Technology and Innovation

Here you'll find all my latest published articles and blog posts relating to the IT industry

AI-led brain scanning tech: Progressing mental health care

In 2022, 44% of countries responding to a World Health Organisation (WHO) survey reported they had experienced one or more disruptions to mental health care, including prevention and promotion programmes, diagnosis, treatment and life-saving emergency care. Deepening value and commitment to mental health understanding, reshaping environments and strengthening mental health care are critical paths to transformation, the WHO states in its 2022 World Mental Health Report. With democratising acces

Ice cream innovation draws on health and wellness trend

Manufacturers are formulating ice cream ranges with probiotics, protein, and plant-based ingredients to appeal to growing health and wellness demand. Ice cream products are diversifying in the remaining months of 2022. Digestive health claims are proving a prominent feature on ice cream packaging labels, data analytics firm IRI says in its latest dairy insights. Manufacturers will likely increase their prebiotic, probiotic, and other digestive claims to meet consumer demand, particularly as co

Making coffee farming more sustainable

Interest in a circular economy model is increasing among coffee players as calls for positive environmental action proliferate the supply chain. “Our agricultural system needs an urgent overhaul,” Miguel Gamboa, coffee sector lead at international non-profit organisation, Rainforest Alliance told Ingredients Network. In June 2022, the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced the publication of its recent consultation outcome. The consultation surrounded the imp

Nestlé launches infant formula with novel ingredient, myelin

Nestlé has identified a nutrient blend of components found in breast milk, myelin, and will launch Nutrilearn Connect, an infant formula containing the novel ingredient, in Hong Kong before expanding to other markets. The product comes after years of research examining the impact of nutrition on the brain and cognitive development in early life. The nutrient blend comprises specific phospholipids, vitamins, fatty acids and minerals relevant for myelin to form. Myelin is a lipid-rich sheath whi

How the food industry can take action to protect bees

How the food industry can take action to protect bees From practicing polyculture to using organic biocontrol measures, the food industry must act to safeguard the population, health, and resilience of bees, says the Best Bees Company. Bees have a long-standing relationship with food; they are essential for pollinating many major food crops. “Before there even was a food industry at all, bees were crucial to ensuring crops flourished,” says Emily O’Neil, staff scientist at The Best Bees Compa

Hyperlocalisation promotes food system resilience and diversification

Climate change action and new technologies are driving a rise in hyperlocalisation throughout the global food chain, improving the industry’s adaptability and ability to meet consumer demands for greater choice. Hyperlocalisation involves creating shorter supply chains and establishing or redesigning operations to allow food production to occur in the same local environment as the end consumer. With a focus on supply chains that are both short and sustainable, localisation has evolved into hype

Tackling the rise of antimicrobial resistance

As the 2030 goal of halving antimicrobial use edges closer and a 2022 regulation is brought in to reduce antibiotic use on farm animals, the food industry is loudening its calls for action amid the increasing resistance to antimicrobials. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) provides scientific support and advice on risks to human and animal health regarding the possible emergence, spread, and transfer of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the food chain and animals. “EFSA acknowledges tha

How plant-based milk brands can address taste and texture challenges

How plant-based milk brands can address taste and texture challenges Today’s consumers want plant-based milk products that mimic the desirable sensorial attributes of their non-dairy alternative counterparts. In response, brands and manufacturers are focusing on taste, texture, education and sustainability. The sensory attribute is the number one area of improvement for plant-based milk alternatives, as highlighted by over a third (34%) of European consumers in recent research, ‘Understanding

Farm biologicals can make our farming system more sustainable: Rabobank

Farm biologicals can make our farming system more sustainable: Rabobank Replacing synthetic pesticides with farm biologicals - crop production products from living organisms – may help create a more sustainable farming system, says a recent Rabobank report. Farm biologicals, otherwise known as biologicals, are crop production products from living organisms that can be used independently or together with synthetic items, according to the agrochemical international trade association, CropLife In

