07 Aug Sustainability: New Ingredient for Food Products
Sustainability is becoming a great innovation driver in the agri-food industry. Two promising lines of work are new technological product development and fighting food waste where many field-related food start-ups and projects are emerging. Part of this work has to do with the redesigning of traditional products and flavors such as dairy, meat, and produce. Here are some agrifood innovations illustrating it:
Produce is especially vulnerable to waste. It’s estimated that 40% of vegetables are discarded because of their appearance, never arriving to the final consumer. An additional significant portion of these products, due to their freshness, also fail to be consumed and must be thrown away by consumers and sellers. Students at Lund University in Sweden have developed a product that allows for the extension of shelf-life of these products by transforming them into powder. FoPo Food Powder is based on processing nearly expired fruits and vegetables and returning them to the market as an innovative powdered food that extends the shelf life of the garbage-bound produce to two years while maintaining a large proportion of their taste and nutritional properties.
Moreover, meat production has become one of the hot spots in agri-food system sustainability. The global population increases very quickly and providing animal proteins consumes a lot of land and water resources, also expected to be insufficient in upcoming years. Likewise, the livestock sector is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses. Looking for more sustainable ways of producing proteins, many start-ups have arisen for the development of plant-based products emulating beef, chicken, or dairy products. Beyond the meat or Hamptoncreek were pioneers and some of the most famous ones, but there are many others making use of food technology to bring new products into the market. That’s the case of Impossible foods– one of the latest projects to joining the list of disruptors of the agri-food industry. Patrick Brown, a Stanford biochemistry professor is the founder of the California-based start-up that creates plant-based meat and cheese substitutes. Meanwhile, at Maastricht University, they are developing lab-created burgers and the Israeli biomedical engineer Amit Gefen works in Tel Aviv University to create test-tube chicken meat.
The real vegan cheese is the name of another project related to the production of cheese taking the cow out of the equation and substituting it with food science and genetics. They are part of the DIY biotech movement, composed by amateur synthetic biologists, and another one with the potential to disrupt the agrifood industry, making the production of some dairy products more sustainable.