04 May 2015

Food innovation ideas inside and outside Expo Milan

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Food innovation is generating many different products with a significant impact also on health, cultural entertainment, and food education

What do you usually do while waiting for your favourite tea bag infusion? Have you ever thought about reading a book in those five minutes? An Italian start up invented the so called Narratè, which could be translated into “EnterTEAnment” or “Story TEAlling”, a new product combining food with publishing and entertainment.

It consists in fact of a tea bag attached to a small booklet made of recycled paper by a local community of disabled people. A digital version is also available: by taking a picture with a smartphone of the QrCode on the tea-bag, one can access the multimedia content. To our knowledge, this is the first cultural food souvenir.

The “Narrateam” is one of the start up companies that are showing some of the latest food trends and innovations at Expo Milan.

A second project, Outdoors Safe Food, to be presented in some “Fuori Expo” events concerns those people who suffer from certain food allergies or intolerances.

Finding a safe meal in bars, hotels or restaurants is in fact often very hard, if not impossible for people sensitive to gluten, yeast, milk or other common allergens. Moreover, most of the allergens-free food are tasteless. The new Italian startup wants to prepare ready meals without specific allergens.

“The idea is to offer prepackaged products tested for the presence of the molecules responsible for the most common allergies and intolerances” – explains Erna Lorenzini, the startup Scientific Advisor, who continues: “We work with passionate and creative chefs making recipes for specific dietary requirements”.

In the meantime, outside Expo, several new ideas and startups grow and develop in the same field. Some of these were showcased during a food innovation related event, “Seeds and chips”, which took place in Milan.

Not sure about what wine to choose with a particular dish? We rarely order a bottle of wine with the awareness of how good it is, who is the producer, and with what food we should combine it.

WineAmore substitutes the paper wine list with a new, interactive and multilingual digital list allowing to find the desired information. It can be used in 15 languages and for the moment is present in several restaurants in Italy, The Netherlands, Brazil, France, Luxembourg and the US.

Another interesting invention is FOODsniffer, the first portable “electronic nose” that sniffs quality and freshness of meat, poultry and fish before eating them.

This innovative device and mobile application from Lithuania detects more than 100 different Volatile Organic Compounds by pointing it close to the food. Bluetooth technology transmits data to the user’s smartphone or tablet, and provides information on product freshness, health hazard or food poisoning risk.

Finally, a UK-based startup invented “um.ai, your pocket nutritionist”, a food knowledge platform and mobile app helping people making educated choices about the food and ingredients they consume, with the valuable aim of improving health outcomes worldwide. Diet is in fact implicated in four of the top ten causes of preventable death and the team believes that the only effective way to positively influence eating habits is to provide trusted and easy access to information about what we choose to eat next.

Image credits to: Narratè.

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