Trends in 2024 Continue to Connect the Agriculture and the Food Industry


The world economy is facing difficulties due to inflation driven by external factors like higher gas and oil prices. Additionally, the rapid population growth has led to a substantial increase in food demand. To address these issues, innovative technological solutions are essential for food producers to thrive in this evolving landscape. It is clear that the way we produce, distribute and consume food needs to change. Smart, sustainable and effective solutions striving to reduce climate change must be implemented for us to create a socially responsible way of living.

Advancements In Agricultural Practices

Until now, 34% of agricultural land and 13% of global soil have suffered degradation, primarily attributed to the intensive use of heavy machinery, fertilizers, and pesticides. Synthetic fertilizers, deeply ingrained in farming practices for the past 85 years, contain nitrogen and phosphorus, which significantly contribute to water pollution. Given the problematic nature of conventional agriculture, which requires a significant amount of chemical and energy input, and its potential damaging effects on the environment, in-depth investigations into regenerative agriculture are conducted annually.

Regenerative agriculture encompasses a broad range of farming and food production methods, technological innovations, and practices designed to enhance the entire ecological system. In 2023, the emphasis was on creating technical innovations that can mimic natural processes and promote biodiversity. Digital tools play a crucial role in creating smart solutions for diverse weather conditions, optimizing crops growth, ensuring livestock health, and reducing water pollution.

Agricultural Trends in The Past Year and Their Further Development in 2024

Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) has significantly shaped the agricultural industry in 2023. Gen AI in agriculture is used to increase efficiency and effectiveness, eliminate waste and cut costs. AI technologies help food producers to implement specific management techniques by monitoring sudden climate changes, noting certain patterns, or assisting in collecting and analyzing useful data. Notably, Gen AI has driven significant advancements in the past year, including smart fences that enable remote control of entire farmlands, optimizing grazing areas and reducing labor costs. Additionally, smart belts monitor animal activity, well-being, temperature, health, and individualized feeding plans.

Another noteworthy trend is the implementation of digital twins - a digital model that emulates real life by replicating an actual crop, field, livestock, machinery, or process either full or in part. Digital twins enable farmers to manage their products more effectively, efficiently, and sustainably by optimizing resource usage. Utilizing digital twins in agriculture is a trend that will continue to grow rapidly in 2024, because it offers farmers a virtual platform for testing various products and scenarios without adversely affecting physical assets, all while contributing to a reduced carbon footprint.

However, the journey toward a more sustainable future does not stop at the farm gate. In fact, the impact extends far beyond, influencing every part of the food production chain. Now, let's dig deeper into how the new technological developments in agriculture connect with the latest trends in food packaging – a crucial component in our collective effort to produce, distribute, and consume food more effectively, efficiently and sustainably.

Popular Trends in the Food Packaging Industry That Became All the Rage

Packaging, as an important part of the food producing process, unfortunately contributes massively to global pollution each year. However, there are now various approaches when it comes to packaging which are not only more sustainable for the environment but also cost-effective for food producers.

This year, advanced recycling provoked interest in the food packaging industry. This recycling method is even classified by some as manufacturing on its own. This market recognition paves the way for future initiatives. Already, enterprises like Notpla and Coveris, are among the companies that have ventured into seaweed experimentation, developing coated carton packs with grease and water-proof ingredients. These collaborative efforts are becoming more prominent in the food industry, which points towards a promising future for sustainable packaging in 2024.

Unexpected Switch in the World of Food Packaging

For more than a decade, plastic has been labeled as unsustainable, inefficient, and expensive, while paper is commonly perceived as eco-friendly and effective. According to McKinsey’s research, the biggest environmental concern worldwide is ocean litter. Studies showcase an alarming prediction that plastic in the seas will triple by 2040. This is a critical matter that demands attention and active participation from all industries involved. Consequently, various approaches, including the use of alternative packaging materials and paper-based packaging, have been adopted in recent years.

However, when supply chains are not considered, the shift to paper packaging conceals some significant downsides that producers and consumers are unaware of. In 2023 a groundbreaking trend emerged, one expected to become ‘the next big thing’ in the world of food packaging. Contrary to popular belief, this movement raises reservations about a complete shift to paper-based packaging.

The use of paper as an alternative to plastic in packaging comes with higher material costs and a more complex manufacturing process, making the final products up to five times more expensive for consumers compared to their plastic counterparts. Despite environmental benefits, paper packaging presents challenges such as difficulty in maintenance over extended periods and complexities in applying protective coatings. The environmental impact of paper production is substantial, involving water-intensive processes, potential leaching of toxic substances, significant energy consumption, and deforestation on a large scale. However, major companies like Amazon, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Unilever, and L’Oréal are still adopting sustainable packaging solutions, emphasizing paper-based materials. The question arises whether plastic is the primary concern and if transitioning to paper packaging is the most effective solution.

Responsible companies worldwide are actively working to reduce the environmental impact caused by paper production. They achieve this by reducing water and energy usage and opting for brown paper materials, eliminating the need for additional bleaching processes.

Additionally, many companies have adopted a policy of planting several trees for each one that is cut down. Ironically, this initiative results in more trees being planted as paper production increases. It is essential to manage this matter with utmost care and effort in order to reduce our environmental footprint and create a responsible approach to manufacturing.

Looking ahead to 2024, our shared commitment to sustainability not only meets the global food demand but also ensures the satisfaction of our customers. Join DLL as your trusted partner today, and together, let’s explore new technological inventions and agricultural practices, shaping a more reliable and promising tomorrow.

If you have any questions about how financing can support your food and agriculture business, or the needs of your customers, don't hesitate to get in touch with us, or check out our website for more information.



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