Six Emerging Trends in Food Processing to Look Forward to in 2018
As the awareness about detrimental effects of conventional packaging such as plastic and tetra packs grows, there has been a shift towards eco-friendly and recyclable materials that are also more environmentally friendly as not just multi nationals but even individuals are looking to minimize their carbon footprint.
Chemical free, natural and unprocessed or minimally altered are the new buzzwords amongst the health aware new age consumer and as such will be the guide for food processing technologies in the years to come. Short comings in the existing technologies in food processing have led to innovation of new methods to overcome these and provide stimulus to finding new improved means of food processing.
A growing desire to incorporate healthier alternatives to their diet, the Indian consumer is driving an innovation trend where nutrition is key. Many multinationals are reworking even their best sellers to accommodate the Indian palate and focusing on nutritive values and wellness. Keeping this in mind new technologies that are expected to dominate will be an interesting mix of Indian traditional knowledge and innovative new technologies. Here we’ve looked at six trends expected to emerge in the coming year.
Developing innovative indigenous food processing technologies
India has a vast offering of indigenous foods that are not only nutritionally dense but also best incorporated into the Indian diet. As we adopt quinoa from Mexico the world is fast embracing our naturally gluten free and rich cereals such as ragi, millet and jowar. A blend of traditional indigenous technology and modern processing techniques is also making possible the wide availability of traditional foods such as Chaach, mishti dahi, thandai and more recently even sugarcane juice.
Global processing technology and trends
The use of non-thermal technologies such as High Pressure Processing (HPP), Pulsed electric fields (PEF), and UV are being explored on a global scale and research has grown exponentially in these areas. The main advantage of non-thermal technologies is that they eliminate the use of high temperatures during processing while achieving microbial inactivation and avoid or greatly reduce detrimental changes in physical or sensory properties such as taste, colour, smell and consistency of foods. Since they are also more efficient in maintaining the nutrient profile the result is healthier, more natural foods being available in the market.
Innovation using age old rich knowledge of processing techniques
Fermented foods are all the rage as more and more people are realising its beneficial effects on intestinal heath and the immune system. These simple techniques such as pickling and sun drying are seeing a global revival as they are not just eco-friendly but also commercially viable. In the case of many foods, these techniques boost their nutrient profile and flavour while extending shelf life and making them widely available.
Innovation using deep rooted knowledge about ingredients
No spice palette in an Indian home is complete without its turmeric just as no list of super foods is complete without the inclusion of the ubiquitous chia. Ancient wisdom lost down generations ensured these became an intrinsic part of our daily diet. Only recently, extensive research into their health benefits has made these native superfoods popular and their inclusion in conventional or packaged foods such as that of turmeric in milk and cappuccino or that of chia in breads, cookies and shakes have helped them become mainstream.
Emergence of Fusion Products
Emphasis on health and taste is leading to an emergence of new product categories and even existing ones are being modified to enhance their nutritive values. Newer alternatives to sugar such as the all-natural Stevia is leading to a rise in the launch of drinks infused with it. Combinations of coconut water with aloe vera or strawberry and sugarcane juice with ginger or cumin not only offer a different taste profile but also add to its nutritive values.
Innovative packaging and storing
As the awareness about detrimental effects of conventional packaging such as plastic and tetra packs grows, there has been a shift towards eco-friendly and recyclable materials that are also more environmentally friendly as not just multi nationals but even individuals are looking to minimize their carbon footprint. Within these parameters finding innovative solutions enhances the feel good experience of a product. Recently a sugarcane juice packaged in glass bottles was launched with a pull out cap. The first of its kind in India, it’s not only convenient but has a novelty factor that enhances the entire experience.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house
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