Health & Nutrition Week, 28 November-2 December 2016, Frankfurt, Germany

Food & nutrition futures: ‘We need to become comfortable with the uncomfortable’

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

'While insects take the prize for ‘hype factor’, I think algae is the one to watch for its abundant health benefits and ability to easily morph into malleable – and rather palatable! – forms.' ©iStock
'While insects take the prize for ‘hype factor’, I think algae is the one to watch for its abundant health benefits and ability to easily morph into malleable – and rather palatable! – forms.' ©iStock

Related tags: Nutrition, Food

Pressured food supply chains are pushing new foods and nutrient sources into view like insects and algae that are challenging the status quo, says a UK-based food trend watcher.

“We will need to become more comfortable with the ‘uncomfortable’ and these lesser known or lesser used ingredients will start to pop up in commercial formats,”​ said Mandy Saven, head of food, beverage and hospitality at UK consultancy, Stylus ahead of a presentation she will give on November 29 as part of HiE’s Health & Nutrition Week​ in Frankfurt, Germany.

“While insects take the prize for ‘hype factor’, I think algae is the one to watch for its abundant health benefits and ability to easily morph into malleable – and rather palatable! – forms.”

Saven said recycled food waste was another sector drawing increasing attention – backed by recent celebrity chef adoption that is removing the stigma of eating foods that may have initially been extracted from the bin.

“As treatment of food waste becomes more considered and sophisticated we will see advancements in how waste-derived products are conceived, packaged and marketed,”​ Saven said.

“With chefs like Massimo Bottura and Dan Barber leading the charge, edible waste will be reframed as luxury and highly desirable.”

‘More intelligent modes of eating’

Nutrigenomics and personalised nutrition would continue to gain prominence as more people adopted intelligent modes of eating whereby our food supplements could be designed for us – and incorporated into, say, our morning coffee.”

However as people retained a desire to eat ‘normal foods’ there would remain an ever-present “tension between [meal replacement] products like Soylent and Huel versus more ‘humanised’ food. There is a tension between wanting on-the-go convenience that fits into our busy lives but also wanting to connect with one’s food in a more ‘joyful’ and sensory way. Can the two be mutually compatible? I’m not sure."

“I think the question is more whether people desire nutrition in forms that can be hugely unsatisfying – unless of course one has no other choice. As issues of provenance, transparency and clean eating heighten, demand will be more for fresh, whole foods that are imperfectly perfect.”

DNA genotype genes genetics lab science research personalised iStock HYWARDS
©iStock/HYWARDS

That said, Saven observed: “The personalisation of food is a force that grows stronger everyday as merging technologies facilitate it.”

Find out more about Health & Nutrition Week here​ and conference sessions at Health Ingredients Europe (HiE) here​.

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