The first edition of the #Datafood Startup Festival is getting closer and closer! With speakers such as Tom de Bruyne, Sicco Pier van Gosliga and Casper Koomen in our program there’s no doubt that October 30th is going to be an inspirational day. We wanted to get to know their view on the data/food branch, so we asked all of them the same 3 questions.
Let’s continue with Sicco Pier van Gosliga. Sicco is leading Connecterra’s R&D efforts on data science. Connecterra is developing a wearable device for dairy cows to monitor their health and well-being. It helps farmers improve the life of their animals and at the same time increase the farm’s productivity and profitability. This is a win-win for all involved and we believe it can help impact global dairy markets in a positive way.
1. What is the biggest challenge in the food industry according to you, and why?
‘Due to the global trend of urbanisation, rural life has become less attractive for young people. It is increasingly difficult for farmers to find skilled labour or successors for their farms. The rapid expansion of cities also claims farmland. Meanwhile, the global population is growing and we request higher volumes of high-quality food. Producing enough food in an ecological and economically sustainable manner while arable land and skilled farmers become scarce, will surely be one of mankind’s biggest challenges in the coming decades.’
2. If you have to choose, what will have the biggest positive impact on our global food problem? Data, design, economics, behaviour change, or something different? What would it be and why?
‘Data and algorithms in themselves won’t change anything. But they do offer us the potential to experiment and to learn what works best under what circumstances. Based upon newly acquired insights we can improve our practices in a sustainable manner. These changes may entail new production techniques, economic measures, behaviour changes and many other things. While I doubt any change, in particular, will stand out individually, I expect combined they will all have an enormously positive impact.’
3. And the final question, what startup (food or non-food) currently inspires you most, and why?
‘We are used to searching -and finding- anything on the internet these days, but if you are a medical scientist you can’t just Google for candidates to test a new medicine. The startup CTcue cleverly searches through hard-to-interpret medical records to find patients that match specific criteria while fully respecting the privacy of everyone. It is encouraging to see startups like CTcue have had a success that is genuinely improving the world.’