Tag: Supermarket

Patagonian-toothfish
Fake-for-Real

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
Designed-by-Evolution

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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Color labeling candy bars for health
Biomimicmarketing

Green Colors Make Food Seem Healthier

Green: It’s the color of spring leaves, little frogs and, apparently, health. According to a new study, consumers overwhelmingly rated candy bars with green nutrition labels as healthier than those with red labels, even when all the data remained the same. While green is perceived as a “green light” to go ahead and eat a sugary snack, the color green is also heavily pushed in biomimicmarketing to imply a product is wholesome and natural – and therefore better for you.

Via the Washington Post.

image from Shutterstock
Food Technology

Paint by Numbers, then Eat It

“The Book Club”, a London-based venue, is teaming up with the company “Animal Vegetable Mineral” to create a workshop in which participants are able to create an “expression using all the senses” and then eat it. Along with chocolate model making and “sugar graffiti”, the workshop will include “edible painting-by-numbers”.

The team has created edible paint, inks and sugar-based sprays to daub onto specially designed images of “things like sandwiches and dogs”. This event presents new forms of expression and interaction with the process of preparing and eating food, and points out future directions for food culture. One day we might be seeing an eat-by-numbers based upon in-vitro meat paint. Imagine painting a charming cow out of beef paint and then chowing down on your masterpiece!

Facebook event page here.

soylent
Food Technology

“Soylent” Liquid Meals Will Save the World

Rob Rhinehart has found a way to stop eating. Tired of spending time, money and energy on preparing meals, this young American decided to find a new way to survive without actual food. He created a unique mixture called “Soylent”, which contains nothing but the elements the body needs: iron, vitamins, fat, calcium and dozens of other nutrients. This is minimalism in eating: Nothing in this beige milkshake-like beverage can be identified as coming from any recognizable food.

Rhinehart followed a strict Soylent diet for several weeks and was amazed by the results of the experiment. He felt and looked healthier, and saved money and time. You can read the whole story on his website, and even find the recipe to make your own Soylent shake.

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shutterstock_67658812
Food Technology

Q&A with CEO of In Vitro Meat Company “Modern Meadow”

Andras Forgacs, the CEO of in vitro meat (IVM) manufacturers Modern Meadow set up a Reddit AMA (“ask me anything”) a week ago to discuss the merits of his product. Below are a few extracts from the question-and-answer session:

Q. How confident are you that you can get it identical to a real steak within, say, 10 years?

A.Real steak is a big stretch. It won’t be the first product since steak is very hard to make for now. Instead, the first wave of meat products to be made with this approach will likely be minced meats (burgers, sausages, etc.) and pates (goose liver pate, etc.). Also seafood is an early possibility since the texture requires may be easier to achieve than premium cuts.

While I doubt anyone will make commercial quantities of premium steak within 10 years, we will eventually get there but it will be an Nth generation product.

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P1180908
Food Technology

Meat & Greet Workshop Report

Last week a fine selection of in-vitro meat connoisseurs gathered during a ‘Meat & Greet’ workshop at Eindhoven University of Technology. We exchanged perspectives, shared knowledge and explored speculative design opportunities of In-Vitro Meat with a philosopher, biologist, design students, and a documentary director. Below are some snapshots.

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chips
Food Technology

How Food Scientists Engineer the “Bliss Point” in Junk Food

Over at the New York Times, a recent article exposes the clever and surprisingly immoral ways the food industry manufactures foods to rival hard drugs for their addictive potential. Well worth the read, the article discusses “designer sodium”, the genesis of the ideal kid’s lunch, and the search for the morphine-like “bliss point” in soda. One scientist’s description of Cheetos, in particular, highlighted the extraordinary detail that goes into what we see as a normal, familiar food:

“This,” Witherly said, “is one of the most marvelously constructed foods on the planet, in terms of pure pleasure.” He ticked off a dozen attributes of the Cheetos that make the brain say more. But the one he focused on most was the puff’s uncanny ability to melt in the mouth. “It’s called vanishing caloric density,” Witherly said. “If something melts down quickly, your brain thinks that there’s no calories in it . . . you can just keep eating it forever.” Read more