Food of the future: tomorrow a human will become what it eats today
The process of globalization and change of lifestyle of the mankind will inevitably affect food, as well. For example, after World War II, French cooks established New Cuisine\Nouvelle cuisine\, simpler and with a large diversity of tastes. Emergence of a new cuisine is explained by change in a lifestyle of urban citizens. Annually, around 10 thousand types of food emerge only in the USA. Even today, we may more or less foresee what will be on a table of people in the nearest future.
Lately, a rapid growth of food industry that produces food healthy for health and that contains a set of vitamins, minerals and biologically active substances. They are used by sportsmen concerned with development of their muscles, people who try to control their weight, and elderly people who try to consume products with lowered fat and carbohydrate content.
However, in future, such type of products will acquire new properties and will become a daily food. For example, there is a possibility of occurrence of a healing food - ice cream with enhanced vitamin content or margarine that lowers blood cholesterol level. Critics of such type of products claim that their efficiency (usefulness) is not proved; there is a limited number of scientific studies. Therefore, one may equally expect that manufacturing industry of that kind may undergo rapid growth or, on the contrary, be long gone.
Genetically modified products
Special opportunities are opened before the genetic engineering, some experts think that future drugs will be sold not in a form of tablets, but, for example, in the form of fruits - in theory, it possible to derive apples that will be able of playing a role of slipping pills. For example, it has already been determined that pollen of genetically modified corn is able of killing eggs of a certain type of butterflies. It is also possible to develop a breed of animals that possess certain set of properties - for example, pigs with less fatty meat, grades of coffee without caffeine, etc.
In 1996, a commercial use of genetically modified plants was commenced for the first time - since then, a number of agriculturally used areas planted with "altered" corn, soya, cotton, have grown by 25 times. Sowing of "new" corn only in 2000 occupied an area of 44.2 million hectares (the largest fields of genetically modified corn are located in the USA, Canada and Argentina). Such type of sowing exists in 13 countries of the world. Fans of such sort of products claim that due to implementation of genetic engineering it is possible to avoid application of pesticides and fertilizers in the filed, what is certainly is for benefit of a consumer.
However, future of such sort of products is not clear - very many experts and organizations have an extremely negative attitude towards them and advocate their total restriction. There are no international standards on genetically modified products. Two documents are still being prepared: "Guidelines on Evaluation of Food Safety of Foodstuff Obtained from Recombinant DNA Plants" and "Principles of Risk Analysis for Foodstuff Obtained by Means of Modern Biotechnology". Approximately, they will be adopted in 2002 already.
A process opposite to genetic revolution is developing momentum. There appeared a trend towards organic food, i.e. vegetables, fruits, bread, milk, meat, eggs, wines, etc. made without implementation of genetic engineering, fertilizers, pesticides, preserving agents, in places, flawless in terms of ecology. Experts strongly recommend organic food to small children. Such sort of products is essential for people suffering from allergies and a number of other disorders.
For a period since 1998 through 2000, the USA started selling by 23% more eco-friendly fruits and vegetables, and by 96% more organic milk and eggs, and by 99% more organic breadstuffs, by 71% more organic meat. In American stores, such products cost 10-40% more than usual ones. The first place in the world's table of ranks on area of land plots used for growing agricultural products, is occupied by Liechtenstein (18%), the second one - by Switzerland (9%), the third one - by Austria (8.6%). The top ten also includes Italy, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Czech Republic and Iceland. In this list, the USA occupy the 36th place - 0.2% of agricultural lands are used for manufacture of organic food.
In future, assurance of food protection will gain a substantial importance. In particular, food protection will be ensured by reduction of time spent on delivery of products from a manufacturer to a buyer.
Moreover, scientific studies aimed at development of new ways of product conservation undergo and will undergo in future a rapid growth as old methods are not always reliable. A number of new technologies includes: aseptic packaging extending shelf lives of various food stuff and requires no cooling. Exposure of food stuff to radiation is not a new technology, but it finds an expanding application. Radiation kills pathogenic substances transferred with food, such as salmonella, furthermore radiation extends a shelf life of rapidly spoiled fruits. Processing of products under extra-high pressure that ensures food pasteurisation is commenced. Undulating light technology is applied when products are exposed to light which intensity many times exceeds intensity of sunlight. Ultralight radiation is used for pasteurisation of juices, in some cases it allows using food conservative agents.
Packaging technologies that will give consumers a signal about the product safety will be developed: for example, change a colour if the product starts being spoiled.
A fact on the subject
Annually, the USA register 76 million cases of diseases related to consumption of low-quality food. According to the Centres for Disease Control, 325 thousand Americans are hospitalized annually, 5 thousand of them die.
It is interesting, that annually Americans spend $ 40 billiard on purchase of special dietary food. 40-50% of American women start their attempts to lose weight on a regular basis. Moreover, according to National Eating Disorders Association, 95% of diets are absolutely ineffective because they may give necessary effect only in 1-5 years.
According to materials of the Zdorovye Zhenshchiny magazine.