Meat & Livestock News

2024 Food Science Trends: Farm-to-Fork Strategy, Food as Medicine, Enhanced Safety, and AI Integration


  1. Farm-to-Fork Strategy: Focuses on connecting the entire food ecosystem, supported by policies and investments for food security and sustainability.
  2. Food as Medicine: Involves stakeholders from various sectors to integrate nutrition education in healthcare and link diet to health insurance.
  3. Advancements in Food Safety: Addresses food contaminants and proposes regulatory changes, like California’s ban on certain additives and the FDA’s unified food program.
  4. AI Integration in Food Technology: AI is set to revolutionise data processing in food technology, requiring new approaches to ethics and privacy.

In 2024, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) anticipates four significant trends in food science that are set to influence the sector. These trends encompass a comprehensive farm-to-fork strategy, the concept of food as medicine, advancements in food safety, and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in food technology.

The farm-to-fork strategy highlights the interconnectivity of the entire food ecosystem. This approach will be supported by various policies, commitments, and investments aimed at enhancing food and nutrition security while promoting sustainability.

Notable initiatives include the COP28, the World Food Forum, the upcoming US farm bill in 2024, and the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The IFT’s science and policy team emphasises the crucial role of food science and technology in achieving these objectives. They point to the USDA, FDA, and EPA’s draft strategy on food loss and waste reduction and the expected outcomes from the USDA’s Climate Smart Agriculture investments as evidence of progress in this area.

The concept of food as medicine is set to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, including medical professionals, health advocates, manufacturers, retailers, farmers, and government bodies. This trend aims to redefine nutrition education for medical professionals and establish connections between health insurance and dietary health.

In terms of food safety, concerns such as outbreaks, contaminants, and the presence of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are at the forefront. California’s plan to ban certain food additives by 2027 and the US Food and Drug Administration’s proposal for a unified human foods program are responses to these challenges. The FDA’s proposal acknowledges the need for a more agile and efficient response to the evolving global food supply.

Lastly, the role of artificial intelligence in 2024 is expected to be transformative, processing vast amounts of data and offering new opportunities for insight, actionable data, supply chain improvement, and automation.

However, this will also necessitate new evaluations of ethics and privacy in the sector. Collaboration among policymakers, technology platforms, and end users will be essential in developing new frameworks to address these challenges.

In summary, these four trends identified by the IFT reflect a dynamic and evolving landscape in food science, where technology, policy, and a holistic approach to the food system play pivotal roles.