Main content area

Microtechnological Tools to Achieve Sustainable Food Processes, Products, and Ingredients

Schroën, Karin, de Ruiter, Jolet, Berton-Carabin, Claire C.
Food engineering reviews 2020 v.12 no.2 pp. 101-120
emulsions, filtration, foams, food quality, food waste, foods, healthy diet, human health, ingredients, protein sources
One of the major challenges we face as humankind is supplying a growing world population with sufficient and healthy foods. Although from a worldwide perspective sufficient food is produced, locally, the situation can be dire. Furthermore, the production needs to be increased in a sustainable manner for future generations, which also implies prevention of food waste, and making better use of the available resources. How to contribute to this as food technologists is an ultimate question, especially since the tools that can investigate processes at relevant time scales, and dimensions, are lacking. Here we propose the use of microtechnology and show examples of how this has led to new insights in the fields of ingredient isolation (filtration), and emulsion/foam formation, which will ultimately lead to better-defined products. Furthermore, microfluidic tools have been applied for testing ingredient functionality, and for this, various examples are discussed that will expectedly contribute to making better use of more sustainably sourced starting materials (e.g., novel protein sources). This review will wrap up with a section in which we discuss future developments. We expect that it will be possible to link food properties to the effects that foods create in vivo. We thus expand the scope of this review that is technical in nature, toward physiological functionality, and ultimately to rational food design that is targeted to improve human health.