Novel food technologies to help feed the growing population
In 2050, the world population may be as high as 9.8 billion, requiring improved production efficiency to cope with the resulting increase in food demand. Climate change and the food supply crisis pose obstacles to the availability of this quantity of food and threaten the livelihood of the world's population. In this scenario, novel food technologies will play an important role in addressing the increasing need and demand for sustainable, safe, and secure food, and thus in safeguarding the well-being of the planet. Consumer acceptance may be the first barrier, as novel food (e.g., plant-based or synthetic meat, insect proteins, or microalgal biomass) is perceived as a premature change in people’s eating habits and far from the current dietary regimen. The regulatory framework can help to overcome cultural barriers related to consumer acceptance of novel food by enhancing social trust and confidence in such food.
Newly available technologies will advance and accelerate the technical study of novel foods, monitoring the production process to improve efficiency and provide adequate nutritional values with a lower consumption of natural resources. Currently, companies and start-ups trying to enter this market encounter major difficulties due to the lack of harmonization and clarity in the authorization process for commercializing these products for human consumption. The main immediate challenges are how to accelerate the authorization process for selling novel foods for human consumption and reduce the bureaucratic costs to make these foods more competitive and increase their market share. We aim to ease and shorten the procedures for placing new ingredients and recipes on the market, improve the sustainability of food supply chains, and secure adequate access to food for the next generations.
This research area explores the barriers to the adoption of novel technologies as well as the identification of the factors that enable the creation of sustainable food for the future. Novel food technologies will represent an alternative solution to the current unsustainable food system to provide safer nutritional food to feed the growing population.