Puzzling by a Data Minded Foodie

A strange thing happens when you spend almost 15 years working with Supply Chain software – you start to notice the complexity of the world around you – how things inter-relate, how dependencies are formed and how end user satisfaction can evaporate with something as simple as an inefficient response.

This Food Geek wasn’t thinking about much more than whether she could make it across the farmers’ market in time to purchase the last of the rosemary sourdough bread loaves when in the beautiful summer morning buzz, I found myself thinking about the market as relationship of entities – the foot traffic, the supply and demand, the cardboard boxes broken down behind the tents, the uber selective shoppers requesting samples, loading up their tote bags and hefting CSA shares back to their cars.

A questions came fast, and started to germinate in the back of my mind:

How does “Technology” , with an intentional capital T , serve, or miss the opportunity to serve, the larger concept of the food chain?  Where T = software, infrastructure, front end APIs, mobile, biotech, startup governance, analytics – any and all.

Then, directionality:  WHERE in the food chain is technology advantageous?  WHAT exists today?  Does it serve and can it scale? How adaptable is the technology rooted there today, and can it efficiently flex and change with time, market, policy, and environmental pressures on the system?

Next:  Gap Analysis – what part of the food chain does not leverage technology today?  Why not?  What will be the impact on not adding technology to those links, as these aforementioned pressure on the system increase? Where is the data coming from and what form does it need to take to feed the technology engines?  How does that data differ between the various food streams such as Perishables, Non-Perishables, Proteins, and Beverages?

What role do standards and governmental mandates play in how food is measured, traced, recalled, distributed, labeled, packaged, shipped, disposed of, recycled, and imported?  Would technology serve to help suppliers of all sizes comply and succeed?

So Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, I just know it….when one thinks about the application of technology to the food chain, in support of the rapid changes going on in Food (with an intentional capital F) today.

My question is:   As a marketing and business development executive, how can I find a way to add value to this puzzle?

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