We buy those bags of oranges and cartons of kale with such high hopes and good intentions. Yet some portion of them always seems to wind up fuzzed with mold beneath the bananas or slimey and brown in the back of the fridge. Food waste is a huge problem, not just in our own kitchen, but globally. About a third of all food produced for human consumption gets wasted each year, resulting in some $990 billion in financial loss and an enormous toll on the environment. How do we improve these figures? Perhaps some of these technologies can help.
See Rot the Eye Cannot
Hyperspectral imaging—a technology that chops the electromagnetic spectrum into hundreds of bands to look for data the eye can't see—has been a hot topic in food technology circles in recent years. Hyperspectral cameras can see when produce is becoming ripe—the riper the fruit, the darker the image. This has made it useful in food inspection. More recently, researchers have been trying to bring the technology directly to consumers, with cost-efficient devices that could potentially be incorporated into smartphone cameras. So soon you may be able to snap a quick iPhone pic to know exactly when to eat that avocado.