’s Savages: we always thought they “wanted us to eat their shit and call it caviar”. Thanks to tech, that won’t be happening anymore. Now data about the ingredients we find in supermarkets are available to anyone. An app like Fooducate lets you find the healthiest products amongst thousands of products. The Non-MGO Project’s app allows you to track the products and brands that use MGOs so that you can avoid them. In the long term, we can hope that the biggest food producers will be forced to adapt and sell everyone healthier products.