Food Technological Applications for Optimal Nutrition: An Overview of Opportunities for the Food Industry



Abstract:  An increasingly important determinant in food choice is the growing consumer concern about nutrition and health. This focusing of consumer interest on the food supply, and also extensive research and technological developments in food science will provide further opportunities for new product development. The Food-Based Dietary Guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union (EU) legislation on health claims play an important role in regulating information to the public about a wholesome diet and for improving the availability and affordability of nutritious food choices to consumers. More specifically, the food industry can contribute by reducing the number of energy-dense products; by improving the nutrient profile of processed food through the reduction of salt, added sugar, trans-fatty acid, and saturated fat content. As a result, food science and technology are prompted to create a new framework for these food-based dietary guidelines, principally in the areas of food physics, methods of food storage and preservation, nutrient restoration and fortification of foods, and the development of health-focused designer foods and functional foods. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of some further opportunities for new product development and nutrition research. Some topics related to the energy reduction of foods include: dilution and structure design, carbohydrate and/or fat substitutes, and inhibition of enzymes in carbohydrate and/or fat digestion; additionally, regulation of some metabolic functions with food-derived bioactive peptides and probiotics, and enrichment of foods with bioactive compounds are reviewed in this overview as the most promising issues.