Technologically and Genetically Enhanced Foods As time goes on, we are seeing more and more demand from customers and what they want tosee in the foodservice and grocery store industry. Over the years, needs have changed as far as health,cook-time, convenience, and even more significant nowadays, technological. In this assignment, we willdiscuss more of the needs of the consumer, and what companies are doing to meet their demands. One of the biggest ongoing trends: health. People are getting more and more concerned aboutwhat they put in their bodies. Everyone is looking for a way to eat what they want without the guilt orunhealthy added fats and sugars. There is more of a demand for natural and organic ingredients, as wellas added nutrients and other health benefits that they believe should come with buying a product. As aresult of those demands, nowadays, we are seeing more nutrient-enhanced and fortified foods thanever before. Almost every food on the shelf is a nutraceutical, which is a food containing health-givingadditives. Many of the foods we eat nowadays are fortified with Calcium, Vitamins, and Fiber. Manyfoods are starting to use whole grains instead of their previous processed grains. Also, with 53% ofgroceries being bought by the Baby Boomer generation, we are starting to see foods tailored for elderlyneeds, such as heart and muscle healthy foods, as well as foods for a healthy lifestyle at the later stagesin life. We are also seeing the throwback drinks, which use natural sugar instead of its cheaper cousin,high-fructose corn syrup. Also popular with consumers is farm to table. People are becoming morecurious about where their food is coming from, and would like to have it without dangerous chemicals,pesticides, and any unknown toxins that may have come from the workers or shipment process. Not only are ingredients changing, but the names of the same foods are now different to seemmore appealing to skeptical consumers. High-fructose corn syrup is now being called corn sugar in anattempt to rid it of its unhealthy stigma. A lot of natural foods are now being called “Pure” instead.Technically, any company may call their food natural because there are no laws to back up the title,unlike the laws that you must follow to have an “Organic” label. Also, fast food industries are changingtheir titles to “Quick-Service” instead. Interesting new product: UniStraws. UniStraws contain UniBeads, which are dry probioticswithin the straw that are consumed when liquid is sipped through the straw. This transforms andbeverage into a “healthy” probiotic drink. It is used once, and then recycled. Another change that we are seeing deals with technology, and the convenience that customersare expecting to see when it comes to checking labels, comparing health benefits and prices, andeventually, purchasing their food. It’s almost rare to not have a self-checkout at grocery stores now, andnow technological advances are going to our phones as well. Apps have been developed so that you cancheck the nutrition values and a detailed list of what is in the item you want to buy, along with reviewsby other customers and comparisons to other products that they may have preferred compared to thatone. "Users have submitted more than 250,000 products and updates to the Fooducate database, whichis the most comprehensive and current nutrition data source in the U.S. today, " according toFooducate. Even more advanced than that, there is talk of possibly putting RFID (radio frequency
identification) chips into food. “It will monitor your calorie intake, show from where your food wassourced, and even let you know when the food in your fridge is about to go bad.” ~ NaturalNews. Future innovations: Psychologists say that a lot of food purchasing decisions come from sensoryperceptions, mostly sight. One of the new senses that is being explored: hearing. Now, food scientistsand psychologists are collaborating to “design, create and influence the sounds of our foods to conveyfreshness, taste and even health attributes.” In our first case study “The Future of Food: Five Frontiers” the article goes on to talk abouteverything from nanotechnology in food to lab-grown meat. Genetically enhanced crops have beenaround since the 90’s but these genetically modified commercial crops have only been tweaked totolerate herbicides and to be resistant to plant diseases caused by viruses. Most genetically modifiedcrops are used for animal feed or processed ingredients like corn and soybeans. Usually crops and otherfoods aren’t manipulated to be more nutritious for human consumers but that is soon to change. A very new project that is talked about in this article is on emerging Nanotechnologies withinthe food industry. This is very controversial issue within just about any industry that provides a foodservice because it is still unknown if these nanoparticles could pose a danger to human health. Evenwithout adequate safety testing there are already a few products on the market within the UnitedStates. Canola Active Oil has begun to use Nano-particles to inhibit “the transformation of cholesterolfrom the digestive system into the bloodstream.” There