The world is advancing at a rapid pace, and how we procure, create and package our food is looking to change, and on a wide scale. According to Metalworks’ food trend report released in 2015, five new food technologies are set to redefine our food and beverage industry and our attitude to nutrition.
Seedless fruit such as watermelon can be produced
As much as consumers are veering toward ‘natural’ and ‘naturally-sourced’ food today, bio-engineered foods are foods of the future, says Metalworks, the research and development branch of media agency Maxus. These labgrown foods are already in the market, albeit at a small percentage, and more for developing meat analogs as an alternative to real meat through the cultivation of muscle cells of livestock.
With these, manufacturers can create healthier foods by controlling the nutrition that goes into it, and at the same time adhere to the increasing consumer awareness and demand for sustainability and a maintenance of animal rights.
Food-Related Apps And Tools
Conscious food consumption is spreading among consumers, which provides a vibrant opportunity for manufacturers to cater to consumers’ increasingly techsavvy needs.
Consumers will always want to know exactly what goes into their food, where their origins are, whether the product has been tampered with, or whether the food or drink can still be consumed even past its best-before date—all this can already be told through the scan of a smartphone via various mobile applications, but the potential for even more product-consumer interaction is great and has yet to be fully explored.
Automation, Where The Consumer Can See It
Labour can be expensive, and with recent advances in technology, it is not surprising that companies and restaurants are taking advantage of developments in automation and are ‘employing’ robot staff on the floor and in kitchens to save on wages.
One example are the ‘beerbots’ (beer-serving robots) and bartending robots from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that have been designed to serve beers when needed but have an additional function of being able to detect when a person is drunk.
Internet Of Things
Smart machines and products are becoming more popular and will soon become the norm of the industry. Smart refrigerators, ovens and processing and packaging machines with smart technology incorporated within are helping manufacturers to optimise their production lines.
3D-Printing And Nanopackaging
3D-printing is still a new technology for the food industry, but one that is seen to have the potential to revolutionise the way we create food. Not only for the confectionery sector of the industry where manufacturers and retailers can personalise chocolate for example, but the technology can also be used to print food today. This can include anything from pasta and pizzas to desserts.
3D printers for food are capable of using fresh ingredients to print real, fresh, nutritious foods of savoury to sweet flavours, and all at the press of the button. They also open up the door to customisation for food products, as well as for printed labels and packaging that will go together with these.
A last trend for food technology for the future is nanopackaging. Nanotechnology has been around for a while, and it is slowly gaining momentum in the food industry today because of the benefits it can provide.
A significant one is its ability to extend shelf-life for products as it can preserve food for longer periods of time, protect it from spoilage or tampering, and can indicate the presence of bacteria or contaminants.
Also, nanopackaging can be derived from bio-based material and therefore reduce environmental concerns for overuse of non-biodegradable plastics.