Guest post by Joanne Wilson, angel investor at Gotham Gal Ventures. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of Food+Tech Connect.
Unless you are a farmer or a passionate gardener, the food you are eat passes through many hands before it gets to you. Sure there are laws around how food should be handled, but we have all read one too many times about someone getting sick from something they ate.
Technology has made it possible for us to track almost everything. Fast casual restaurants and grocery stores, for example, source products from multiple suppliers. In today’s age, the supply chain should be digitized; nothing should be done on paper anymore. Every grocery store and restaurant should make a pledge to exclusively accept supplies that have been tracked from their source to them. A commitment to using this kind of in-depth platform would make it much easier to track down bad food and in turn bad behavior across the supply chain. This information should be built on an open source platform or be made publicly available, so consumers can see where their food is coming from at, let’s say, Whole Food or Chipotle.
Overconsumption and waste are also big issues. Americans consume nearly one ton of food a year. What is more amazing is that about 40 percent of all food goes to waste. In addition to the health implications of eating one ton of food annually, this amount of food consumption also means more food is wasted at each stage of the supply chain. These stats underscore the need and opportunity for change.
There is a lot of waste across the supply chain, and we have to figure out how to use technology to become more efficient. But a lot of waste comes from consumer behavior. In Europe, for example, the portions are half the size of what they are in the U.S. But over the past 30 years, fast food portions have grown substantially, as have the prevalence of diet related disease. When I grew up diabetes was not rampant and neither was obesity. This is a consumer behavior issue. Using technology to educate consumers and to give them more information about the food they eat, the calories they consume and the supply chain their food comes from has the potential to shift both our insane amount of waste and the health of our nation.
With all of the technology that is available today, there is no reason that we can not guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone.
Internet of Food is an editorial series exploring how we might use technology, new business models and design to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone. Join the conversation between March 23 and April 29. Share your ideas in the comments, on Twitter using #internetoffood, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, and follow the conversation by subscribing to our newsletter.
Joanne Wilson has had many careers. She started out in retail, eventually moving to the wholesale arena. She then transitioned to the media side of the technology world, before once again reinventing herself as an investor. She is currently an active angel investor with a portfolio of over 90 companies such as Food52, Catchafire, Vengo, Nestio, Captureproof, Makers Row, LeTote, and Union Station. She has been involved in numerous realestate transactions from beginning to end and continues to make investments in that world. She is also an investor in a few restaurants in the New York area. In addition to these endeavors, Joanne has been involved in various education projects and served as chairperson at Hot Bread Kitchen, a non-profit committed to increasing access to the culinary industry for woman and minority entrepreneurs. She also sits on the board of The Highline.
Joanne has maintained her very popular blog, www.gothamgal.com for over 11 years. She loves to bake, cook, throw a good party, travel, read, collect art, do the crossword and stay on top of what’s happening around the globe and in NYC. Her most successful venture is being married to her best friend, Fred and raising their three kids- Jessica, Emily and Josh.