Future food structuring technologies at micro- and nanoscale

K. Velikov
Unilever,
Netherlands

Keywords: food materials, food products

Summary:

Food industry is driven by a strong demand for high quality products with no health concern that contain sustainably sourced natural ingredients. This creates several challenges related to our ability to build consumer perceived differentiating textures with current ingredients. The introduction of new ingredients is strongly limited by safety, consumer perception, and regulatory. To address these challenges, we generally need a better control of consumer relevant product functionality (i.e. appearance, taste, texture, stability, composition, digestion) by applying better control over existing structures and ingredient interactions. This could be achieved by alternative and novel uses of existing materials and their interactions. Another approach is to further unlock the potential of underutilized natural materials (e.g. cellulose microfibrils, insoluble plant proteins). These approaches can be used to build new architectures (e.g. composite materials, hierarchical or hybrid structures). Novel uses of ingredients (e.g. emulsion stabilization by non-surface active molecules) or exploring unwanted interactions to create useful structures are other potential approaches. Nano-scale control of interactions and structures can be used for more effective use of materials. Finally, control of structure break down based on known digestion and physiological effect on new structures is necessary to assure full utilization of nutrients and micronutrients. In this talk, several examples of such approaches from program 5B Molecular Structure of Food in NanoNextNL will be discussed.