Why Food Innovation Is So Important
Food innovation comes in many forms, with companies competing to make food that’s more nutritious, more sustainable, and even more delicious, often while lowering costs in the process. So how exactly does food innovation work? And why is it so important for our society?
The Basics of Food Innovation
There are many ways that food innovation can unfold. Companies and individuals at every link in the food supply chain are constantly looking for new, innovative ways to create, process, and distribute food. Their ultimate goals typically include making more money and/or improving their brand reputation, but they can do this in a myriad of ways, such as:
- Creating new types of food. Sometimes, food innovation allows for the development of entirely new types of food. For restauranteurs, this is a great way to show off unique menu items. For consumers, it means a more interesting Monday night dinner.
- Making food tastier. Some food innovation serves to make the food we eat tastier. With a combination of new ingredients and new methods of production, we can get access to new flavor profiles. And with better storage and distribution methods, those flavors can be preserved longer.
- Making food more nutritious. Tasty food isn’t always good for us, of course. That’s why so much modern food innovation is focused on making food more nutritious – giving us more of the macronutrients and micronutrients we need to thrive without compromising on taste.
- Improving sustainability. Not all methods of food production are sustainable, but thanks to food innovation, our agricultural and distribution processes are becoming more sustainable every year. Greater sustainability means protecting the environment and ensuring the possibility of food production for many years to come.
- Lowering costs. Other types of food innovation focus on improving efficiency and lowering costs, leading to lower costs for end consumers. As world hunger is still a major problem, lower food costs have tremendous potential to benefit humanity.
And sometimes, these innovations all occur simultaneously with a single technological leap forward.
Innovations also happen in many ways, such as:
- New tools or technologies. Novel tools and new types of technology lead innovators to experiment with new approaches and accomplish things previously thought impossible.
- New methods. Sometimes, a simple tweak to methods of harvest, processing, production, and distribution is all it takes to drive down prices or create something new.
- New ingredients. All over the world are diverse cultures who use food ingredients you’ve likely never heard of. Food innovators are constantly searching for novel ingredients and new flavors like these to work into their latest dishes.
- Random chance. Sometimes, an accident or sudden change creates an innovative food product by happenstance.
While nearly all businesses in the food industry (and in adjacent industries) work hard to innovate in their own respective spaces, some organizations focus on food innovation as their main priority. For example, Griffith Foods is committed to improving the world through the innovation of more sustainable, more nutritious, and more delicious foods and food products.
Fostering Food Innovation
If you’re interested in fostering an environment where food innovation can thrive, there are several things you can do:
- Enable competition. Innovation is often a byproduct of competition. When companies and individuals are forced to compete with each other, there’s an incentive to do something novel – to make a breakthrough in terms of efficiency, product quality, or some other variable. Encourage the existence and competition of multiple companies by favoring policies and regulations that allow competition to thrive – and even more importantly, do what you can to support a multitude of local businesses.
- Make conscientious food decisions. Think carefully and critically about the foods you’re buying. Pay attention to the manufacturers and brands you buy and the nutrition labels on the backs of the packages you’re getting. It’s a great way to learn about the food companies around you and the processes that led to this purchase.
- Support food innovators. When you find organizations that practice sustainable food innovation and try to bring novel, nutritious, sustainable products to market, do what you can to support them. Buying their products and telling other people about their existence can help them stay in business – and encourage them to keep innovating.
- Break out of your comfort zone. Similarly, try to break out of your food “comfort zone.” Try new food products, new restaurants, and ingredients that you wouldn’t have ordinarily considered.
With greater rates of food innovation, everyone in the world stands to benefit. For some, it means getting access to more nutritious and less expensive food options. For others, it means protecting the environment with more sustainable practices. For still others, it just means getting to try delicious foods that were previous inaccessible. Whatever your motivation, supporting food innovation pays off.