New partnership strives to improve cocoa farming in Ivory Coast

New partnership strives to improve cocoa farming in Ivory Coast Conseil du Cafe-Cacao and IDH’s Sustainable Trade Initiative launch a new programme, Cocoaperation, to support cocoa farming and improve the livelihoods of cocoa producers. Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, the agency responsible for regulating, stabilising and developing the Coffee-Cocoa sector in the Ivory Coast, and IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative, an arm of the finance fund for smallholder farmers, IDH Farmfit Fund, aim to increase the

Dairy industry explores advanced technologies to digitalise global production

Dairy manufacturers are increasingly integrating automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies into their production plants in order to meet growing global demand for dairy products, particularly in Asia. Digitalisation in dairy production units is allowing manufacturers to maximise efficiency, reduce operational costs and meet consumer demand. Automation is garnering attention in the dairy industry as it enables producers to implement and use auto

Shifting trends: Analysing the impact of high inflation in India

Shifting trends: Analysing the impact of high inflation in India Despite food and beverage categories in India feeling the pinch of increasing inflation, the overall outlook remains upbeat as governmental support steps in and evolving consumer purchasing patterns shape the sector. In April 2022, India’s retail inflation rate reached 7.8%, the highest it has hit in eight years. Yet, despite this alarming inflation statistic, data analytics and brand consulting company Kantar reports positive le

World first: Dutch team develop method to extract high-value protein from tomato leaf

World first: Dutch team develop method to extract high-value protein from tomato leaf Tomato leaves that are currently seen as a major waste stream in horticulture could provide a reliable and sustainable source of rubisco – a widespread plant protein that has potential in food and drink, say researchers. Researchers at the Wageningen University & Research (WUR), the Netherlands, say they have become the first in the world to extract high-value rubisco protein from tomato leaves, one of the ma

New EU mineral oil limits an ‘important step for food safety’

New EU mineral oil limits an ‘important step for food safety’ The EU’s decision to restrict aromatic mineral oils (MOAH) in food products has been hailed as an important step in food safety and consumer protection but consumer organisation, Foodwatch, is calling for binding regulation to go one step further. The European Union (EU) has confirmed it will restrict mineral oils in all food products. The decision was made by the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee)

Clutch Cognition creates functional drinks with brain health botanicals

Danish startup, Clutch Cognition, has entered the functional drinks space targeting cognitive health with a blend of botanicals and plant-based ingredients such as sage, green oat, green tea, and guar beans. Clutch Cognition says it uses the intersection between science, via clinical evidence, and plant-derived nutrition to create the “most relevant ‘smartdrink’.” Its plant-based beverage is targeted at the modern-day consumer, who lives “a sedentary, yet mentally challenging and exhausting lif

Nitrite and nitrate alternatives gain ground for processed meat applications

As France finalises its review into the health risks of nitrite in cured meats, industry research focuses on the potential substitutes for nitrite and nitrate in processed meats to offer consumers healthy alternatives. By the end of June 2022, France will have completed a review of the potential health risks of using nitrite in cured meats. The review comes as the French parliament gave the green light to a bill that seeks to lower nitrite use in cured meats. In May 2022, flavour manufacturer,

Automation meets advanced technology to maximise food safety

Food safety testing technologies such as automation and next-generation sequencing methods are instrumental to building industry transparency, consumer confidence and detecting foodborne outbreaks and infectious diseases. There are various prevalent food safety technologies in today’s food safety industry. Scientists, manufacturers, and companies can detect pathogens through screening that uses traditional methods for culturing while various techniques can detect nucleic acids and antibodies.

Plants and microalgae spur new omega-3 formulations

With health and environmental awareness high among consumers, omega-3 producers are exploring the use of plant-based and microalgae ingredients to appeal to consumers’ nutritional needs. Omega-3s are fatty acids that play an essential role in diet and nutrition. They are popular with consumers for their purported health benefits, ranging from heart and cardiovascular health to improving symptoms relating to depression, eye health and infant development. There are three main types of omega-3s:

How massive parallel sequencing amplifies ingredient transparency

Food manufacturers are using massive parallel sequencing techniques to build transparency and trust with consumers by confirming the authenticity of ingredients and the absence of harmful bacteria. Massive parallel sequencing, or next-generation sequencing, is a term that describes techniques that perform parallel sequencing of millions or billions of individual short DNA sequences. “These techniques enable us to identify and further study adulteration of food, food authentication and food pois
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