‘Mega trends’ will define the future of the world because they have a far-reaching effect on businesses, economies, cultures and personal lives, according to the Technical University of Munich (TUM).
Speaking at Anuga FoodTec in Cologne, Germany, earlier this year, Dr Christoph Verheyen, TUM, said Mega Trends are connectivity, globalization, know-how culture, new work, health, individuality, urbanization, safety, mobility, silver society, gender shift and neo-ecology.
In his presentation ‘Innovations for bakery production: from scientific approaches to applications’, Verheyen said connectivity, ecology, health and individualization/personalization will affect the organization and production of bakeries in the future, because next to raw material innovations, the processes or production of healthy and high quality products, as well as their automation has ‘to be overthought’. At TUM, several approaches are being conducted, developed and planned to fulfil this transformation process for the bakery industry,” he said. Current projects include optimizing green-label technologies to enable high quality (gluten-free) products and new texturing devices are being applied, elucidating the fundamental mechanistic of material-process relations to define specific textures of the products. In this context, an innovative concept to personalize and improve the concept of bread production is 3D printing.” He said trends in bakery will incorporate sourcing bread locally with foreign fusions such as German sausage combined with ketchup from the US and curry from India. Consumers will take a keen interest in looking to the basics; ie reduced fat, reduced sugar, clean-label and convenience food.
“Functional and comfort food like chocolate will have to fulfil a number of requirements for consumers such as traditional, modern, natural, functional, regional, alternative protein sources, healthy, create new textures and target group oriented areas for personalized and free-from,” added Verheyen. Focusing on the four topics of healthy foods, digitalization, individuality and connectivity, the professor added medical and super foods will become the healthy alternatives in the bread and cereal market. One example he said is the EU-funded HealthBread project led by Jan Willem van der Kamp from TNO in the Netherlands who won BakeryandSnacks Personality of the Year’. The concept was to make bread that feels and tastes like white bread but is as healthy as wholemeal bread with special fibre-rich wheat flours and better absorption of key minerals like iron and zinc by the body. TNO worked in a consortium with the VTT research centre of Finland, Het Nederlands Bakkerij Centrum (Foundation Dutch Bakery Center), two ingredients suppliers and 13 SMEs, including eight bakeries that developed their own HealthBread loaves adjusted to local taste. The bread comprises components of wheat grain, water and salt and is 100% natural. After the project ended, six HealthBread bakeries started selling the bread and the concept will launch in Germany, Austria, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Turkey and the US. Verheyen said the focus was to improve the healthy character of bread, to purify the ingredients from cereals and add ingredients such as minerals into wholemeal and wheat bread. “ It was a big project working with all people from the supply chain. Another possibility is to use cereals in plant-based milk which has more advantages for consumers such as babies and older people ,” he said. “There is a lack of added-value in traditional milk and with other aspects which are important such as free-from, sustainability, lower carbon footprint, and bio-diversity, we can produce completely new flavors and textures, using soya, vegan and plant-based cereals. ”He pointed to three generations of diversified milk flavors; the first generation turning to soya beans and nuts; the second generation using almond, hazelnut, cashew, coconut, grains rice and oats and the third generation wanting pulses and seeds; peas, hemp and flaxseeds. The third generation of milk consumers will seek lactose-free, gluten-free products with no growth hormones, no antibiotics, all natural ingredients with less sugar and cholesterol. According to a report by Euromonitor International; ‘Plant-based Protein: Assessing Demand for Sustainable Alternatives’, March 2017, soya and ancient grains are no longer the main alternatives to meat and dairy, and innovation is already on the way to integrating high-protein pulses such as lupine and chickpeas, algal ingredients including spirulina, and insects into packaged food and beverages.
In other areas, Verheyen said medical food and medicine is brought together as a connection between enjoyment and health, a focus which Nestlé Health Science has invested a lot of money into to become the biggest player in this market, and said we may well see US medical breads in the future. Nestlé created Nestlé Health Science and the Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences in 2010 ‘to pioneer a new industry between food and pharma’. It claims these two organisations will develop personalized health science nutrition to prevent and treat health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Luis Cantarell, president and CEO designate, Nestlé Health Science, said at the time it was an exciting business opportunity that will have a positive long-term impact on peoples’ lives preventing, improving and treating acute and chronic medical conditions. Verheyen said, with 80% of the world population living in urban areas by 2050, accommodating an additional 3 billion people agriculture cultivation is required that will lead to ‘vertical urban farming’ in Smart Cities. The vertical urban farming concept means trying to cultivate herbs and salads in urban areas. We will have to deal with 3 billion extra people by 2050 so we have to fulfil the needs of consumers and make sure they have enough food,” he said. One example is Farm. One in New York City, creating an indoor farm in 2016, using technology to grow 500 crop varieties, including rare and special ingredients, in one place all year round. The farm has attracted the attention of many restaurants in NYC and now supplies ingredients such as fresh basil to Pizza Loves Emily, among others. It now wants to use its skills and expertise to open multiple farms across the US and globally within the next three years.