Most major food corporations are currently investing in nano-technology in foods. In Europe, governments have pumped £1.7 billion in research money into the field over the past eight years. Nano-food and nano-food packaging will be big business, worth some $20 billion annually.
Food company Kraft are currently developing 'programmable food'. They are working on is a colourless, flavourless drink that the consumer will customise after purchase, deciding what the colour and flavour will to be, and what nutrients it will contain.
To activate this process the product is targeted with a microwave transmitter that will activate nano-capsules - each one about 2,000 times smaller than the width of a hair - containing the necessary chemicals for the choice of drink: red-hued, strawberry-flavoured with a touch of vitamin C for example. They will dissolve while all the other possible ingredients will pass unused through your body, in their nano-capsules.
Nano-packaging with 'self-cleaning' abilities will be widely available soon as the technology isn't very different from that in the 'anti-bacterial' food containers on sale now.
Precisely- engineered nano-scale filters allow you to remove all bacteria from milk or water without boiling. Or take the red colouring out of red wine.
Nano-encapsulation technology can dissolve oil in water, and the other way round. It does this by encasing the water or oil molecules individually in capsules that the liquid will accept. This has enormous implications for altering the fats and salt content of our foods.
Nano-encapsulation can deliver nutrients through the mucal walls in your mouth, or your nose or via your lower gut.
• An American company has developed chocolate-flavoured chewing gum with real chocolate in it.
'Smart' food packaging that will warn when oxygen has got inside, or if food is going off.
• Samsung has fridges on the market in Asia and America that use nano-silver to kill bacteria.
Nano-filters - screens so small they can filter out micro-organisms and even viruses are used in the brewing and diary industry.
• Lactose can now be filtered from milk, and replaced with another sugar - making all milk suitable for the lactose-intolerant.
• American supermarkets stock cooking oil that can be kept fresh and soluble forever - thanks to nano-ceramic particles that enable clustering of dirt molecules.
• Nano-engineered molecules, which lock onto contaminants, will simplify the process of cleaning drinking water - potentially hugely important for the developing world.
• Vitamin C-enriched cooking oil and omega-3 fish oil-carrying juices are already available.
• In Australia, you can buy a bread that contains undetectable nano-capsules of omega-3.
• Teeth cleaning chewing gum
• Self-cleaning cutlery
• Programmable drinks
• Nano-coatings will make the life span of manufactured food even longer.
Packaging that absorbs oxygen, making food last longer, is on its way.
• Reductions in fats and salts in processed foods. Unilever believes it can reduce the fat content of ice cream from 15 per cent to one per cent.
• Self-cleansing cutlery could be made possible by the engineering, at atomic level, of hydrophobic surfaces that allow substances to break down and drop off . This is already in use with industrial glass.
• Nano-filters will allow you to choose the amount of caffeine you want to remove from your coffee. Making tap water sterile should be possible too.
• Nano-scale sensors are in development that will monitor toxins and bacteria at all stages of food processing.
• Nano-encapsulation could let chefs choose, exactly, how strong a taste or smell should be and when it should be delivered, and design a food's mouth-feel.
|Nanoid > Nano Foods|