We had a taste of Food Science at our September installment of #RTP180. When you think of food science your mind may go to chemistry, microbiology and of course, food. We gained knowledge on food processing, heard about the future of personalized nutrition and even got tips and tricks from a bartender on creating cocktails at home.
We started off with Dr. Deepti Salvi of North Carolina State University who highlighted the benefits of food processing which includes providing food safety, added nutrition benefits, reducing waste etc. She then went into detail about the different methods that are used to process the food we eat. Using excess heat to process food can kill bacteria which is good, but it can also reduce quality, flavor and nutrients, making heat the less favorable method. The alternative techniques Dr. Salvi shared were high pressure processing, cold plasma and UV lights. These options provide many advantages for consumers and the environment. Overall, Dr. Salvi wanted attendees to know that despite some negative discourse around processed foods, there are methods that can preserve freshness and nutrition when applied appropriately.
Our next guest speaker wasn’t so much of a guest on Frontier’s campus. Zack Thomas from Lagoon Bar (opening at Boxyard soon!) spoke about his years of experience as a bartender and shared the tips to making a great drink. Zack said, “out of all the ingredients you could be using, the main culprit for a good versus bad drink is the ice.” He explained that the ice you have in your freezer picks up the smells of the other frozen items, so yes, your strawberry margarita may have a hint of chicken aftertaste, yum. Thankfully, there is a quick fix to solve this ice issue; just clean out your ice maker and store the new ice in a Ziploc bag. He also informed us that some beverages are better when shaken while others should be stirred. Shaking a beverage adds the element of air by attaching small bubbles to micro debris, making the drink “fluffy.” One saying he suggested memorizing to determine whether to shake or stir is “if it’s opaque, you shake.”
Jennifer Fideler Moore from Foodwit talked next about the nutritional value of fermented fruits and vegetables. She explained that lactic acid fermentation transforms naturally occurring sugars to lactic acid, which is how pickles are made from cucumbers and kimchi from cabbage. “We typically think of these fermented foods as healthy because they contain probiotics, but most lactic acid fermented fruits and vegetables do not have probiotics. They also undergo heat processing which (as we learned earlier from Dr. Salvi) isn’t the best method of food processing,” Jennifer said. She recommends eating fermented fruits and vegetables, not because they contain probiotics, but because they have beneficial bioactive compounds that may make you healthier.
We finished up by learning about the hot topic of personalized nutrition from Staton Noel with Panaceutics Nutrition. He stated that personalized nutrition is expected to be an eleven-billion-dollar market in the next 5 years. Although we have nutritional recommendations for the general population from the USDA, Staton pointed out that those suggestions don’t account for our differences. He also mentioned how there is a common saying, “food is medicine,” yet we don’t treat it as such; with medicine, doctors give us a dosage, but this is not how food is treated in the US. Personalized nutrition will change how we think about food by considering individual biology, the environment someone lives in and lifestyle. Staton concluded his portion by saying personalized nutrition “needs to be accessible, affordable and convenient.”
To learn more in depth about each subtopic you may view the event recording on our YouTube channel! We’ll be back in Frontier 800 on October 21st, eager to learn about cybersecurity. Make sure you rsvp to save your spot.