are a few products that are going for anenhanced flavor without adding calories or sugars just Nano-particles. This could end up being a majoradvancement in food technologies if it can be safe as well as beneficial. When people think of where there food all derives from in the beginning they usually think offarms with wide sprawling fields. One thing we found interesting within this article is the idea of“Lettuce Skyscrapers” or vertical farms. The idea of the vertical farms is defined as a building with atleast two stories with crops growing inside. This idea is very new and popular within highly populatedareas because of the convenience of not taking up any more land space than an office building. The bestthing about the vertical farms is the control the farmer has on his produce. When cultivating foodindoors you do not have all the variables of when growing outside such as drought, pests, diseases, orfloods. Farmers are in control every aspect of the plant and are able grow their produce to its fullpotential. Another topic discussed within this article which is far from growing our food most efficientlybut ways of actually growing other types of food like meat. This part of the article talks about how, MarkPost, a stem cell scientist is actually growing cow muscle tissue. This is very interesting in many waysbecause it is controversial in a number of different areas and groups of people. Although this kind oftechnology is nowhere near being in the back of a McDonald’s, it would be interesting to see where thistechnology is in the next 20 years. Each of these new advances in food technology are fairly new and not seen much of within thehospitality industry yet but they are still are making influences on the market. Many businesses withinthe hospitality industry are and will be affected by some or if not all of these technologically enhanced
foods. Businesses within the hospitality industry that serve food will eventually have to choose a side inthe matter of genetically enhanced foods. Many businesses have gone with the organic trend as of latelybut what happens when the newest trend is the genetically modified food because it is more nutritiousand better for you. There will always be consumers on one side or the other of the situation so it will bemuch like today when you decide where to go out to eat or where you want to bring your business. Thiswill affect the hospitality industry by what sort of market segment do you want to attract to yourbusiness. In retrospect this will also affect businesses that are providing food such as a company likeCargill or Sysco foods. These companies will be impacted by what businesses are deciding to buy andwhether or not they are buying from them at all anymore. In our second case study “Uneasy Allies in the Grocery Aisle” it talks about the Proposition 37ballot in California. If you do not know what this ballot is, it is fighting for requiring the labeling ofgenetically modified foods. Many big corporations which are behind some of the most popular organic brands have joinedthe anti-labeling effort and dumping millions into fighting it. These big corporations are spending thismoney because many of their consumers aren’t aware that their favorite organic brands are in factowned by big multinationals. This upsets people to find out that their money spent on products is nowgoing against a cause that they firmly believe in. Proposition 37 is important to consumers becausethese days more and more are becoming aware of the role their food plays in their health and well-being. If Proposition 37 is passed it will greatly affect businesses that provide organic food that containgenetically modified organisms. Many big businesses that own smaller organic branches will be affectedthe most because they have the highest percentages of G.M.O’s in the organic industry. One industrythat will come out on top if Proposition 37 goes through will be businesses such as farmers markets andma and pa organic grocery stores. This is because most of the consumers of these organic produce arefirm in their beliefs and want it to be all natural and not have the added G.M.O’s. When it comes to thehospitality industry this new law would be beneficial because most if not all organic restaurants do notserve food that has come from a big business where G.M.O’s have been added. These G.M.O’s areusually found in products that are prepackaged and come from big businesses. Many organicrestaurants within the California area would probably see an increase in sales because they would beable to deliver real organic food instead of food from a big corporation which is filled with geneticallymodified organisms. Where someone’s food derives from has always been important to the consumer, and nowmore than ever people are concerned what exactly is in the product they are consuming. This is veryimportant today with all the technological advances in food production to know exactly what you areingesting and if it is healthy or not for you.In summation, as time goes on, demands and trends change.People will continue to discover technological advances that will affect the way we see, smell, hear, andeat our food.