From farmers gate to consumers plate, food innovation’s impact on global health issues

Childhood-Obesity1There is no getting around it, we are all fat (in general, not you specifically). I am on the heavier side. It is an undeniable truth, that there is an obesity epidemic, and it is a gold mine for companies looking to take advantage.Diet Fads, Books, Nutritionals, Drugs, we are shelling out billions on trying to loose weight. Last year I paid $100 for a FitBit Flex, which tracks my movements throughout the day and syncs with my iPhone. Does it work? Sure I have lost 10 pounds , but I still don’t know if we grasp the science behind obesity. What we do know is that obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, some cancers and diabetes.

Given that one-third of American adults are obese and another third merely overweight, an effective and safe diet pill would seem like the path to instant riches. Jack Lief, the chief executive of Arena Pharmaceuticals, said in 2009 that sales of obesity drugs could eclipse those of statins, the cholesterol-lowering pills like Pfizer’s Lipitor, which had peak annual sales of about $13 billion before falling to generic competition.

cost-of-obesityWhat if we could keep ourselves from being obese? Around one third of cardiovascular disease, the first cause of death in the Region, is related to unbalanced nutrition, and 30–40% of cancers could be prevented through better diet.

I am not talking about diet fads or working out. It is obvious that one of our societies major problems is that our will is weaker than our ways. An example, just yesterday we ran a program and asked the attendees what they were most looking forward to over the Memorial Day weekend.  There were four choices, Adult Beverages, Grilling out, Lawn Games, and Fruits and Veggies. Needless to say, I am not salad eating lawn dart playing kind of guy, and the majority of the other respondents agreed with me.

But what if we could engineer our food to be healthier? Utilizing health-enhancing characteristics of novel functional foods, ingredients and crops to help high-risk individuals combat obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. We can rebuild it. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s health issues decrease. Food innovation will be that solution. Better than it was before. Better…stronger…faster.

SODA-LO™ Salt Microspheres

Food ingredient companies like Tate & Lyle are taking on this challenge, their SODA-LO salt Microspheres is a salt reducing ingredient that tastes, labels and functions like salt because it is salt!  With SODA-LO, food manufacturers can reduce salt levels by 25 to 50 percent in various applications without sacrificing taste. SODA-LO is currently being used in baked goods, soups (especially tomato soup) and soon cheese.

 

Yesterday, May 22, 2014, I hosted a panel of experts from the food and agricultural community who are doing just this.

Moderator:
James Eichhorst, Director State Government Relations, BIO

Speakers:
Dr. Andy Hoffman, Director of Health and Wellness, Tate & Lyle
Mel Grundleger, Compliance Coordinator, Dupont Pioneer
Matt Botos, CEO, Connect Food

 Below is the audio from the program, I apologize as this is my first foray into the podcast/audio posting, there is a bit of background noise.