CEO and founder, GrowHub, Lester Chan

Fake or mislabelled food is a serious issue. Adulterated products can be health-threatening for individuals, while causing damages to the tune of US$32 billion (S$44.9 billion) per year for the global food industry, according to estimates by the European Commission. Beyond being stomach-churning, this can destroy trust in producers and brands.

Over the past few years, we have seen a dramatic shift in the direction of healthier, more natural, and more authentic diets and lifestyles. Educating ourselves about what we eat, who produces it, and how it reaches our homes is part of this process.

Farm-to-table concepts, which move fresh produce directly from the source to the end consumer, are gaining traction in Asia. The use of technology that makes the food chain more transparent has improved even more dramatically.

Today, we have the tools to trace agricultural products back to their origin, let’s say to a beekeeper on an Australian farm. Geolocation devices, sensors, and QR codes collect and store this information and are just a click away for the purchaser. Blockchain technology, for instance, authenticates claims made by the producers and allows consumers to verify that their food is indeed vegan, organic, or halal.

Technology can help people lead healthier lifestyles

CEO and founder, GrowHub, Lester Chan
CEO and founder of GrowHub, Lester Chan

South-east Asia — the region with the world’s fastest-growing middle class and most youthful demographics — is developing an increasingly sophisticated appetite for superior foodstuffs. Singapore, at the same time, continues to look for additional sources to strengthen and diversify its supply. To ensure people get what they ordered, food needs to be delivered securely to the region.

We also have a responsibility to the farmers, many of whom produce small batches with uniquely crafted flavours. Using a scanner, online shoppers can now see where products come from, and how they are produced. You won’t want to miss that experience once you’ve had it.

People who are conscious of what they are eating also tend to choose healthier, more sustainable lifestyles. Cutting-edge technology can help with that.

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