Upcycling and nanoencapsulation innovations to lead 2020 food tech trends?

A new report from global food entrepreneur network Forward Fooding predicts new technology applications in the growing personalised food space.

7 February 2020
food wastefunctional foodnutritionsnackingtechnology

Food tech and personalisation go hand-in-hand, with the latest in consumer health and nutrition now being tailored to the individual rather than the masses as science becomes a key driver in development.

Food Spark has been covering innovative tech start-ups focused on providing personalised solutions for the healthy minded as far back as 2018, with the improvement of health markers such as bacterial diversity, blood lipids, resting heart rate and sleep, as well as far-reaching nutritional plans, among the many areas of experimentation.

Now, in 2020, we’re starting to see robots with personalised nutrition focus inch towards UK restaurants while 3D printing is also becoming more mainstream. And, according to Forward Fooding, a global network of food entrepreneurs, nanoencapsulation in food will be one of several advances in the food tech realm seen over the coming year.

Every little helps

In food industry terms, nanoencapsulation is the technology that allows nano-sized amounts of nutrients such as calcium and iron to be put into foods so as to be absorbed faster by the body.

It’s a capability that has been around for a while, with Forward Foodings forecasting an increase in application in 2020, specifically with probiotics to extend shelf life (with gut health certainly a standout area for the coming year) and with up-cycled ingredients, such as antioxidants, which “would have been difficult to incorporate in food otherwise”.

“We believe more and more big players (e.g. flavour manufacturers) will start (or continue) investing in this emerging sector,” says the report.

“Upcycled and rescued ingredients are becoming trendy as the food waste issue is under the spotlight.”

As an example, the report cites Mondelez testing two snack brands through their brand incubator, Snack Future: Dirt Kitchen (a plant-forward company that champions healthy through vegetables) and CaPao (a snacking brand that ‘rescues’ waste cacofruit).

Up, up and away

Innovation is rife with up-cycled ingredients, with advances in “upcycling technologies” such as air protein and protein synthetisation predicted to be a growth area.

Food Spark highlighted air protein as a next-gen protein to watch at the tail end of 2019, along with forms of algae, with Forward Foodings naming the aquatic ingredient as one of the ‘functional foods’ to go mainstream.

“While we expect some of these functional ingredients to get to the masses (such as kombucha, CBD and algae), some new innovations will undoubtedly also come to market,” continues the report.

 “We also anticipate a renewed focus on taste to match consumer needs, alongside the increase in focus on functional ingredients and their innovative health benefits.”

Food products are ‘going beyond feeding’ in terms of application, the report says, with there being a renewed focus on taste in terms of matching consumer needs, with the furthering of functional ingredients and “their innovative health benefits.”

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