AgTech Digest: Food Trends For 2024; New Innovations In Autonomous Equipments; Partnerships & More
Discover what happened this week in the agtech industry.
Welcome to this week’s AgTech Digest. This edition highlights the latest developments in agricultural technology, including food trends by FreshDirect, autonomous farming equipment by Naïo Technologies, and critical partnerships. From vertical farming to sustainable farming and seed technology, this digest offers a comprehensive look at the trends and innovations shaping the agricultural industry in 2024.
Thanks for reading AgTech Digest®! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
2024 Food Trends: FreshDirect Ranks 5 Trends
FreshDirect, the online grocery delivery service, identified a trend towards upcycling food scraps to reduce food waste and encourage sustainable consumption. The company comments that this trend aligns with a growing preference among consumers for sustainable and regenerative agricultural products. Additionally, there is a rise in demand for functional beverages that offer health benefits beyond essential nutrition, including probiotic and prebiotic options. Another notable trend is a shift towards inclusivity in food choices, with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) becoming increasingly important in product selection. Finally, there is a growing preference for small plates and diverse culinary options, reflecting changing dining preferences and a desire for variety.
Naïo Technologies Launches Augmented Autonomy
Naïo Technologies has introduced a revolutionary technology called Augmented Autonomy that enables their fleet of agricultural robots to operate autonomously, which enhances efficiency and time management in farming practices. This technology meets all regulatory and safety requirements, making Naïo Technologies the only company to offer CE and FCC-certified autonomy for both light and heavy robots. Autonomous robots are 100% electric, reducing carbon emissions and chemical usage while addressing the global labor shortage by performing tasks without human supervision. Augmented Autonomy includes geofencing and patented obstacle detection systems that ensure secure operations alongside a certified training program for operators. This technology is part of a larger vision to integrate robots into a connected farm ecosystem, optimizing crop cycle tasks with AI and analysis tools for sustainable agriculture.
Philips Horticulture News: Join Forces With Siemens to Innovate Vertical Farming
Philips Horticulture and Siemens have joined hands to set new standards in the vertical farming industry. This partnership aims to revolutionize vertical farming by implementing cutting-edge technologies to make the process more innovative and efficient. By integrating automated solutions, the collaboration will streamline farming processes that will ensure precision and consistency, leading to more reliable and efficient outcomes. However, this partnership is not just about doing business together; it's more of a commitment to sustainability. The collaboration aims to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to farming by combining Philips Horticulture's expertise in LED lighting solutions with Siemens' advanced technological capabilities. With their combined expertise and resources, the two industry leaders hope to advance how vertical farming is approached, potentially leading to significant advancements in sustainable agriculture. Overall, this initiative is expected to shape the future landscape of sustainable agriculture by optimizing resources, improving yield quality, and bringing the vertical farming landscape to the next level.
Varda and Ever.Ag Partner
Agtech startup Varda, founded by Yara, has partnered with Ever.Ag is a leader in agricultural technology services. Varda’s Global FieldID™ (GFID) will be integrated into Ever as part of the collaboration. Ag’s farm management information system, FieldAlytics. This integration aims to enhance traceability in the agriculture supply chain by providing seamless produce tracking from planting to processing. This is expected to increase transparency and consumer trust in food production. The partnership is set to launch in December 2023 and will involve the integration of GFID across FieldAlytics’ extensive network of over 3 million field boundaries. Both companies envision creating a more sustainable, resilient, and transparent food ecosystem through advanced technology and collaborative efforts.
PepsiCo Advances Sustainable Farming with PAO Accelerator
PepsiCo is expanding its PAO Accelerator program, which is set to support almost 40 agricultural projects with investments amounting to over $30 million until 2028. The program will have a global reach and be implemented in nine countries, promoting diverse and impactful agricultural projects focusing on climate resilience, soil health, and ag-tech startups. PepsiCo is committed to working closely with local farming communities by encouraging co-investment and sharing innovative ideas. This collaboration is aimed at finding sustainable agricultural solutions and improving long-term sustainability in farming. The PAO Accelerator program fosters systemic change in agricultural practices that will combat climate change. The initiative aligns with PepsiCo's broader sustainability goals, including the pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) agenda, which aims to have a significant global impact by 2030.
