CRISPR launch aims to future-proof agrifood production

CRISPR technology, newly launched in the food industry, seeks to enable precise and targeted genetic modifications in crops. The gene editing technique offers a solution to shape how the food and agricultural sector produces agrifood, as the principles behind CRISPR can offer a way to ensure food security and sustainability, food and beverage consultancy Forward Fooding relayed​.

Unlike traditional breeding methods, which can take years to produce desired traits, CRISPR has been designed to produce crops with specific characteristics in months. “It can also be used to create crops that are more sustainable, nutritious, and resilient to environmental stress,” Max Leveau, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Forward Fooding, told FoodNavigator.

Making food systems more resilient

At the centre of using the CRISPR technique is the pursuit to help make our global food systems more resilient. Climate change, global population and ongoing calls for novel new product development (NPD) are leading concerns and efforts driving its use.

Utilising CRISPR gene editing provides the potential to fortify crops against harsh conditions, enhance crop quality, and optimise yields. “With this technology, researchers have developed crops with improved tolerance to pathogen infection, improved plant growth, crop yield and crop quality,” Leveau added.

Using CRISPR, global agrifood systems can improve crops’ resistance to persistent harsh weather so we can ensure crop yield despite the climate crisis. “The continued warming of the planet is causing abiotic stresses on crops, thereby affecting production,” Leveau said. “This poses a serious threat to an already volatile supply chain and further worsens food insecurity,” continued Leveau.