Technology is constantly shaping the world we live in, and the food industry is no exception. Innovation is always taking place, and it is happening rapidly. Food industry innovation refers to the creation and commoditization of new food goods, procedures, and services. Companies that produce food and beverages are seeking new ways to provide compelling, affordable, innovative, and distinctive healthy and nutrient-dense products that are also sustainable and enjoyable.
Top Food Industry and Innovations and Trends
Among the many trends and advancements in this ever-growing industry, these have created some of the most notable changes and made the most impact:
1. Freeze Drying
The development of technologies that provide quality and convenience means that there is always an expectation for high-quality, fresh products on the market.
Consumers increasingly prioritize foods that are compatible with their on-the-go lifestyles, but more people are also warier of preservatives and have started to focus more on their health.
This is why freeze drying has become an indispensable process across the food sector. The demand for freeze-dried foods is high for a number of reasons.
Not only does this food innovation technique extend shelf-life and freshness, but it also retains its nutritional content and flavor.
It also allows for various applications such as ready-to-eat snacks, hot and cold products, and the generally increased accessibility to whole foods that contribute to healthier lifestyles.
2. Plastic-Free Smart Packaging
Plastic has been a mainstay in food packaging for decades because of its cost-efficiency and convenience. This is shifting due to the ever-growing and changing consumer perspectives on environmental sustainability, particularly in the fight against climate change. Manufacturers are now expected to make some greener changes.
Technological advancements have produced packaging that is not only biodegradable but edible as well, such as straws, which are some of the most simple yet innovative food products of late.
Smart packaging is another food industry innovation that uses nanotechnology to create packages that can detect physical or chemical microbial changes in food. This helps determine food quality, detects whether food is close to spoiling, and prolongs shelf life, among other applications [*].
3. Alternative Proteins
Given that different types of food are becoming more accessible, people have many more options for their dietary needs and preferences. As a result, one of the most prominent food trends today is the increased popularity of alternative protein sources. Some popular alternative proteins on the market include plant-based nutrition, cultured meat, and mycoproteins that are derived from fungi.
The availability of these food products makes it easier for people of different lifestyles to get their nutrition from various sources. Individuals who are on a vegan diet, for instance, may choose plant-based foods as their main source of protein. People who follow other diets may also incorporate these different alternative proteins into their dishes for variety.
4. Restaurant Digitization
Innovations in food service are also seen in restaurants. Today, digitization allows restauranteurs to focus on enhanced customer experience and smooth operations management. Restaurant digitization has also enabled restaurant brands to collect useful information that can help make data-driven decisions to improve business performance.
Furthermore, restaurants have taken to using digital management systems across the supply chain. Cashless payment options, digital menus, and self-service kiosks are just a few examples. Some establishments may also take advantage of chatbots to manage a higher influx of inquiries on digital platforms.
5. 3-D Food Printing
3D printing food may seem like a food product innovation that exists in the future, but its applications today are already growing. This solution provides endless possibilities in food, from creating new shapes, textures, compositions, and even flavors in products.
There are a plethora of food customization options available with 3D printing. Not only does it offer convenience and efficiency, but it also allows for creativity in food-making with less effort. One application is the precise manipulation of ingredient ratios which allows chefs to push the limits of artistic food creations.
6. Forward Osmosis
Food products are kept fresher for longer through the use of a concentration process so that they maintain their quality by the time they reach customers. Membrane technology companies have created a new preservation process that concentrates liquids through forward osmosis.
Forward osmosis concentrates food using less energy and no heat, resulting in food that retains more of its nutrients. This process is more advantageous since it does not detrimentally affect flavor or cause browning, preserving the taste of the original product. The end result is a food product that is higher in quality compared to those processed with traditional concentration methods [*].
7. Reduction in Food Waste
In order to save money and reduce their impact on the environment, large organizations and food entrepreneurs are now focusing on reducing food waste. Solutions for food monitoring help restaurants, food producers, and smart cities cut down on food waste. Doing so is essential if we are to combat food insecurity, which remains an issue in many parts of the world according to the World Bank [*].
Additionally, there has been a paradigm shift in the food manufacturing industry from waste reduction to zero-waste methods. Food manufacturers are upcycling and recycling food waste to produce value and extend their access to consumers interested in sustainability. For instance, food waste in restaurants and other food outlets is reduced by 3D food printing technologies that employ food waste to manufacture edible food products.
8. Personalized Nutrition
Customers are developing a greater awareness of nutrition, so the desire for tailor-fit nutritional solutions is growing as well.
In addition to diets based on nutrigenomics (i.e, the relationship between nutrients, diet, and genes), there are also dietary preferences to consider, such as sugar- and gluten-free eating plans, vegan diets, and clean-label food items.
The integration of robotics and 3D printing enables nutrition customization at scale. Additionally, consumers can choose eating patterns that best match their genetic profiles thanks to at-home blood and urine testing kits.
In order to optimize their diet, people can also track their diet and health problems using a variety of devices. As a result, customer convenience and sales increase as consumers have more control over their dietary preferences.
9. Vertical Farming
Vertical farming is not a new concept, but continued large-scale agriculture emphasizes the need for more efficient and space-saving ways to produce food. These farms often fall into one of two categories: aeroponics (exposed roots that are sprayed with nutrient-rich mists) or hydroponics, in which plants are cultivated in a basin of nutrient-rich water. Neither requires any soil, and unless sunshine is abundant, artificial lighting can also be used.
These farms have a number of definite advantages over more conventional farming methods. All-year farming is possible, physical land space is reduced, and agrochemicals are not used.
10. Blockchain in Agri-Food Supply
Blockchain has the ability to make every transaction in an agricultural supply chain visible, traceable, verifiable, and independent of third parties because it is a distributed and collaborative public ledger system.
Giant food industry companies like Unilever, Nestlé, and Walmart have already worked with IBM to integrate blockchain into their supply chains [*]. The objective of this joint venture was to enable food businesses to trace sources of contaminated produce in just seconds. Another similar application of this technology would be the ability to locate an exact farm source for a certain agricultural product, a process that would typically take more than a week using other processes.
New breakthroughs and trends in the food industry are always taking place with every passing year, and the field is continuously changing. Though some of these innovations might seem small, they can have a significant and long-lasting effect on the market.
By keeping abreast of these innovations in the food industry, food businesses can expand and grow into new markets and change the future of food production and consumption as we know it.
If your business is interested in innovating and improving your food preservation process, then consider contacting us at Empire Freezing & Drying. You can call us at 973-649-9800 or email email@example.com.