How These Three Women Are Using Tech To Help Us Make Better Food Choices

Australian women in food technology continue to make their mark on the industry. And this year’s Australian Technologies Competition (ATC) finalists prove exactly how. Among the impressive lineup of forward thinking companies at the national awards (designed to showcase and promote innovative Australian technologies with global growth potential) three stand out for their remarkable efforts to revolutionise the way we eat. Dr Jinghua Fang’s AloxiTec, Danielle Morton’s Zondii, and Carolina Ferreira’s Octopusbot, are shining examples of female-led tech ventures making waves in the food industry. Here’s how their groundbreaking innovations are poised to redefine the way we eat.

About the Australian Technologies Competition

The Australian Technologies Competition (ATC) is as a platform for visionary tech companies to showcase their innovations. In its 13th year, the ATC, has become a space for spotlighting entrepreneurs and innovators across various sectors. And, unsurprisingly Australian women in food technology are often at the forefront. The competition highlights businesses with the potential to reshape industries and enhance society. With finalists gaining access to investors, mentors, and industry experts, facilitating the scaling and growth of their ventures.

Refrigeration-free fruit

Unlike chocolate, which we firmly believe should be packed in the pantry (and we’re ready to challenge anyone who disagrees!), storing fruit fresh often demands refrigeration. This problem is affirmed by every bench-top browned banana that had to be turned into an emergency loaf of banana bread. Solving the problem is Dr Jinghua Fang. The materials scientist and the founder of AloxiTec has harnessed her 18 years of research experience to address a pressing issue: food preservation. Her patented, flexible, lightweight, non-toxic and recyclable sheet material has the power to extend the shelf life of fruit. Without the need for refrigeration. And it’s recyclable, making it an eco-friendly alternative to traditional packaging. Dr Fang’s work earned her recognition as a finalist in the ATC’s Food, Water, and Agriculture category.

With food wastage one of the biggest challenges in the industry, Dr Fang’s invention has the potential to significantly mitigate this problem by keeping fruit fresh for longer periods, reducing the urgency to consume it immediately. With traditional packaging methods often contributing to environmental pollution, her recyclable solution aligns perfectly with the global push for sustainability.

Tackling food fraud

Danielle Morton, the founder and CEO of Zondii is on similar a mission to combat food fraud through cutting-edge technology. Her brainchild, a real time Smartphone authentication system addresses the pressing issue of food fraud. And, is a global game changer as it instantly validates food and fibre, transforming supply chain traceability and product verification.

Okay. Fake food may not be the first thing that springs to mind when one considers the counterfeit market currently flooded with knockoff bags. However, the truth is, the issue of food fraud is more prevalent than one might think. From mislabelled products to counterfeit ingredients, consumers often find it challenging to trust the origins of their food. Morton’s use of Hyperspectral technology to create unique fingerprints for food is a monumental step towards transparency in the industry. Producers can now utilise her innovation to tackle food fraud and provide concrete proof of provenance.

Using AI to solve food challenges

Finally, Octopusbot, co-founded by electrical and industrial engineer Carolina Ferreira was recognised for its ability to apply artificial intelligence and data analytics to benefit the food industry. Her innovative platform discovers key variables of the grain market. And addresses critical challenges faced by the sector, including weather-related crop impact, price volatility, risk management, and accurate forecasting. Octopusbot’s AI-powered models offer precise insights and forecasts, enabling food businesses to make data-driven decisions. It is Carolina’s passion for innovative technology and her commitment to transforming decision-making that stands to make Octopusbot a valuable partner in helping the food industry navigate its unique challenges.

At WLT we generally need little convincing on the magic that can happen when women harness the power of tech. However, these latest accomplishments by Australian women in the technology space are truly at the forefront of reshaping the food industry. And helping consumers make better, more informed choices about what we eat. 

Marie-Antoinette Issa: Marie-Antoinette Issa is a contributor for Women Love Tech and The Carousel. She has worked across news and women's lifestyle magazines and websites including Cosmopolitan, Cleo, Madison, The Urban List and Daily Mail, I Quit Sugar and Huffington Post.

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