Science Fare: 4 of the most futuristic scientific breakthroughs in the food sector

November 21, 2017
3 min read

Developments that engineer rather than harvest food and drink staples such as laboratory-grown meat and animal-free dairy have grabbed headlines over the past year. At this year’s Food Ingredients Europe, Mintel’s Food Science Analyst Stephanie Mattucci will present the newest developments in the sector.

Here, we have compiled a first glimpse of some of the most futuristic scientific breakthroughs in the food sector that Stephanie will discuss during her presentation next week at FiE.

Veggie steak

According to Mintel research, one in four Spanish consumers say that lab/cultured/synthetic meat appeals to them, followed by around one in 10 consumers in France and Germany.

Unilever and Givaudan, a leading flavour and fragrances company, have joined other companies working with Wageningen University to help develop a 100% plant-based steak that has a similar taste, texture, and appearance to regular meat. Researchers at the university have already developed a technique – using shear-cell technology – that transforms vegetable protein into layered, fibrous texture that closely matches the texture of steak.

Animal-free milk

Animal-free dairy products offer a solution for consumers who worry about the environmental impact of their dairy consumption.Based in Berkeley, CA, Perfect Day claims to have created a product identical in taste, functionality, and nutrition to cow’s milk. The company creates genetically-engineered yeast to produce milk proteins through a fermentation process; the proteins are then added to water, minerals, plant-based fats, and sugars to make milk.

Artificially-aged brandy

It’s not just animal-based products where we see technology playing a significant role in the food industry. Spanish researchers discovered exposing brandy to American oak chips and ultrasound waves for three days produced a spirit that mimicked the characteristics of brandies aged for 2 years.

Labeling regulations prevent these products from being called “brandy” but the technology could be beneficial for research and development.

Artificial wine

Ava Winery in San Francisco, CA aims to sell synthetic wine that mimics the taste, aroma, and body of high quality vintages – without grapes. The product duplicates the molecular profile of a wine and blends commercially synthesized molecules to match that profile. Analysis includes amino acids, acids, sugars, and volatile organics that define wines.

Science Fare evolution

How will Mintel’s 2018 Global Food & Drink Trend ’Science Fare’ evolve?

Pioneering developments could encourage consumers to think differently about how scientifically engineered products benefit the traditional food and drink supply, especially the potential to alleviate some of the pressure that our global food supply is under. Forward-looking meat companies are raising awareness by putting their products into perspective compared to the traditional food and drink supply chain.

In time, the target audience for these laboratory-grown ingredients could go beyond environmentally conscious consumers and appeal to consumers who are concerned about ingredient consistency, efficacy, and purity. An important aspect to capture consumer attention will be ensuring that products provide acceptable substitutions to their harvested counterparts.

Science Fare at FiE

This presentation will cover recent innovations and explore the potential new technology has to reach consumers.

Daily presentations at Mintel stand #0R81 – Hall 8:

Tuesday 28th November 13.30 – 13.55: Stephanie Mattucci, Global Food Science Analyst, Mintel – Add to calendar

Wednesday 29th November 13.30 – 13.55: Stephanie Mattucci, Global Food Science Analyst, Mintel – Add to calendar

Thursday 30th November 13.30 – 13.55: Stephanie Mattucci, Global Food Science Analyst, Mintel – Add to calendar

Stephanie Mattucci
Stephanie Mattucci

Stephanie Mattucci is the Associate Director, Food Science at Mintel. Prior to Mintel, Stephanie worked as a food scientist in R&D for an ingredients company.

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