Tag: Supermarket


Organic Coke Arrives

Five years ago we presented a speculative product called Organic Coke to stir a discussion on the use of natural imagery to market products. Last year we reported on an internal presentation of the Coca-Cola company that analyzed the opportunities of Organic Coke. Guess what? This month the soda-giant launches healthier and eco-friendlier option to consumers. They call it: Cola Life.

Coca-Cola Life’ is said to be an all-natural, low-calorie soda packaged in a fully-recyclable plant-based bottle. The drink is made with a mixture of sugar and stevia-based substitute, and contains two times fewer calories than regular Coke. The all organic sugar drink is launched in Argentina, with total world domination soon to follow. The website is a schoolbook parody of biomimic marketing, except that it is not a parody.

Organic Coke: Camouflage color in the Grass.
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lab grown meat first cultured beef burger
Food Technology

Why Meat Grown in Labs is the Next Logical Step for Food Production

In his essay “Fifty Years Hence”, Winston Churchill speculated, “We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”

At an event in London this week, the first hamburger made entirely from meat grown through cell culture was cooked and consumed before a live audience. In June at the TED Global conference in Edinburgh, Andras Forgacs took a step even beyond Churchill’s hopes. He unveiled the world’s first leather made from cells grown in the lab.

These are historic events. Ones that will change the discussion about lab-grown meat from blue-skies science to a potential consumer product which may soon be found on supermarket shelves and retail stores. And while some may perceive this development as a drastic shake-up in the world of agriculture, it really is part of the trajectory that agricultural technology is already following.

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Knitted Meat
Meat the Future

Seven Future Visions on In-Vitro Meat

With today’s presentation of the first lab grown hamburger by Prof. Mark Post, in-vitro meat makes an important step towards our daily diet. Cultured meat could one day be a sustainable and animal friendly alternative to today’s meat production. Yet, despite this technological breakthrough, many people still find it is an unattractive idea to eat meat from the lab. Before we can decide if we will ever be willing to eat in-vitro, we need to explore the food culture it will bring us.

While most of the ongoing research focuses on duplicating current meat products (like hamburgers) and making the cultured beef affordable, sustainable and tasty, the envisioning of new meat products that fit this new technology is equally important. Just like industrial manufacturing brought us new furniture, in-vitro meat technology may lead to entirely new food products, beyond todays sausages, steaks and burgers.

Besides a Hamburger, What Else?

Although cultured meat is typically presented as a technology to solve problems like animal suffering, food scarcity and climate issues, the technology could also be framed positively: Eating in-vitro could bring us entirely new food experiences and eating habits that may enrich our lives.

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in vitro meat hamburger
Food Technology

World’s First In Vitro Hamburger Arrives

After leaving our stomachs growling for two whole years, Professor Mark Post has announced that the world’s first in vitro hamburger is finally here. The burger, grown from 3,000 rice-sized strips of lab-grown muscle tissue, will be cooked and consumed before a London audience this Monday. The 150 gram burger cost a whopping €300,000, making it far and away the most expensive hamburger ever produced. We don’t envy the chef in charge of grilling it.

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Food Technology

Food Familiarization #3: Mimicry

This is the second part in a series that examines the different ways new foods become naturalized parts of our diets. Part 1, Part 2

Food mimics try to look and taste like whatever they’re replacing. Veggie burgers, veggie sausages, even the dreaded vegan bacon, all exist to comfort the nostalgic vegetarian. These meat-mimics imply that a change in diet doesn’t mean a loss of deep-seated cultural rituals. You can still barbecue and eat a full English breakfast. Sort of. 

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friedrich de grosse
Food Technology

Food Familiarization #2: Celebrity Endorsement

This is the second part in a series that examines the different ways new foods become naturalized parts of our diets. For part one, click here

Potatoes are an evil, unchristian tuber, a food so disgusting that even dogs refuse to eat it. Or, if you’re European, that’s what you might still think, if not for the aristocracy’s work to popularize the potato in the 1700s. Though we associate the celebrity endorsement with vapid talk shows and magazine spreads, in reality it’s been around for centuries, and it’s played a far more serious role than we give it credit for.

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Food Familiarization #1: Semantic Tricks

This is the first in a series of case studies that examine the different ways new foods become naturalized parts of our diets. Why is this important? Promoting the consumption of insect, plant and in-vitro protein is an increasingly vital component of addressing global food and environmental concerns. Despite this, convincing consumers to abandon steaks and chicken nuggets remains a daunting task. 

When is a Patagonia toothfish not a Patagonian toothfish? When it’s a Chilean sea bass. In the first principle of food familiarization, semantic tricks are used to place strange food in a context where it feels familiar, alluring, or healthful. In the infamous example of Dissostichus eleginoides, an ugly fish with an ugly name was rebranded as the sexy-sounding Chilean sea bass.

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splashing milk
Food Technology

Why Isn’t Cream Cream-Colored?

While cream from the dairy aisle is pure white, most people would agree that cream the color is a pale shade of yellow. So why the discrepancy? It turns out that language preserves a form of dairy that has all but disappeared from our diets.

Though it’s over a decade old, Emily Green’s essay Is Milk Still Milk? is a fascinating history of how milk was transformed from a high-fat, high-protein and highly variable food into a homogenized industrial product. In regards to cream-the-color vs. cream-the-liquid, Green describes the results of a milk taste test performed with UC Davis students. While the students ranked raw milk from Jersey cows as better-tasting than supermarket milk from Holsteins, they also gave it the lowest scores for appearance. “It wasn’t white,” Green notes. “They had never seen cream-colored milk.”

Just as we’re surprised to learn the origin of the color cream, our children may be surprised to find out that the ‘ca-click’ of their smartphone’s camera is actually the sound of an analog shutter.

Read more over at the LA Times.

Scientists Engineer Cancer Fighting Purple Tomatoes

Purple GM Tomatoes Prevent Cancer

Normally, when we select for characteristics in fruits and vegetables, it’s to bring them closer to some modernist ideal: corn that’s sweeter, lettuce that’s crisper, cucumbers that are perfectly green and straight. However, a new strain of tomato out of the UK may soon topple the spherical red fruit from its iconic position. These purple GM tomatoes owe their unusual hue to a dark purple-blue pigment called anthocynanin. Not only does this antioxidant double the shelf life of tomatoes in the supermarkt, it also extends the lives of mice that are genetically predisposed to cancer. A tomato that cuts down on food waste and the incidence of cancer? Even if pasta and pizza will never look the same, maybe it’s time to pass the purple.

Via John Innes Centre. Photo via Natural Eater.
Thanks to Peter Klomp for the heads up!

3D printed food
Food Technology

3D Printed Food, Meet Willy Wonka

There has been talk of 3D printed food for a long time. We saw meals materialized out of thin air in Star Trek. A few years ago, a beautifully designed food printer was featured on this blog, if only in an artist’s impression, with the end product being a brownish drop of liquid. But when will this elusive printer finally be here, in real life? It turns out it already is.

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