Imagine our lives in 30 years. Nine billion people, all wishing to have a good meal at least every day. We won't be able to do that if we just continue what we do today. We simply will not have enough food for that.
Could we make better use of what we already produce? Surprisingly, we are very inefficient in the use of our raw materials. In The Netherlands, we need about ten times the biomass for our daily food (in terms of energy). In addition, we need about ten times the amount as fossil fuels. So, we use up 20 times more resources, than we consume on a daily basis... I think we can do better than that.
As a research group, we explore new principles for the production of foods, that allow us to produce much more sustainably, and at the same time can contribute to a tasty and healthy diet. Amazingly, that is possible.
For example, we have developed dry separation techniques, that allow us to produce impure ingredients without any water, with only a few per cent of the energy, retaining much more nutrients and fibre, and that show excellent functionality in food products. We have developed a mild method to structure plant proteins into meat analogues. We are working hard on 3D printing of the same, sustainably produced ingredients. But we also develop ingredients that can deliver better satiety after a meal, to discourage overconsumption.
On a fundamental level, we strive to understand the dynamics of really complex materials, such as foods, under processing, and the role of complexity in this. We then use this understanding to come to really new principles of producing foods, which can make huge steps in sustainability, whilst ensuring excellent taste and better nutrition. We don’t do this just on our own, but work together with many food industries, large and small, and with academic research groups and institutes from all over the world. By working together, will we be able to make a difference for our future in the world. I invite you to work with us, get inspired and inspire others to contribute to that difference!
Remko Boom, Chairgroup holder Food Process Engineering