Innovative Food Research: Products Reflect Changing Diets
The International Agricultural Show is an annual happening that has been held in Paris every year since 1870. Over the course of the last half-century particularly, backers of the event have developed an impeccable reputation for showcasing French regional products, large-scale farming, genetics and green tourism. The flagship event now attracts 1,300 exhibitors from 22 countries and features more than 4,000 animals, not to mention the public-at-large who now swamp the show in large numbers.
The Natonal Agricultural Science Research Institute
The National Agricultural Science Research Institute (INRA) is focused on the diet of tomorrow's citizens of the world. In their laboratories, scientists are divided loosely into two camps; those who are developing tools for the creation of new sensory characteristics in food and those who are attempting to produce fruit and vegetable varieties that are resistant to disease and possess exceptional culinary and taste properties.
These scientists believe that sustainable lifestyles are certain to merge with products that reflect current environmental challenges and that future meals will be more wholesome, nutritious, and more suited for all people at all stages of life. At the show, reserachers presented several types of innovations in numerous food categories including: pasta, fruits and vegetables, energy drinks and desserts.
PASTALEG utilizes 35% legume flour, which is made from beans, peas and lentils. These components render a final product that is higher in protein and more balanced in the distribution of essential amino acids. The pasta is transformed into a low-fat dish infused with fiber, vitamin B1, magnesium and phosphorus. For the first time in history, for those suffering from diabetes and hgh cholesterol, this type of pasta can potentially provide an alternative source of protein.
What are the benefits of PASTALEG?
Researchers from INRA, INSERM (French Institute for Medical Research) and Montpelier SupAgro have developed this product by adapting certain manufacturing parameters, which offer the advantages of both durum wheat and legumes. By adjusting the process, manufacturers can modify the nutritional properties of their products while at the same time ensuring their consistency.
PASTALEG represents a product that complies with the aspects of a "Mediterranean-stye diet", which appears to play and important role in population longevity and the prevention of different diseases. These beneficial, health-related effects are attributed to the consumption of diverse categories of foods. PASTALEG's combination of durum wheat and legumes coupled with different manufacturing modifications alter the structure of the blended food along with imporving the nutritional qualities of this amalgam. The structural variations achieved by creating the compound of "cereal-legume dough" are known as the matrix effect.
Fruits and vegetables
INRA also conducted research on different varieties of tomatoes and apples. The Garance tomato is known genetically as an F1 hybrid. This means it an ideal fruit for organic farming. It is both tender and crunchy and rich in lycopene. Fragrant and brightly colored, it is resistant to eight diseases. The Terradou tomato is also loaded with lycopene and vitamin C as well. It is resistant to four different diseases and has a very low water content, which renders a much better yield in terms of vitamin preservation and nutritional quality when the tomatoes are industrially processed.
A cooperative in the soutwestern area of France produces the MIE'Nutie baguette, which is comprised of different types of 100% durum wheat flour utilizing a new and recently patented process that prodices flour from durum wheat kernels. Developed by INRA and adapted for industrial use by Les Moulins Pyreneéns, this yellow wheat ha a longer preservation period. Tihs baguette is much healthier than others of its ilk because it has no additives.
The GENIAL biscuit is a low-fat, lw sugar biscuit enriched with protein and fiber. Creating this biscuit was a true technological challenge, as it required the evaluation of the sensory characteristics of the dough's texture.
The MATAHI Cocktail is made form the African fruit, baobab, which has an incredibly rich nutritional profile but whose pulp is very dry and fibrous. It is an all-natural energy drink without colorant or preservatives that contain six times as much vitamin C as oranges and twice the calcium content of milk. The fruit is also an excellent source of B-vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and antioxidants. Baobab has become an economic boon for the fruit growers in Africa, providing a number of social programs to benefit African women from the country of Benin particularly.
INRA research has made it possible to create high quality wines that are low in alcohol content and made from grapes that are low in sugar. The research also includes creating yeasts with less ethanol.
The future of food involves environmental and scientific challenges that will require flexible mindsets that can accept newer production mehtods, better use of available resources and adaptation to dynamic consu,er patterms. The edible goods of the future may not be worthy of wonderm, but they will be novel. Active ingredients will be more stabilized because they will be engineered in a different manner.
Design manufacturing and production protocols will ehlp to foster a sustainable and environmentally sound agro-food industry. Changes involve a radical departure from that which has worked and sustained us in the past. In this context, we really must become a brave new world in order to feed the future inhabitants of the earth.
M Dee Dubroff