Innovation on the plate


Imagine while cutting an apple your knife suddenly flashes a red alert over detection of a harmful bacteria or displaying information about freshness of the fruit and the nutritional and pesticide contents in it.

Days will come for obtaining such a smart knife or for that matter many smart tools that will give information about the food you wish to have and are about to consume as well as guiding you on what to consume depending upon your individual nutrition status and health. Interactive labels ‘smelling’ contents of the container to detect harmful bacteria and indicate its presence by changing the colour is almost a reality now. Research on such labels is in the final phase and is expected to be available soon.

The list of such smart tools being developed in the food industry is ever expanding as world over researchers, technologist, innovators, engineers are involved in finding out new food sector related technologies that would help consumers in various ways.

Experts say that wearable devices like watches providing instant live data on proteins, nutrition value, fats etc. in the food a person is consuming are expected to be commonly used in the next five years. Or there will be scales with Bluetooth allowing users to access nutritional information, calorie count through smartphone application. A host of other technologies like 3D printed food, digital nutrition, algae and insects as forms of proteins, smart shopping tools, various webbased technologies and smartphone applications are at various stages of development ready to hit the market in near future.

Innovation is likely to shape the food industry’s future and will act as key to unlock the growth, said a recent Rabobank report. According to an online research, there is a growing interest, particularly among youth, for a ‘food recommendation algorithm’, which could advise them on what food to buy based on their personal health and nutritional requirement. Thus personalised nutrition, technology, that helps consumers tailor what they eat as per their specific health requirements is expected to take off in the next five years, the Future Foundation think tank experts have stated.

With the rise of nutritional genomics such technologies assume more significance. The nutritional genomics can provide information and guidance on individual needs of nutrition according to an individual’s genes and quantification of individual health data such as eating and calories and other nutritional information. It is expected to be the trend in the next few years. Naturally technological devices and applications providing such a service will be in demand. Sustainability, convenience and health are now three prevalent consumer mindsets for buying food where innovation will help, the Rabobank report has predicted.

Indian techies are launching many web or phone-based food ordering and delivery tools, but they do not appear to be doing much in other food related areas, where there is tremendous scope. They must keep in mind the ‘mantra’ given by noted scientist Dr R A Mashelkar at the 10th Nutra India Summit recently, “make innovation part of all activities” as that is the key to the nation’s development and growth. Innovation even on the plate will unlock growth of food sector as expected by Rabobank.

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