Food Science and Technology as Solutions to Hunger
Introduction Food has always been an important aspect of life of any person because it is essential for sustaining life. While some people may perceive it as an art of cooking and serving, others, especially those living in developing countries, often feel the scarcity of food, which aggravates the quality of life and discourages contribution to the development of the economy. It often happens that the media informs the general public of the global issue of hunger, and many organizations choose to donate food and financial resources to overcome this problem by a joint effort. Moreover, if this issue is so pressing nowadays, it is hard to imagine what its extent may be when the world population will grow to the projected 9 billion in 2050. Nevertheless, recent achievements and advancements in food science demonstrate that there are a number of highly effective solutions to the problem. The GMOs, nanotechnology, the Internet, and more precise logistics are the methods that are considered by most of the science community to be the only ways to feed the growing population, although to achieve this, cooperation and a strategic approach is needed.
Genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) were developed relatively recently, although, despite their advantages, they are often perceived in the society in a negative way. The first plant of this kind, a tomato one, was created in 1994, and since then, GMOs started being spread globally (Gilpin). The major reasons why people disapprove of the use of such organisms are scientific illiteracy, improper labeling, advertising, and even large availability of food (Floros et al. 573). As a result, consumers are not confident of the safety of GMOs for their health and are often reluctant to consume products containing them when they see the corresponding label. Nevertheless, the FDA approved of the use of GMOs, which proves their safety (Gilpin). However, what is more important about such products is the fact that they are one of the most effective solutions to the problem of hunger. The science community believes that the manipulations with genes will allow growing crops in unnatural habitats and in larger quantities, which will boost productivity and help to feed the growing population (Gilpin). Therefore, since the problem of hunger is based on the scarcity of food resources and challenges of food delivery, the use of such a scientific advancement as GMOs is effective enough to eliminate at least one of the problems.
In the past, the food was grown either for individual consumption or for sale in the market, although it was never modified in a way different from the natural selection. However, the development of different areas of science allowed people to eventually apply scientific achievements to the food industry, and nanotechnology is one of the greatest accomplishments from this perspective. It is considered that nanotechnology has enabled food engineers to go beyond the limits, and it seems to be true because of the wide range of tools available (“Nanotechnology in Food”). Similarly to GMOs, there are some misconceptions about the use of nanotechnology in the food science because people are afraid that the changes occur at the atomic level, although no researches prove this. In reality, nanotechnology is used to solve different problems and increase effectiveness in four areas related to food production: agriculture, food processing, packaging, and supplements (“Nanotechnology in Food”). One of the major benefits of the use of nanotechnologies is that it will help the developing countries to fight hunger since it would allow creating food rich in nutritious elements in the places where it is not possible otherwise (“Nanotechnology in Food”). The science community considers that nanotechnology has a huge potential as a solution to the problem of hunger as it can ensure healthy nutrition, deliver nutritious elements, and release active food ingredients’ efficiency (“Nanotechnology in Food”). Therefore, such a precise technological advancement is a promising response to the problem of hunger as it may increase the supply of food to meet the growing demand for it.
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The Internet has many potential applications, and it has more advantages for the society than disadvantages, as some people might think. The Internet serves as a link between various instruments that can be used to overcome the problem of the global hunger. Before the wide spread of the Internet, a large part of the innovations and achievements in the food industry was made in laboratories and remained unknown to the general public (Gould). However, the Internet “democratized” this and other industries, and it allowed such advantageous technologies to become available outside laboratories (Gould). Besides simply making technologies available and accessible, the Internet is also seen as a foundation for the creation of a brighter future. By creating opportunities for decentralization, collaboration, and maximization of interests of consumers, producers, and the environment, the World Web is an exceptionally vital resource for the world of the future (Gould). The science community now focuses on the use of the Internet to solve different problems and show tech talents that it may be used to tackle food problems to create a bright future (Gould). Therefore, the image and role of food are affected by direct and indirect factors, although the application of a combination of them is likely to have a much stronger and more positive effect than just one.
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Logistics and Waste Management
While food production and development of more productive crops are important steps in the food supply cycle, it would not be complete without effective logistics and waste management. It has been estimated that 40% of the food produced in the
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The role of food in the society, the processes of its production, and challenges related to it have evolved significantly over time. Long ago, it was simply a source of energy produced by households for personal consumption or sale in the market in small quantities. However, even early advancements in science and technologies allowed producing more food, with the excess of it being sold. Nevertheless, the rapid growth of population on the planet and the projected even greater increase have posed the challenge of the global hunger. While the problem is big, it is solvable with the recent significant breakthroughs in science and technology. The science community is making inferences that the most perspective solutions are the use of GMOs and nanotechnologies, which may help to significantly increase the volume of crops and meat produced. At the same time, the wide spread of the Internet and innovations in logistics and waste management are other ways that may eliminate such issues as hunger in future. Overall, the role and image of food are completely different from those in the past as they are now based on the use of science and orientation to the market.