Food science innovations have the power to impact the daily lives of millions of people for the better. From process advances like pasteurization and microwave ovens to the invention of beloved products like instant noodles and space ice cream, food science continues to move forward in exciting ways. Learn about the most recent innovations—from fingerprinting food molecules to detect adulteration to changing the shape of sugar to reduce calories.
1. Raman Spectroscopy
Raman spectroscopy is an analytical technique that essentially creates a structural fingerprint of molecules by analyzing their vibrational and rotational modes. In this way, Raman spectroscopy can be used to detect if a food has been adulterated.
Raman spectroscopy is a non-destructive, non-contact technique with the potential to eliminate fraud in high-value foods. It’s already been successfully used to test olive oil, honey, coconut milk, and Scotch whiskey.
2. 3D Food Printers
Like a traditional 3D printer, a 3D food printer deposits raw materials layer by layer according to programmed dimensions that determine the product’s density, height, and shape. The starting materials determine the product’s composition, which includes taste, color, and nutrient mix.
Personalized nutrition is predicted to be the most important application of 3D food printing. Some envision a 3D food printer in every kitchen producing customized meals for each member of the household based on their preferences and dietary needs.
3. Personalized Nutrition
The growing appeal of personalized nutrition stems from the flurry of research showing differences in the way individuals process nutrients—ranging from vitamin absorption to insulin response to fat storage. Determining an individual’s ideal diet based on DNA (nutrigenomics) and gut microbiome (nutrimicrobiomics), as well as body metrics and lifestyle factors is an appealing alternative to the one-size-fits-all approach.
Personalized nutrition could be delivered through home 3D food printers and beverage makers or by subscription to a personalized meal service that produces meals with an optimized ratio of macronutrients and fortified with a custom nutrient premix.
4. Cellular Agriculture
You may have heard cellular agriculture touted as the future of meat. Cultured meat, also known as clean meat, can be produced by growing animal stem cells on scaffolding in a suitable growth medium to create meat without the animal.
Cellular agriculture also encompasses the production of acellular products like the milk protein casein and the egg protein ovalbumin from genetically modified yeast or bacteria. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is a key benefit of replacing traditional animal agriculture with cellular agriculture.
5. Porous Sugar
In the battle against obesity, one novel approach has been the development of a new structure for sugar. Researchers have found that spray drying a mix of sugar, milk powder, and water produces an amorphous structure filled with tiny holes.
Since porous sugar dissolves faster in the mouth, it’s perceived as sweeter than regular sugar, so less can be used. This allows both a sugar and calorie reduction. Porous sugar is already being used in chocolate bars.
The Future of Food
Though it can be hard to predict the future, one thing’s for sure—there will always be a steady stream of innovation in the field of food science. With the global population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, food science innovations are more essential than ever.
Interest in improved sustainability, safety, convenience, taste, and, of course, nutrition will continue to drive innovation in the food industry. As a leader in nutrition ingredients, Watson is committed to helping you create the next generation of healthy foods. Learn how to make a future food today with a custom nutrient premix for personalized nutrition.
Interested in learning more? Watch our video on using a Custom Nutrient Premix to take your product into the future!