At Future of Food @ SXSW in Austin, Texas, Vishaal Bhuyan, Founder and CEO of Aanika Biosciences, discussed the potential of his company’s technology to prevent food waste and build resilience in the face of the climate crisis. The event is organized by The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, Little Herds, The Cook’s Nook, and Food Tank.
Recent research from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) finds that 2.5 billion tonnes of food goes uneaten around the world each year. The report estimates that this accounts for roughly 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions —equivalent to almost twice the annual emissions produced by all cars driven in the United States and Europe.
Aanika’s technology works by using microbial tags to track, trace, and authenticate agricultural products. Bhuyan explains that they can use these tags to prevent food waste and reduce the food system’s impact on the environment.
“Food recalls are two to three times wider than they need to be,” Bhuyan says.
By accurately identifying the source of contamination, it is possible to reduce the quantity of food recalled and wasted. This will become increasingly important, with the World Health Organization predicting an increase in the prevalence of foodborne diseases.
“More data, better transparency means less waste,” Bhuyan says.
While food waste prevention is one key application, traceability is just one goal. In the future, Bhuyan believes that Aanika can also use the technology to improve the nutritional content of food, among other goals.
And with a background in finance, Bhuyan sees himself as well positioned to drive these solutions forward.”If you look at technologies adopted in the food system,” he says “the economics need to work too and it needs to be practical.”
Listen to the full conversation here: