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Food & agriculture

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Quick read

  • Chemical
  • Food & agriculture
  • How does that work?
  • Issue 97

Non-alcoholic beer and wine

Sales of non-alcoholic and low-alcohol drinks have soared in recent years, more than doubling since before the pandemic. So how do manufacturers make them alcohol free while still tasting the same?

Close up of a strawberry being picked by the snipping device on a fruit-picking robots. Other strawberries still on the plant are shown on the left of the image
  • Food & agriculture
  • Issue 93

Fruit-picking robots

Dozens of engineering enterprises are trying to find ways of picking fruit and vegetables with robots. Nearly all of them have focused on strawberries.

Quick read

Six blocks of varying height showing the various stages and consistency of product between seaweed and sustainable packaging.
  • Environment & sustainability
  • Food & agriculture
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 87

Edible packaging

Half of plastic packaging is used once and thrown away. Notpla has developed sustainably sourced seaweed packaging to hold liquids, which decomposes in less than six weeks.

A tractor in a field of linearly planted crops, attached to a Garford Robocrop automatic hoe system, which is aligned with the spacing of the crops.
  • Food & agriculture
  • Issue 85

Intelligent weed control

Weeds are plants out of place. When they grow within crops they compete for light, nutrients, moisture, and space, and can often reduce crop yield and quality of the plants that are being farmed. Dr Paul Miller FREng spoke to Dr Nick Tillett, Director of Tillett and Hague Technology, about the advances that are allowing farmers to control weeds using less chemicals.

Quick read

  • Food & agriculture
  • How I got here
  • Issue 82

Q&A: Ben Crowther

Ben Crowther is the Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder of LettUs Grow, a Bristol company that designs modular aeroponic farming systems.

Quick read

Mamta Singhal in front of a logo for the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
  • Food & agriculture
  • Design & manufacturing
  • How I got here
  • Issue 81

Q&A: Mamta Singhal

Mamta Singhal is a Commercialisation Manager for Coca-Cola European Partners, GB Supply Chain. Before this, she worked for two large toy manufacturers as a design engineer with Hasbro and as a project quality engineer for Mattel.

  • Food & agriculture
  • Issue 80

Farming in the desert

Growing crops in hot, dry countries can be a challenge. Simple structures that use seawater to keep the growing environment cool are being used to farm fruit and vegetables in the Horn of Africa. Geoff Watts spoke to Charlie Paton, Founder and Director of Seawater Greenhouse, about the challenges of creating a greenhouse that cools instead of heats.

Spinach crops tightly packed under lights at an indoor farming facility.
  • Food & agriculture
  • Issue 78

Vertical farming for future growth

Agriculture faces mounting challenges in the 21st century. More of us live in cities than ever before and the global population is estimated to reach 11.2 billion by 2100. Science writer Sarah Griffiths spoke to Intelligent Growth Solutions to understand how produce grown inside under lights in trays arranged in vertically stacked towers could help meet growing demand for food.

Quick read

  • Food & agriculture
  • Innovation Watch
  • Issue 78

Robots in the field

Four years ago, three engineers began developing a robot designed to autonomously pick and sort strawberries. Three designs later, the first group of 24 robots is reaching UK fields this summer. The robots will navigate the crops and select ripe fruit, before picking, inspecting and packing the strawberries.