At the end of last month, the Flavour Feed team were guests at an evening event at London’s Science Museum. For a few hours, the exhibition space was taken over by the latest techie developments and interactive explorations of the science behind food and drink. It offered a fascinating glimpse into the future for our industry and an indication of the advances that may have a profound impact in years to come.
As is customary at museum ‘lates’, the proceedings could be enjoyed with a drink, and an array of intergalactic-themed bars and cafés fed and watered the assembled throng. Perhaps less conventionally, though, the museum also offered visitors a chance to brew their own beer, and explored the ways in which climate change will affect our favourite beverages. Experts offered to test our genomes to discover whether we were one of the rare few ‘supertasters’ and demonstrated how to extract DNA from a strawberry.
At the Taste Sensations stall, we discovered how each of our senses can change the way we perceive food – from ‘miracle’ berries that make sour foods taste sweet to sounds that make crisps crunchier. Flavour Feed contributor and Gastrophysics author Professor Charles Spence, meanwhile, shared his research on the multi-sensory influences affecting the taste of chocolate. Science tricks such as these could prove to have real potential when it comes to product development. As noted in our 2018 Trend Report, millennials are hungry for novel ways to experience their food, so products that appeal to more than one sense are set to scale new heights.
Throughout the fun and games, the talks and the demos, it was clear that sustainability was the event’s underlying – and urgent – focus. Rhosanna Jenkins of the University of East Anglia spoke of the precarious future of our favourite breakfast beverages in a changing climate, for example. Tea and coffee may be perceived as essential fare, but they’re under serious threat from global warming.
A ray of hope was offered by one interesting sustainability-led concept, though: Dryver is a mobile drinking fountain that produces water from the air. Developed by Ronnenberg, it’s the ultimate local solution for freely available drinking water, reflecting the absurdity of syphoning H2O into plastic bottles and driving them across the world to quench our thirst. Using condensation in the environment to produce clean water, the robot offers a potentially game-changing proposal and could prove a real game-changer in the developing world. We’re looking forward to seeing some of these sci-fi advances make it firmly into the mainstream.
Images courtesy of Emma Veares
Content: courtesy of Flavour Feed