Read more here about Tetra Pak’s work to develop the food of the future How should we solve the food supply of the future in a sustainable way, with a population expected to reach ten billion in 2050? And what will the food of the future taste like? These were some of the topics at Nordic Future Food & FoodTech, which was recently arranged at Kistamässan. – Interest in what and how we should eat in the future has increased significantly. The fair has quickly become an obvious and very important meeting place for the entire food industry, says Micael Simonsson, responsible for the development of future foods at Tetra Pak, which was also the main partner for the fair. Around 4,000 people flocked in and were able to explore everything from newly developed flavors to novelties in packaging solutions among the over 120 exhibitors – and take part in seminars on topics such as meal trends and food safety. All wrapped in a scent of innovative cooking.
“Must taste good”
It’s not just about innovation for its own sake. Alternative proteins are necessary to manage the world’s food supply, and according to Micael Simonsson there is good reason to be optimistic because the development is fast. – But individual actors will not be able to solve the food issue on their own. Industry, decision makers and of course consumers must do it together. It is also important to develop flavors and texture. Food has to taste good, otherwise no one will buy it, he says. New plant-based drink: Hemp milk As an example of a new and pioneering product, Micael Simonsson mentions hemp seed milk, which could be tasted at the fair. – Hemp seeds have a high nutritional content and can be grown sustainably. Hemp sequesters 15 times more carbon dioxide than conventional crops when grown. And the protein content is high, one hundred grams of hemp seed actually contains more protein than one hundred grams of entrecote. Yelte milk has been developed by a Swedish start-up with support from Tetra Pak. The entrepreneurs have received support from Tetra Pak’s experts in food production and access to the machinery at Tetra Pak’s development center PDC in Lund, where the first milk packets were fed from the filling machine. – A good example of cooperation increasing our opportunities, Micael asserts.
Hybrid proteins and mushroom burgers
According to Simonsson, a single protein will not dominate the market, but a combination. He believes in so-called hybrid proteins, where different structures are mixed and combined with the raw material. Then the food can acquire properties and texture that make the food appealing and tasty. – Fats are also underestimated because they are often an important flavor carrier, regardless of where they come from. A method that will grow big is fermentation, believes Simonsson. An ancient method which, in combination with advanced techniques, can produce large quantities of alternative proteins in the future. Proteins can be made from, for example, fungi, yeast or microalgae. – These new products that are being developed now are very good! I myself could replace a piece of meat up to six days a week for, for example, a mushroom-based product because it is so pleasant both in terms of taste and texture.
Canned insects as dietary supplements
Micael Simonsson emphasizes that taste is a matter of habit. – When new products are launched, it can take some time for people to get used to them – but attitudes can change. The young generation is already used to more vegetarian and vegan options, and is therefore more positive. Does this also apply to insects? They are described as an environmentally sustainable alternative with a high protein content, and it has been allowed for about two years to sell certain insect species as food in Sweden – including mealworms, house crickets and European wandering grasshoppers. Micael himself thinks that insect protein can taste good, but believes that it will still mainly be used as a dietary supplement – for example for elderly people who need extra protein. – I am not sure that we will see mass sales of bread baked on cricket flour in the near future .When 3D-printed raw materials, which are grown from cells and can imitate, for example, meat, come up, Micael Simonsson shines. – I really believe in 3D-printed raw materials. I can imagine that within 15 years we will have 3D printers in our homes and print a piece of fish one day, and a piece of meat the next. Difficult for new players to compete Even if the development in alternative proteins is fast, there are challenges, Micael points out Simonsson.- We in Europe are quite restrictive and conservative when it comes to food. Therefore, it is difficult for new foods and players to compete. We would therefore need help from authorities and decision-makers to overcome those thresholds, he says and continues: – Other big and important challenges are how we use enough good raw materials, so that we get a more circular way of thinking. Is it possible to reuse raw materials in new processes and connect the different processes in a circular system? Here, Tetra Pak has an important role to play with the group’s extensive food knowledge, cutting edge skills and facilities on an industrial scale. – We collaborate a lot with universities and start-ups to develop tomorrow’s food. For example, we can help our partners develop recipes and find smarter process solutions. In addition, through our large contact network, we can connect different actors. Partnership is always very important. It is important to solve the food issue together, concludes Micael Simonsson. Read more here about Tetra Pak’s work to develop the food of the future Do you have a new business idea in food? Here you can test itTetra Pak has about ten different product development centers around the world where customers can develop new ideas and produce prototypes with the support of Tetra Pak’s experienced food technicians, engineers and other experts. Here you can find everything from process, packaging and powder handling machines to various types of test equipment. One of these centers is in Lund in Sweden. Read more here The article is produced by Brand Studio in collaboration with Tetra Pak and not an article by Dagens industri