Student Contributor: Sayantan Bhattacharjee & Abhikhit Chatterjee.
Not a single person would have believed that a small virus can create a pandemic that would force the world to lockdown at home. Over the last few months, there have been dramatic transformations in our access and the availability of food, along with where we eat and with whom. The closure of restaurants, fast food outlets, cafes, schools, colleges, universities, and workplace canteens has contributed to more people eating at home. It seems that lockdown has encouraged many people to revive the joy of cooking at home with their family, with more people cooking from scratch and wasting less food. Everyone tried their best to store an adequate amount of food for their family during the lockdown. Either they have visited the local market for raw food or have to store packed/Processed food for the period. To know what processed food was in demand during this COVID-19 time, we conducted an online survey with 130+ people from different parts of India.
The respondents were asked the following questions, among them the significant questions are below-
- Which type of food do you prefer during a lockdown?
- Which type of processed food you have purchased from the market during a lockdown?
- If healthy food is manufactured, what are the benefits you love to see in it?
Review analyses are based on the feedback given by the respondents from different parts of the country, working in different sectors, and are from different genders & ages. Out of the total respondents, 97% preferred home cook food (Figure 1), form the graph, it’s clear that people are much aware regarding the social distancing, and tries to restrict themselves from a restaurant or local fast food outlets.
Figure 1. Food Preference during the lockdown period.
During the initial phase of lockdown, people started stockpiling probably panicking for unavailability of food in the future if the situation worsens. During this time 74% have brought the raw material for recipe making, around 16% of people have picked ready to cook (Figure 2). It reveals that recipe making items are none other than perishable, semi-perishable, or non-perishable food, but they must be properly packed and kept under the appropriate condition for longer shelf life.
Figure 2. Type of processed food generally bought from the market during the lockdown.
Finally, we asked a question that if healthy food is manufactured then, what are the criteria they want in it. The majority suggested, it must be a novel product with value addition, it must have minimum thermal processing, and surely low cost. So a meal must be converted to functional meals from the consumer’s end.
Here comes the scope of Food Biotechnology. It is a rapidly expanding field of science that deals with the production processes of foods. It is the application of modern biotechnological techniques to the manufacture and processing of food as well as keep the nutritional value of a food. Food biotechnology is an umbrella term that covering a vast variety of processes for using living organisms such as plants, animals, microbes, or any part of these organisms, to develop new or improved food products. It includes the newer forms of food biotechnology that offer a faster and more precise means to develop food products.
Current trends in Food Biotechnology
Food biotechnologists are always searching for how to develop food are other food-related issues. A recent report from the Institute of Food Technologists highlights that they develop food packaging techniques. These developments stem from research in the food biotechnology industry on innovative food packaging solutions. According to the report smart food technology that can prevent food spoilage as well as keep food safe long time. Smart packaging technology is designed to monitor the food quality through technology such as freshness, temperature, or quality indicators built into the package and communicate that to either sellers or consumers. The food flavor control unit has focused on reducing the loss of food flavor during storage. Food often loses its flavor over time because the food flavors are often absorbed by the food packaging itself or degraded by other products within the package.
Biotechnology applications within the food-processing sector, therefore, target the choice and manipulation of micro-organisms to enhance method management, product quality, safety, consistency, and yield, whereas increasing Biotechnological processes applicable to the improvement of microbe cultures to be used in food- processing applications involve standard strategies of genetic improvement. Biotechnology within the food process sector utilizes and implements micro-organisms for the preservation of food and the assembly of a variety of added merchandise like enzymes, flavor compounds, vitamins. So, consumers are interested in the formulation of smart food having many criteria (Figure 3). Next-generation food is about targeting high nutritional values, multi-functional, and long shelf life bearing. Food Biotechnology is an important part of Biotechnology. Amidst this pandemic situation, Food Biotechnologies can come up with a new hope. These tools can serve us in a future pandemic situation.
Figure 3. Criteria for Smart Food.
Visited 1637 times, 1 Visit today