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26th July 2021

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IFT —Institute of Food Technology, now called FIRST—food improved by research, science, and technology.

Author: Benedict D’Alessandro
Role: Business Manager

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IFT FIRST was back online this year with the familiar video calls, and interesting talks on trends and challenges within food innovation.

Throughout the talks, I picked up on 4 core factors that seem to be repeatedly highlighted as driving food innovation.

Naturalism is still important to consumers. Many companies are focussed on removing synthetic additives by innovating with clean label solutions like enzyme technology.
Biocatalysts 10m3 fermenter
Moreover, functionality has shown huge strides in growth with 59% CAGR of food and beverage launches tracked with ‘functional’ as part of the product name globally from 2016 to 2020. This is partly due to the pandemic with consumers searching for immune system and mental wellbeing benefit claims in their products.

Additionally, sustainability was in the limelight. With populations predicted to exceed 10 billion in 2050 and less space than ever for farming, companies are having to look towards a new future in food production. Enter, specific fermentation: The ability to grow proteins or food ingredients in microorganisms. From companies like AIR PROTEIN™ making protein from CO2, to other similar innovators like Future Meat Technologies using cell culture to manufacture chicken breasts for $3.90, without a chicken in sight.

Sugar is still seen as the biggest villain in terms of nutrition with R&D absorbed on identifying methods of reducing or replacing (reductionism). Market leaders such as BRAIN AG and Roquette have entered into an agreement to produce the sweet protein, Brazzein, as a sugar replacement. Yet another example of specific fermentation entering the market to solve a challenge.

These new methods of creating food will undoubtedly change the way we see food production, from fields to factories, as the fermentations grow in volume. This in turn represents a new challenge, with limited resources for fermenting and challenges around large scale manufacture of food ingredients.

If you would like more information on how Biocatalysts Ltd’s fermentation capabilities can help in your scaling your production, contact us.

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