• Though Millennial foodies are often thought of in the context of hipster restaurants, a craving for avocado toast, or a passion for LaCroix, shifting purchasing habits—driven by the 50% of U.S. Millennials who claim to be foodies are inevitably beginning to reverberate further up the supply chain. 

  • International trade is a very important tool for tackling hunger but countries must guarantee that globally traded food is of good quality, safe and healthy, FAO’s director-general (DG), José Graziano da Silva, said at the International Forum on Food Safety and Trade at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva (23 April to 24 April).

  • By 2027 the world could be facing a 214 trillion calorie deficit, says Sara Menker, founder and chief executive of Gro Intelligence, an agricultural data technology company. In other words, in just a decade, we won’t have enough food to feed the planet.

  • Agriculture is an industry under strain with a severe drought crippling production, the depreciation of the Rand, investor uncertainty and more. There are trends that have been exerting influence on the industry for years and new trends emerge as markets move and change fast.

  • Visitors to the world’s largest manufacturer of agricultural equipment John Deere’s trade show stand at the South African Agricultural Trade Show (NAMPO) can expect to be delighted at the expansive floor space it will occupy at this year’s event. At 3000 sqm, it is its largest showing at NAMPO with John Deere adding  a new VIP area for its guests as well as a new merchandise store opposite the main stand.

    The stand is located at the north of the NAMPO park in proximity of the livestock centre Caltex Hall and within walking distance of the NAMPO Hall, the epicentre of NAMPO. The stand will have the capacity to welcome more than 300 guests at a time. 2019 also marks the 53rd year of John Deere’s association with the trade show.

    Jacques Taylor, MD, John Deere Sub-Saharan Africa says, “Agriculture is all about committed relationships and is evident from our presence at NAMPO for over half a century. We remain passionate about helping farmers in Africa and we will continue to work with them and invest our resources to ensure they are more productive and make agriculture more sustainable.”

    “The agri sector has shown weak performance over the past few years battling droughts and a sluggish economy. That said, NAMPO is an important platform to showcase the potential of the sector and one of the reasons why we as John Deere continue to support it fully.”

    John Deere will launch a slew of new products at this year’s event amongst them, the 4240 Universal Display – a portable screen suited to open station tractor-driven field operations – which allows for satellite farming and site-specific crop management, traceable on the Precision Ag application.

    According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the world population is estimated to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and to feed that number of people, global food production will need to grow by over 70%. For Africa, which is projected to be home to about 2 billion people by then, farm productivity must accelerate at a faster rate than the global average to prevent food insecurity.

    Already, farmers in Africa are being sensitised on the internet of things and are conversely using these technologies to better their production and distribution capabilities.

    According to Taylor, innovation has been at the heart of agriculture, from invention of ploughs to the introduction of tractors, the world of farming has adopted technologies much quicker than it is given credit for.

    For example, the 4240 Universal Display, an affordable and portable way to put Precision Ag into practice allowing farmers to manage crop growth in real time. While it is still early to evaluate the impacts of digitalisation on food security, in terms of productivity, tangible benefits are there for all to see.

    The display can be used in conjunction with another new offering from John Deere – the AutoTrac Universal 300 (ATU 300) steering kit. The kit is a mobile guidance solution that adds more productivity to farming operations throughout the growing season. The benefits of the ATU 300 over its predecessor include an improved on-track line performance, a faster line acquisition capability, improved diagnostics and easy-to-use calibration that allows for a quicker setup.

    The John Deere stand will also offer a glimpse into its More Tools option, an online platform on its Operations Centre platform that enables farmers to seamlessly share its data with other partners in its operations to help with timeous decision making.

    Additionally, the factory-fitted track system on John Deere’s S700 series of combine harvesters – which cut and thresh a variety of grain crops – will also be launched at this year’s NAMPO, the M4000 series self-propelled sprayers, as well as the first to-market intelligence package for vineyard and orchard sprayers.

    “NAMPO provides John Deere with a unique opportunity to speak to farmers and demonstrate how they can use our products to better respond to the challenges. This new philosophy also underpins our new brand strategy – Believe in Greater, together we believe we can usher in a new dawn in agriculture technology on the continent,” says Taylor in conclusion.

    “Technology pry’s open untapped potential for farmers to improve food production. From precision farming to an efficient food supply chain, technology could bring major economic and social benefits.”

  • Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was, briefly and famously, an ardent fruitarian—meaning he ate a diet composed primarily of fruit, which he believed would cleanse his body of harmful fluids. Just as famously, the actor Ashton Kutcher tried adopting Jobs’s fruit-centric diet, until he ended up in the hospital with an out-of-whack pancreas.

  • One out of nine people in the world endures chronic hunger now, and climate change could put as many as 175 million additional people at risk of undernourishment by 2080.

  • When it comes to foods with confusing health messages, eggs may take the cake: Despite being a long-time breakfast and baking staple, health experts warned for years against eating them—especially the yolks—on a super-regular basis, for fears that doing so could raise cholesterol and contribute to heart disease.

  • Food additives have been given the blame for many conditions and diseases in recent years. They are cited as being the cause of ailments from stomach issues to heart conditions. Yet the food industries keep reassuring us that they are harmless, although increasing evidence negates these reassurances. This leaves us wondering – are food additives really as bad as everyone is saying, and if so, why?

  • IndexBox has just published a new report, the U.S. - Dog And Cat Food - Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends And Insights. Here is a summary of the report's key findings. The revenue of the dog and cat food market in the U.S. amounted to $24.4B in 2017, rising by 2.4% against the previous year.

  • As the food industry continues to evolve, advanced technology is becoming a more prominent part of farming. In recent interviews, three experts shared their ideas about the future of farming and tech.

  • Small fire pits in a South African cave have yielded what researchers regard as the oldest known examples of a key dish in ancient humans’ daily menu. No, not dessert. Think roasted plant starches.

    Charred plant remains found in Klasies River Cave date to as early as around 120,000 years ago, and as late as roughly 65,000 years ago, say archaeologist Cynthia Larbey of the University of Cambridge in England and her colleagues. The organic fragments contain starch granules, but can’t be linked to any known starchy plant species, the team reports in the June Journal of Human Evolution.

    Based on plants that would have been locally available, Stone Age people likely cooked tubers and roots in the cave, the scientists say. Compared with raw starchy plants, their cooked counterparts would have provided an especially efficient source of glucose, and thus energy, to people. Human fossils previously found in the coastal cave, located at Africa’s southern tip, also date to around 120,000 years ago.

    Ancient starch eating at Klasies River Cave supports the possibility that Homo sapiens evolved genetic upgrades to help with digesting hard-to-break-down starch long before people started farming starchy crops in Africa around 10,000 years ago. Scientists have determined that people today carry more copies of starch-digestion genes than did Stone Age populations, such as Neandertals and Denisovans.

    Ancient humans in southern Africa likely ate a mix of cooked roots and tubers, shellfish, fish and game animals (SN: 8/13/11, p. 22), Larbey’s team says. Roots and tubers would have been available year-round. And while little is known about the origins of cooking, campfires were being built at least 300,000 years ago in Africa (SN Online: 2/20/14).

  • For centuries, incense has been as part of Roman Catholic traditions as well as religious celebrations of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As a matter of fact, it’s use for religious purposes was first recorded on papyrus—a thick paper-like material used for writing in ancient times—by the ancient Egyptians in 1500 BCE.

  • Genetic engineering is revolutionising crop farming, bringing benefits to farmers, the environment and consumer health. Its opponents, however, are not swayed by any of the science. On the contrary, it makes them believe the exact opposite of the truth.

  • Whether it’s smelly feet or stinky armpits, body odor can be really embarrassing, especially when you’re attending an important meeting or special social gathering. More importantly, how you smell can actually reveal a lot about your health.

  • Malnutrition is a regular occurrence in children and adults in developing countries. It entails so much more than ‘hunger’. The long-term impact is a suppressed immune system, delayed growth and development.

  • Daniel Kahneman, the psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics, credits some recent public policy successes to the application of behavioural science. He helped establish this field and its “nudge” approach to changing the behaviour of large groups of people.

  • JAPANESE GIANT HORNETS, known in their native land as suzumebachi, are behemoths of their kind, some nearly two inches long and reportedly capable of stinging through leather. They often build their nests underground, in forests of cypress and cedar, and there, in autumn, hunters rouse the grown hornets, swatting them into jars of shochu, where they flail and drown.

  • Many people in popular culture today are spreading the notion that drinking milk is unnatural, and are suggesting to people that humans are not meant to drink milk.

  • Walk into your typical U.S. or U.K or South African grocery store and feast your eyes on an amazing bounty of fresh and processed foods. In most industrialized countries, it’s hard to imagine that food production is one of the greatest challenges we will face in the coming decades.