FoodTech needs to add nutrients back into foods
The other day I bought a few packs of fresh blueberries from my local supermarket. And for the first time, I bit into one and saw the inside flesh being green. Perplexed, I thought “isn’t this supposed to be a deep purple inside?”
The answer is yes and no.
Blueberries might look the same on the outside, but can come in white, green, blue and purple variants depending on the cultivation.
The colour inside is reflective of the amount of anthocyanins in the fruit, which is the antioxidant that gives the fruit its purple colour.
So a green flesh means they’re simply not as nutritious as they ought to be, the factor that increases their price so many times more in the market.
Blueberries are just one of the hundreds of foods cultivated in which the level of antioxidants are easily noticeable.
Many factors determine a fruit or vegetable’s nutrient profile. When a species of fruit is cultivated intensely on a farm, the soil’s health is affected, which produces lower nutrition profile fruits.
Overcultivation and unsustainable agricultural practises in order to produce a larger quantities has depleted soil health. However, soil is just one of the major factors, but others play a role too.
The lower nutrition levels of fruits and vegetables is a major hurdle to health. While one third of the food produced in the world goes to waste, more than 3 billion people are undernourished.
On the other hand, many of the food we consume, buy from supermarkets or order from restaurants, and the ones that are cheaply available, are often high in carbs and sugar, low in nutrition, and responsible for weight gain.
So essentially, people are moving from one superfood trend to another, but the everyday food available is lower in nutrition. We wouldn’t need superfoods or multivitamin pills if the whole fruits and veggies were nutritious enough.
Nutrition is one of the major pillars of food security, which is becoming a bigger challenge for the world everyday.
It is upon entrepreneurs today to solve this challenge, as well as make it profitable. While some of the governments are supporting the case of food security, such as the UAE with the world’s largest food technology challenge, private sector has the agility and ability to capitalise on this market.
We need to move beyond expensive superfoods to make nutrition available to every living being across the planet. Health through nutritious food should not be accessible only to those with larger purchase power.