Food Industry Tuning In To Nanotechnology

Topics Covered

Background

Key Facts

Health Care and Food

NanoteK Consortium

Background

The back of a cereal box is an unlikely place to read about the emerging field of nanotechnology. However, the German division of Kellogg’s recently dedicated the entire back panel of their Toppas brand of cereal to this rather esoteric topic.

Key Facts

The fact that this prime advertising real estate was being used to attract young people to nanotechnology is not as unusual as it may first appear. In fact, the box should serve as a wake-up call to the entire food industry about the growing importance of nanotechnology because, as the box states, nanotechnology is going to lead to the development of “intelligent materials” and “smart” products.

Heath Care and Food

It is also expected to revolutionize health care — and specifically how health care products will be delivered in the future.

According to Dr. Manuel Marquez, a senior scientist at Kraft Foods and the director of the NanoteK Consortium, “nanotechnology is going to have broad, sweeping applications that have the potential to significantly improve the quality and safety of food.” As two poignant examples, Marquez cited nanotechnology’s potential to revolutionize the plastics industry and how it can be employed to alter food products to more effectively and efficiently deliver nutrients, proteins and antioxidants to the body.

The field of nanotechnology is so broad that it will even have implications for how the food industry will display instore signage, clean its freezers and floors and track inventory.

NanoteK Consortium

These facts also help explain why Rutgers became the first university in the United States to hire a “professor of food nanotechnology,” and why Kraft Foods established NanoteK, a consortium of researchers from 15 universities and government labs, to explore how nanotechnology can be used to make improvements for the food industry. Interestingly, the consortium consists only of physicists, engineers and molecular chemists — and not food scientists — because the consortium specifically wants to approach the science from a perspective different from that of a food scientist.

According to Marquez, members of the consortium “believe nanotechnology will usher in potentially paradigm-shifting technologies.” He added that from the perspective of Kraft, the company wants to make sure they are not “blind-sided by nanotechnology and are able to maintain a leadership position in food science.”

Source: Advantage Magazine February 2004

 

For more information on this source please visit Food and Marketing Institute

 

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