Review: Edible Magazine’s Food Loves Tech Expo 2017

Cover image © Sarah Monahan for WhereNYC

Panel discussions included “What’s Old is New” in the food industry. © Sarah Monahan for WhereNYC

Foodies, inventors, and entrepreneurs alike gathered November 3rd and 4th for Edible Magazine’s Food Loves Tech (FLT) expo at Brooklyn’s Industry City. Over a hundred different exhibitors were featured throughout the event, showcasing groundbreaking technologies in and around the food industry, as well as educational entertainment concerning important issues around food supply.

Guests enjoy alcoholic drinks and well as non-alcohol drink with @CuriousElixirs.© Sarah Monahan for WhereNYC

From selfies printed onto whipped cream foam, to suppliers of locally sourced produce, FLT proved that the advances that are being made in the industry can and should be accessible to everyone.

Located on the waterfront of Sunset Park,Industry City’s innovative location, bringing together industrial architecture with chic, modern amenities, was a perfectly suited environment for the nature of the events.

Crowds of people gathered around the KabaQ 3D Food table in anticipation of seeing the augmented reality cookie come to life. It was hard to get a sample at the popular Oatly booth this year, serving oat based milk and quirky packaging. The genuine excitement and intrigue of both the vendors and the guest was overwhelming and intoxicating. Each table offered something new to learn and experience. With reluctance, I even tried cricket granola for the first time, from Seek Food, and it was delicious.

Not only did the expo provide an insight into the unimaginable capabilities of food, but it also emphasized a major theme: the basic fundamentals of food being apart of everyone’s future.

“[FLT] unites food and drink innovators,thought-leaders and enthusiasts to experience the future of food and drink,” (foodlovestech.com).

Oatly booth @FoodLovesTech. © Sarah Monahan for WhereNYC

Standing alongside reputable companies like Gotham Greens, establishing urban farms since 2009, were first year businesses, ready to take localized produce and make worldly changes. A notable entrepreneur was 17-year-old Priya Mittal. Mittal’s business, GroGreen Tech, supplies unwanted or “ugly” produce, that is often wasted, to businesses and people who can repurpose them. Even her business card, which can be planted into a basil plant, doesn’t go to waste.

Packed crowd at FoodLovesTech. © Sarah Monahan for WhereNYC

Normalizing modernized eating and farming are the primary goals for a lot of these businesses, especially for food delivery services, such as HelloFresh, and alternative greenhouses, like AeroFarms.

“I’m really excited about people adopting [HelloFresh] as a lifestyle change where they are able to learn from us… implementing it into their daily routine,” said HelloFresh’s Sales Manager, Andrew Lombardi.

Convenience is no longer the sole priority when it comes to the innovation aspect of the consumer. The future doesn’t inherently imply futuristic. The revolution, however, is a result of the habits being made from how we choose to take part in the food industry.

“[Here] we are able to tell our story. We are able to be very transparent with how we do things and why we believe it’s the right thing to do,” said Julie Qiu, Marketing Director for Australis BarramundiThe Sustainable Seabass. Aiming to enlightening their consumers, Australis Barramundi provides insight into the vast world of seafood and “climate-smart ocean farming.”

Priya Mittal, Founder and CEO of GroGreen Tech. © Sarah Monahan for WhereNYC

A common word that came up for entrepreneurs, concerning products getting into the hands of the consumers, was transparency. What is old is in fact new again, and in the eyes of this years innovators, the “fad” of going organic and green isn’t just appealing; it is necessary.

It seems so painfully obvious, and perhaps even ironic that the food industry in America has gotten to the point of us needing to backtrack in order to make a better future. Food Loves Tech is not just an event establishing the compatibility between food and technology, however expansive and cohesive. FLT strives towards food and technology loving the environment and leaves everyone to question, if everyone made these changes, what would the future look like?

For more information on upcoming events, visit Food Loves Tech.

Sarah Monahan