Eye on AI - December 13th, 2021
Welcome to Aigora's "Eye on AI" series, where we round up exciting news at the intersection of consumer science and artificial intelligence!
This week, we’ll be addressing the future of food and sustainability, including a breakthrough in 3D printed meat and the future of at-home smart refrigeration.
Breakthrough in 3D Food Printing Validates Alternative Protein’s Potential
Let’s begin with a breakthrough in 3D food printing. According to the article “MeaTech 3D Reports Breakthrough in Cultured Steak Production,” cultivated meat leader MeaTech 3D successfully printed a cultivated steak composed of real, living muscle and fat tissues developed by stem cells this week, which may have fundamentally shifted the future of farm-raised meat alternatives.
“The cells used in making the steak were produced using an advanced and proprietary process that starts by isolating bovine stem cells from tissue samples and multiplying them,” writes MeaTech 3D’s editorial team. “... The printed product was placed in an incubator to mature, where the printed stem cells were differentiated into fat and muscle cells that develop into fat and muscle tissue, respectively, to form the MeaTech steak.”
The single 3.67 oz (104-gram) cultivated steak printed by MeaTech represents a year’s worth of research and could lead to a breakthrough in cell-based meat alternatives. Not only does it bring sustainable, premium cultivated meat products closer to the market, but it’s the only farm or factory-raised meat alternative I know of that is actual meat. Why is this important? Think of it this way: in the United States alone, pasture land makes up 41% of land use. That percentage is even higher globally. Returning some of that cleared land to forests would make a significant impact on lowering CO2 emissions and could be our best defense against climate change. The way we consume meat has to change. Printed stem cell meat may offer the most appealing alternative.
Fridges of the Future Could Save Time, Energy and Food Waste
Speaking of sustainability, did you know that 8 percent of global CO2 emissions come from food waste? Much of that waste is the result of basic refrigeration inefficiencies. According to futurist Bernard Marr, AI-powered smart refrigerators offer a more efficient and sustainable refrigeration future.
“Today’s refrigerators have already evolved from just a simple appliance to a critical part of your smart home,” writes Marr in his article. “And now it looks like the world’s most cutting-edge newest refrigerators might be able to help drive down earth’s emissions.”
AI is already improving grocery store refrigeration by reducing excess energy use. At home, that same technology is beginning to come into play. We can now purchase smart refrigerators that use less energy and keep food fresh up to 10% longer. Refrigerators can track what food we buy, when it will go bad, and offer personalized recipes based on the food we have in stock. That means less food and energy waste, and more optimized food use.
The smart refrigerators still have much to improve. But they’re getting better. And as they do, at-home eating will continue to get more optimized and sustainable.
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