There are so many different levels of technology used in the food industry. Every aspect of bringing the food from the farm to the table includes some kind of technology to make it an easier job for those that have to endure it.
On the farm
There are several types of technology that farmers use.
Fruits and vegetables are harvested or picked using these and other methods of technology and then they are processed and packaged for distribution and sale. Some farms are capable of handling each aspect of this themselves. These farms typically have a stand or shop where they sell their produce and other goods from the farm to the locals.
Animal farms usually do not process and sell their cuts of meat themselves but rather sell their livestock to a buyer who will then proceed with the butchering process.
Some meat processing companies use ”robot butchers” to break down the animal into sections or cuts of meat for sale. The robot butchers use Xray and CT capabilities to scan and create the most efficient cut plan for that specific meat.
Processing and packaging
Some foods will need to be processed and cleaned before being packaged. This may include washing, fermenting, freezing, chopping, or even cooking the food prior to packaging it for sale.
Once the food is processed it is ready for packaging. The packaging can be any one of nine different methods including bags, trays, boxes, cartons, cans, flexible packaging, wrappers, and pallets. Bags are typically used for snacks and fruit. Trays are commonly used for meat or drink carriers. Boxes are used for cereal, frozen pizzas, and crackers but boxes are also used to make transporting the food easier. Cartons are similar to boxes in that they can also be used to make food transportation easier. However, some cartons are molded to safely fit their contents, such as egg cartons.
Cans are used for foods that require preservation such as soups, sauces, and some vegetables. Pallets are not ways of packaging the food itself by rather a way of packaging large quantities of the products for easier shipment and distribution. Wrappers are seen on individual items such as candies or granola bars. There is also aseptic packaging which is made from a combination of materials including polyethylene, paper, and aluminum. This type of packaging is typically used for dairy and dairy products, as well as liquid eggs.
Some technology used for distribution has been mentioned in the previous section. These include boxes and pallets as they are commonly used for transporting and distributing the food after it is packaged. The food is also distributed using large delivery trucks such as 18 wheelersI even shipping containers. Once the trucks or ships arrive at their distribution centers or wherever their destinations may be, the workers may use forklifts or other wheeled devices to help to unload the food from them.
Other technology throughout the food industry
Not only is there technology used to harvest, butcher, process, package, and distribute the food but there are other technologies used beyond that.
For example, there is technology used in the kitchen to store, prepare, and cook the food. These include refrigeration, freezer storage, ovens, and stovetops.
Technology continues beyond the kitchen. Moving out to the main dining room you may see technology right at the tables. These are often tablets or small computers that are capable of many things including taking your order, making adjustments to your order, allowing you to pay your bill, and even provide games for the family to play while they wait. These devices practically eliminate the need for waitresses.
Technology has drastically improved the way that farmers harvest their produce, butchers cut their meat and even changed how patrons pay for their meal in a restaurant. What will technology do for us next?