To solve a problem, first you have to understand it.
Food is many things. For us, it is a passion; a puzzle; a problem; the building blocks of our very existence; profane yet ineffable; transcendent; and, at its best, even magical.
This is quite a mix of mainly emotional responses, which only speaks to the importance of food to each and every one of us – an importance that can scarcely be overstated.
At the same time, at inewtrition, we are scientists. We are tasked with understanding food, breaking it down to its constituent parts, even down to its molecules and atoms, to the point where it can’t even be considered food any more. In seeking to understand it, we reduce it to something that we can no longer recognise as food. So how do we resolve this paradox?
With humility, for a start.
At inewtrition, we’ve come to think of food science and its plunge into the microscopic and molecular worlds as something akin to diving for pearls. In our case, however, given the incredible reach of technology, finding the pearl is often the easy part. Bringing it back to the surface is where the challenge lies. And it’s easy to drown. The waters are still deep.
At inewtrition, we believe first in wellness, and that food fuels our lives. We also believe that prevention is better than cure, and that nutritious food can bridge these three beliefs.
Nutritional food science, a keystone of what we do, is about understanding the components that make up our food and the roles these components play in the body. The complexities of food and its effects on our health are subject to many factors. Biology, culture, ethnicity, family history, finances, and lifestyle can all influence how food affects us. The cumulative consumption of certain nutritives can, over time, improve or impair our health, and our diet in general affects our wellness.
But food is more than just nutrition.
Food also plays an irreplaceable role in celebrations, in simple enjoyment, and in social activities and cohesions. Food can be and is a significant component of group and even national identities. These are profound qualities, which must always be treated with the greatest respect.
In developing new food products, we are always balancing the scientific and nutritive qualities of those products against the emotional, experiential, and social expectations that people have. We deal in molecular precision and general taste (both literally and figuratively). The ranges of data involved in such undertakings can be vast, and this is why analysis and methodology are so important.
Nutrition is a relatively young science – but it is a science. It should therefore always be based on scientific evidence, to the limit of available research. Nutritional food science can also play a complementary role in health advice, but is not a replacement for proper medical care.
Food is more than just science, ingredients, recipes, and products. It is a sector of entire industries that form an integral part of our societies, economies, and environments. It demands transport systems. It requires producers, processors, and retailers, all of whom make valuable contributions at every link along the chain. It needs educated consumers, who can provide the feedback that helps direct new product development.
We can all work together to create safe food supplies that are healthier and more nutritious, more available, more sustainable, and more affordable. There is so much that can be improved, and so much that needs to be improved, given the challenges we now face as a species.
Solutions begin with understanding. And that’s where we can help.