Over the last few years, food production and processing have been embarking on the biggest change since the industrial revolution. Novel approaches that exploit robotics, machine learning, computer vision, epi-genetics and gene editing technologies are being used to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of food production.
A more co-ordinated approach will ensure that innovative research, linked with industry partners and supported by government, will help realise the benefits for all of us.
At the same time the global gap between demand and supply of food and resources, the impact of food production on the environment, the demand for higher quality and traceability of food in the global marketplace, and the relationship between food and human health and dietary disease, are all emerging megatrends of the 21st Century.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be appointed as Director of Food Innovation at the University of Adelaide to help grow the research and teaching across the food sector. The University has extraordinary breadth and depth of research and teaching capability, with over 250 academic staff working on food-related areas. Its been a real pleasure working with this group.
Food research isn’t a new area for the University – the Waite campus has been undertaking leading research in plant science and breeding, landscape and soil science, wine and viticulture for decades, and more recently in food applications. And the Roseworthy campus is renowned for its research in dryland agriculture, natural resource management and animal health and production. We also have economists, engineers, health scientists and researchers in arts and social sciences working in food-related areas.
The new Food Innovation theme aims to help boost South Australia’s food production and profitability, support new jobs, and lift market value for Australia’s food products generally. There are also considerable potential benefits to community health with research being undertaken on healthier food options. A more co-ordinated approach will ensure that innovative research, linked with industry partners and supported by government, will help realise the benefits for all of us.