Thought for Food Blog

Edible Insects – The Food of the Future?

Posted by Naomi McGrath

10-May-2017 08:30:00

The eating of insects, or entomophagy, is not a new concept. In fact, insects have been eaten around the world since prehistoric times.


A history of insect consumption

Stable carbon isotope analysis of the bones and dental enamel of australopithecines, for example, has shown that they were significantly enriched in isotope 13C, suggesting that the diet of these people was largely composed of animals feeding on grasses, including insects. Termites are reported to have been included into the Plio-Pleistocene hominin diet, and an analysis of fossils from caves in the USA and Mexico showed that coprolites from caves in Mexico contained ants, beetle larvae, lice, ticks and mites, providing further evidence for entomophagy in human history. 

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Topics: protein, nutrition, Africa, Asia, vitamins and minerals, allergies and allergens, cholesterol, environment and sustainability, fatty acids, food safety, food security, pesticides, texture, insect foods, nutrients, amino acids, magnesium, zinc, calcium, enzymes, consumer behaviour, novel foods

3D Printing: Shaping the Future of Food

Posted by Naomi McGrath

05-Jan-2015 11:33:00

Imagine a world where you could have any food you liked in any shape you desired at the touch of a button. Rocket-shaped pasta? Easy. A bowl of dinosaur-shaped cereal? No problem. Or how about some chocolate, sculpted into an assortment of intricately shaped snowflakes? Well, with 3D food printing this could be a reality. And, as the technology has started to make some real progress in recent times, it could happen sooner than you might think. Its potential does not end at just printing individual foods like pasta and breakfast cereal, though. Scientists envision a future where entire meals could be printed using a 3D printer.

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Topics: texture, nutrition, 3D printing, protein, chocolate, environment and sustainability, flavour, nutrients, confectionery, sugar and substitutes

A Matter of Taste – The Genetics of Flavour Perception

Posted by Chris Cattini

01-Aug-2014 11:15:00

In the sixties, a gloomy prediction was made: in the future, people wouldn’t eat foods, as such, but would rely on pills and nutrient-rich powders to provide them with sustenance. No longer would eating be regarded as entertainment. Future inhabitants of our world would eat to live, nothing else.

Thankfully, this turned out to be science fiction. Fifty years on, pills, powders and gels may be consumed as supplements, but the possibility that these could replace real food is still remote. Gastronomes are prepared to spend large amounts of money on fine dining in order to experience unusual flavour combinations. Chocolates full of sugar and fat are given as presents because we love them. Even the astronauts in the space station are provided with specially formulated foods (probably the closest we have come to the predicted powders) that have to be tasty and enjoyable as well as nutritious.

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Topics: texture, flavour, sensory perception, nutrients, retail and marketing, supplements, consumer behaviour, genetics, salt, polyphenols

How Important is Food Texture?

Posted by Dave Howard

29-Nov-2013 14:49:00

Most people obsess over flavour – everything from ice cream to cheese to chocolate. However, food professionals, from chefs to manufacturers, know that creaminess, crispiness and chewiness is just as important and crucial in making something appealing to consume.

Ingredion are a company whose Texture Centre of Excellence helps the food industry achieve the perfect consistency for their products - 'The magic begins here,' reads the website. Texture is big business and the science of food structure is known as food rheology.

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Topics: texture, sensory perception, food economics, consumer behaviour, cognitive function

Texture of Food – Focus on Tomatoes, Pt. 3

Posted by Dave Howard

02-Oct-2012 09:00:00

The enzyme lycopersicon esculentum polygalacturonase (LePG) and expansin, a family of closely related nonenzymatic proteins found in the plant cell wall, specifically LeExp1, are involved in tomato ripening.

LePG is an enzyme that digests pectin chains. LeExp1 has a role that is less clear and is still being researched. It has been suggested that this protein is responsible for altering the connections between different molecules in the cell wall, disassembling the structure of the wall and possibly making it easier for other enzymes to access and digest these molecules.

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Topics: texture, nutrition, healthy eating, enzymes

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