NanobOx: Leading the Nanobubble Revolution
Irish startup NanobOx has made headlines with its innovative technology that generates nanobubbles enriched with oxygen. With a remarkable 90% oxygen-transfer efficiency, the company has secured $1 million in first-round funding from The Yield Lab, DeepIE Ventures, and Growing Capital. What's more impressive is that the technology uses less energy than a lightbulb, making it a cost-effective alternative to traditional methods of creating nanobubbles. NanobOx aims to complete field trials in agriculture and aquaculture and plans to enter the market by 2024. The company was awarded Enterprise Ireland’s ‘One to Watch’ in 2022, a testament to its potential for global impact in the $50 billion-plus water aeration market.
FMC Corporation Latest News: Ambitious Growth Plan Unveiled
FMC Corporation has recently launched a new strategic plan around three key objectives. Firstly, the company aims to strengthen relationships with growers. Secondly, it plans to deliver superior growth and returns. Finally, FMC seeks to maintain its safety, sustainability, and innovation leadership. FMC has developed a detailed plan with eight strategic imperatives to achieve these objectives. These include growing the Plant Health business, accelerating R&D, and improving operational efficiency to sustain profitable growth.
In addition, FMC has emphasized the importance of innovative product development. The company is developing and launching new products, including patented formulations and new active synthetic ingredients. These new products are expected to boost revenue significantly by 2033. FMC has also presented its financial goals and outlook. The company anticipates substantial cash generation in 2024 and focuses on returning to normal leverage levels.
Finally, FMC reaffirms its commitment to sustainable agriculture and global impact. The company has a broad portfolio that addresses agricultural challenges and is committed to sustainable practices that benefit the environment and society.
RED Horticulture’s €17 Million Series A Funding Milestone
RED Horticulture, a company specializing in dynamic LED lighting solutions for professional growers, has achieved a substantial funding milestone. The company raised €17 million in a Series A funding round, enabling them to boost their growth and expansion plans. Their focus on photobiology and providing growers with advanced knowledge aims to enhance profitability through better yields, quality, and energy efficiency. The funding will particularly reinforce their position in diverse production segments and support their continued research and development efforts, including investment in the Photobiology & Agronomic Research Centre (PARC) in Nantes, France.
ADM Latest News: Expands Regen-Ag Program in Brazil
ADM has recently expanded its operations in Brazil by launching a regenerative agriculture program. This initiative focuses on promoting and implementing sustainable agricultural practices that prioritize soil health, biodiversity, and farm productivity.
The pilot program of this initiative has been designed to involve 20 soy farmers, covering an area of 20,000 hectares. It aims to provide technical assistance and conduct a carbon footprint analysis to help farmers adopt sustainable practices.
Bayer, a leading life science company, is collaborating with ADM to support this initiative. Bayer's involvement aims to build a carbon ecosystem and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
ADM's long-term goals involve engaging 120,000 hectares in Brazil by 2027 and aiming for 4 million regenerative agriculture acres globally by 2025.
Xitavo Soybean Seed’s Remarkable Performance in 2023
Xitavo, a leading provider of soybean seed, has demonstrated exceptional performance in the agricultural industry by achieving over 14 first-place, 119 top-10, and 403 top-30 finishes in the 2023 Farmers’ Independent Research of Seed Technologies (FIRST) trials. Their products, such as XO 2282E, XO 2501E, XO 3014E, and XO 3922E, have showcased diverse strengths, from drought tolerance to high yield potential. Xitavo has secured 42 first-place finishes over three years, highlighting their consistent top-tier performance. This has been recognized by WinField United, where Xitavo has been acknowledged as a National Performer in the Answer Plot® testing program for three consecutive years. Additionally, Xitavo has shown innovation and expansion by introducing ten new soybean seed products for the 2024 season, all offering protection against Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN).