Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The revolution of food tech



In 2050, the Earth should have 10 billion, 2.5 billion more than today. According to the United Nations, if we stay at equal mode of consumption, global food production must increase by 60% in the next thirty years to meet this high demand.

 Such a trajectory would have a devastating effect on the environment. The  Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) are already the second largest polluter with 24% of greenhouse gases, which comes behind the energy sector.

The explosion of the global population and climate change are pushing towards the development of new eating habits. Driven by the ecosystem of Silicon Valley, Americans are already experimenting plant burger, insects  as food and the 3D printed food.

Revolutionizing the way we feed ourselves for the welfare of all ... This utopia now seems within reach, thanks to new technologies that are reshaping all borders, including feeding habits.

The most exited people about these new food technologies are followers of innovative technologies, engineers or scientists, and foremost citizens motivated by a vital challenge:

but how to promote healthier food for people, sustainable for the planet, and sufficient for all ?

THE VEGETABLE BURGER

It looks like beef, it tastes like beef, like beef it bleeds ... but it's not beef. A pioneer in the meat substitute of invention, not Food was born in 2011 by the will of Patrick Brown, a renowned geneticist, professor of biochemistry at Stanford University and member of the American Academy of Sciences.

Vegetarian for forty years, he gave himself a mission: "We want a product burger that fans of burgers consider the best burger they ever ate" , he explains. The California company therefore target meat lovers . With a goal to make the change of food while satisfying their taste buds.Therefore, the challenge was to find the unique alchemy to restore the texture of beef: connective tissue, muscle, fat, only with the plant.

Wheat protein, potato and coconut oil are on the menu. But above all, not Food was the first to mix a substance called leghaemoglobin, a protein that has a very similar structure of red hemoglobin and provides rare appearance of Burger .

Since 2016, the aficionados of this vegetable steak can sit at table in trendy restaurants and even starred in San Francisco, Las Vegas and New York. The company, which raised $ 182 million since its inception in 2015 and refused a 300 million takeover offer from Google , continues its crazy bet. The problem of development is not demand, but to be able to respond. Hence the opening in March of a new plant in Oakland, with the goal of producing 4 million burgers per month by one year and to support and market its product in Bareburger chain .

INSECTS TO EAT IN PROTEIN BAR

Listening to a lecture by MIT Greg and Gabi Lewis Sewitz, an immediate passion for crickets, scorpions, beetle larvae, termites and other mealworms will overcome you . Inspired by this presentation describing the need to change the paradigm, both students at Brown University (Rhode Island), tired of not finding a protein bar that is healthy and delicious,

In January 2013 they ordered  2000 live crickets via the Internet. After being stored in the refrigerator, they converted it to powder and the protein bar of their dreams is born! Tested immediately on campus, and met a great success.



After that they tried to do some commercialization for their product in surrounding stores. after Graduation in May 2013, they left to New York, determined to give a promising alternative to conventional meat production. Their company Exo Raised $4M In First Ever Series A For An Insect Protein Startup in USA .

Compared to meat, producing insects is much more efficient and thus more environmentally friendly. It mobilizes less space, less water, can be performed on organic waste.

1 kg of locusts ready for use requires half of food intake than the equivalent in chicken, four times less than the pork and twelve times less than beef. In terms of nutritional intake, there is much protein and vitamins in the meal worms than in fish or meat, and as many as omega 3 in fish. And since they don`t need antibiotics or hormones, insects may ultimately prove healthier for the human body.


THREE MEALS-IN-ONE IN FIVE MINUTES

In 2013, Rob Rhinehart, active young 25, Electrical Engineer , who lived San Francisco, He was working hard to set up a startup about wireless networks . Entangled in his research, short of funds, it irritates him that he couldn't have time and money to lose in order to ... eat.

He decided a radical solution: he will find a way to ingest all the necessary nutrients for health, for a minimum cost and time.

He promised to make things simple saying :-
 "The body does not need food for itself, but mainly elements it contains. "
He then launched an experience that will be the guinea pig: by analysing all the essential components in food e.g. fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals ... - and fed exclusively on them for thirty days.

 He transformed his laboratory to a kitchen, aggregated all the necessary ingredients, plus a few more to be beneficial. at the end the made a thick and beige liquid that has the taste and consistency of pancake batter but mixed with water.

He called it "Soylent" ,  the word is a combination of words soybeans and lentils.

Rob Rhinehart admitted :

"At that time, I did not know if it was going to kill me or give me superpowers. "


The result was a revelation:

 "It's like finding a new partner you really want. When all your needs are met, you do not have the desire to go elsewhere, "
enthuses Rob on his blog. Man medically verified the effects of Soylent on his body. Blood tests, cardiac test, glucose monitoring and even sequencing of its genome to be sure to validate the findings on a representative basis, so no particular anomaly.

According to Rob his fitness has improved, his teeth are whiter, his hair become thicker and his dandruff disappeared. and now his heart beats slower, his eczema, present since birth, vanished on the ninth day.
" I used to run less than a mile to the gym, now I have energy to spare. " said Rob
 He also believes his mental performance improved. Benefits that are a pure bonus. For the initial objective is reached. No need to shop, prepare meals, tidy the kitchen. Just five minutes Rob to concoct his three portions of the day.

 So much so that the inventor decided to stake everything on Soylent. There is no difficulty for investors and, a few months later, the first bottles are sold in all US. As of 2014, according to Bloomberg, 30,000 portions were shipped per month (procurement costs 65 dollars for a week, or $ 2.75 per share), including Canada. In 2016, the start-up announced a sales increase of 300%, the arrival on the European market and, according to the Financial Times , it is valued more than 100 million.

A 3D PRINTER IN THE KITCHEN

How to diversify the diet of astronauts by providing them with good nutritional quality, taking into account their specific needs and maintaining a fun dimension, all on a maximum of five years corresponding to distant space missions? This impossible equation, Anjan Contractor think I can solve it. A mechanical engineer, he convinced NASA in 2013 to entrust this project.

His company, Systems and Materials Research, receives a subsidy of 125,000 dollars to develop a solution. For Anjan Contractor has a conviction: the 3D printer, used previously for industrial purposes, may find application in the field of food. Nutritional ingredients in powder form are inserted into cartridges, such as those used for ink, and a controlled system is used to start printing, layer by layer, on a heater which cooks all.

 For his first test, the engineer chooses a favorite American dishes, which also has the merit of being simple to manufacture: the pizza. A first layer of paste thus edited and cooked simultaneously, and then is superimposed a layer of tomatoes mixed with water and oil and finally a protein layer which may come from various animal or vegetable sources.

Once the prototype built, NASA ended the experiment in 2015, and Anjan Contractor decides to continue the adventure by founding BeeHex Inc., dedicated to the manufacture of 3D printers. One of them exhibit coming one day in every kitchen, he imagines, allowing each feed individually while reducing drastically the environmental impact of food. For food powders used ingredients will have a lifespan much longer than fresh food, and so will eliminate food waste.

AN APP TO GET FOOD TO THE SCANNER

The CV of Isabel Hoffmann long as your arm. The lady already has a long career behind her and entrepreneur accumulates distinctions. In twenty-six, she founded eight companies in technological fields. Beginning in 2001, it focuses on predictive medicine and digital health. And that's as president and founder of TellSpec, founded in February 2013 in Toronto, she knows its heyday today.

TellSpec is the name of a small box that can analyze precisely all the components of food. By placing it on any meat, the scanner starts a molecular analysis. Data is sent via Bluetooth to the mobile phone. From there, a dedicated application transmits them to a huge database of all possible ingredients and their influences on health, positive or negative. Four seconds later, the application retrieves the results and reveals a diagram showing the number of calories, carbohydrate rate, protein, fat, fiber, sugars in foods. It also indicates the glycemic load. Even the presence of certain allergens such as gluten. Soon, soybeans, milk, peanuts are also detectable ... And why not tomorrow pesticides, GMOs ... even if it is not yet the order of the day. The possibilities seem endless TellSpec. And, already, by paying $ 499 more than the price of a monthly subscription, consumers can now track these indicators aggregated per meal, per day, per week. Warning, there are six-month wait before delivery!

"This is the experience of my daughter, who gave me the idea of TellSpec" says Isabel Hoffmann. In 2011, a child of thirteen falls very ill. It will take eight months for that to be detected in the young girl, powerful food allergies and a breeding ground for diabetes. With his partner, co-founded the mathematician Stephen Watson, Isabel Hoffmann, leaving technology spectrometers deployed by Texas Instruments, while developing an algorithm that detects chemical compositions. What to eat everywhere safely. The founder already anticipating the next step: personalized medicine. TellSpec therefore plans to expand its spectrum of blood and urine tests."We can then build from genomes and microbiomes and correlate food with diagnostics and therapy of each person" , she prophesies.

Well beyond the production of the small box, and TellSpec working on the creation of a huge database of all the ingredients that can be ingested and clearly displays its mission: "Helping to create a revolution of healthy food by ensuring food security for all. " The aim is therefore also to work pedagogy, familiarize consumers with food components, including more unknown such as calcium erythorbate, the anoxomère or ascorbyl stearate. And they reveal the implications on health, to encourage them to focus on the beneficial ingredients.

AGRICULTURE FERTILIZED WITH BIG DATA

In the United States, where farms  are on average  177 hectares (55 in France), farmers quickly seized the interest of big data. Joe Nichols started his Kentucky farm in 1995 with one goal: 'Build a project that could one day be considered one of the best managed farms. '

Today he runs the Seven Springs Farms, which brings together 136 independent farmers. Producers of corn, wheat and soy, Joe Nichols and his partners, through a multitude of connected objects, have moved into the era of predictive farming: lower costs and higher yields go hand in hand with more sustainable farming of the earth. Sensors located in the fields thus analyze the intrinsic soil moisture to determine the most appropriate plantations. Watering is limited to areas in need. Same with fertilizers and pesticides. Drones scan the fields to determine the rate of planting and spreading. Best of all, John Deere's fully-connected connected tractors - designed in collaboration with NASA - let you schedule them according to the weather.


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