The yearly list gives kudos to inventions that have made the world “better, smarter and even a bit more fun” in 24 categories ranging from artificial intelligence to style. The applicants were evaluated for originality, creativeness effectiveness and impact. Oura clinched a spot in the home health category, alongside Willo and FEND, and Solar Foods and Solar Water Solutions were recognised with a special mention.
“We’re at a moment in time where foodtech is acknowledged as a crucial sector,” says Pasi Vainikka, CEO of Solar Foods. “In TIME’s food category, the best food inventions are also environmental innovations. This should not be taken for granted, for they could have been more traditional food innovations such as improved pest control or higher hectare yields.”
Solar Foods’ artificial protein solution is set to disrupt the foodtech industry. TIME notes that the global food industry is responsible for 70 per cent of the world’s water use and 24 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, something that Solar Foods’ natural protein, based on renewable electricity and air, can help to mitigate.
“Foodtech has also risen to the top of the political agenda; just a few electoral cycles ago it was considered a non-issue. We’re now seeing initiatives such as the EU’s farm to fork strategy being recognised as a key policy area in the European Green deal.”
Oura has made headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing a way to detect early warning signs of a possible infection with its smart ring. The device was used by the NBA and WNBA to enable a safer environment for players and personnel to continue their season in the summer.
Solar Water Solutions, meanwhile, is tackling the costly and often dirty nature of many water filtration systems in remote places with its Adaptive Nozzle Valve System. Harnessing the sun’s renewable energy, the company is now generating clean water for up to 10 000 people daily in off-the-grid communities in countries such as Kenya, Namibia, and Indonesia.