We all live in our own bubbles. Some are small, some are bigger, but they are bubbles nonetheless. To understand the future, we need to understand what is happening outside of these bubbles. What trends are flying below our radar? Which innovations are we ignoring or not giving enough attention to? In order to widen our own horizons, we interview food experts and ask them about the trends that they think we are not talking about enough.
Anastasia Krivoruchko will speak at the 2nd International Food Innovation Conference on 15 June 2022.
GDI: Which food innovations are we not talking about enough?
Anastasia Krivoruchko: Most of the attention in the space in the past few years has been directed at innovations around proteins. However, fats are really important for things like taste and texture, and we’re not going to get very far in mimicking animal-based foods without the right fats. We are now finally seeing more innovation on the fat side of things. Technologies such as precision fermentation for fat production can allow us to mimic all sorts of fats, including different animal fats. This opens up a world of possibilities for tastier foods.
What food, still unknown (to consumers) today, will end up on our plates in the future?
In general, more variety – we’ll be seeing a lot more foods derived from fermentation and probably cell culture.
The beauty of precision fermentation is that it can allow us to go way beyond traditional food ingredients. The foods we are consuming today are largely limited to what we can easily grow. If you remove this limitation – the possibilities are endless. Any protein (or fat) that is out there could be produced via precision fermentation. I believe that in the future we will start seeing more precision fermentation companies looking beyond “traditional” ingredients such as egg and dairy proteins, and into all sorts of novel ingredients with new tastes and functionalities, as well as health properties.
Is there an important resource for the food system that is still underestimated today?
There are all sorts of carbon-rich waste streams out there from various industries that are currently going underutilized. In theory, many of these could be excellent substrates for production of fermentation-based ingredients, and make these ingredients even more sustainable. This can be tricky though because you’d want to make sure that your feedstock is food-grade, compatible with your process, consistent, and abundant enough. I think most fermentation companies are focusing on improving the production efficiency and scaling up their process, so they don’t want to introduce another complex variable to the mix. However, I believe that in the future these sorts of side streams will become an important feedstock for many fermentation-based processes.
Will food prices increase or decrease and why?
Overall, food prices will probably increase. Climate change is not going away anytime soon and we will be seeing a lot more extreme weather events in the coming years that cause damage to crops and drive food prices up.
However (on a more positive note), we will probably see different trends across food categories. Prices of alternative proteins will decrease as companies achieve economies of scale. Prices of animal-derived proteins will probably increase, especially if subsidies for these foods are removed.
Which companies / startups / chefs are the most promising newcomers or game changers?
I’m in general a big fan of fermentation-based technologies and think the potential there is enormous, so companies in this space are promising – especially if they’re backed by really good science. At Melt&Marble, we have developed a tech platform for production of all sorts of fats via precision fermentation. I believe that this will be a major enabler for the industry, and that we’re well-positioned to be a game changer.