This Week’s Around The World looks at the issue of technology and its profound impact on agri-business and what we eat. The attached article from the Globe & Mail asks the question: why doesn’t chicken taste the way it used to? Strawberries too for that matter. The answer: technology. The selective breeding of chickens or strawberries for output, not flavour, has resulted in a bland, sanitized food that only takes on the taste of whatever you put on it.
Canada is the 5th largest exporter of agricultural commodities, employing 1 out of 8 workers. Who ranks ahead of us is surprising, with tiny Netherlands at #2 globally. Like so many things the Dutch have given us (I’m a big fan of their Droppies -hard salted licorice -yum!), the country grows most of its food in computerized greenhouses, while outdoor crops are monitored by satellites and drones. The result? Large scale production that uses 90% less water, and that requires little chemical pesticides or antibiotics. Best of all, it tastes good.
I have written many times about technology being the driver of change, innovation and profitability. And the food business is no different. Canada has an opportunity to capitalize on it’s massive scale to move up the ranks and overtake the Dutch. Your institutional money managers look to companies that best utilize technology in their business -wherever they may be in the world. Think global but act local is the bumper sticker of the day.
But consumers will always spend their money on the best product at the best service wherever it comes from, taste included.