As we all know, Big Data is the next `Big Thing`. It seems, as if someone from every major industry was looking at the impact of being able to glean data from multiple data sources, structured and unstructured, from health to agriculture and more.
With technology advancing, personal data is getting easier to track. ‘Quantify’ the self which means knowing your precise, undeniable, and scientific numbers through tracking calories, blood sugar, vitamin levels—and total quality of health will be revealed.
Through the internet of things, we can manage the dizzying amount of data we produce each day. No time to stop at the store, so what’s in my refrigerator to make dinner tonight? In a simple example, an app could aggregate the data of all food purchases on my credit card, then offer an inventory of my fridge and pantry, then connect with websites to check the types of recipes I download (vegetarian, Greek, dairy-free) to suggest recipes for dinner based on what’s on hand. My dinner information will then be logged in my food tracker.
Food industries are hiring Data Scientists to monitor customer behavior patterns to create more popular new products. Entire consulting businesses are devoted to “Big Data for the food industry.”
Employers want to monitor individuals’ food intake too. According to Politico, employer monitoring of behavioral data (such as what people eat) through wearable technologies like Fitbits is a developing trend. Spurred in part by the Affordable Care Act, which incentivizes companies to offer wellness programs for employees, food monitoring could be exactly the kick start you need to eat better. Or food monitoring could be a federally subsidized road for employers to ‘request’ an unethical amount of information from employees that is more of an ‘offer you can’t refuse.’
There’s more money in technology than ethics!
As we know, curbing a company’s use of data curbs profits also. But the questions are only getting more vexing. Smart food companies will start investing in consumer trust now.