Science Shorts: China dairy findings, alternative protein advancement, Middle East tech transformation and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

China dairy findings, alternative protein advancement, Middle East tech transformation and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts. ©Getty Images
China dairy findings, alternative protein advancement, Middle East tech transformation and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts. ©Getty Images

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China dairy findings, alternative protein advancement, Middle East tech transformation and more feature in this edition of Science Shorts.

China dairy labelling findings: Consumers most concerned with shelf life than nutrition facts

Consumers in China are more concerned with the production date, shelf life and storage conditions on the labels of dairy products than other information such as nutrition facts, ingredients, certification, origin, and manufacturer.

This data was collected from a survey which collected data on demographics and consumers concerns of different parts of a food label including production date, shelf life, storage conditions, storage conditions, production process, nutritional facts, product ingredient list, certification mark, origin, and manufacturers.

Funded by the Ministry of Education in China, this research was published in the International Journal of Food Science.

The analysis revealed that there is not a great deal of research on dairy product label information, especially in China. With the aim to fill this gap, this study looks at the factors that influence Chinese consumers’ identification and attention to dairy product labels​,” researchers wrote.

‘Necessity, not luxury’: Climate change supercharging cell-based and precision fermentation dairy sector

Pressures brought on by the ongoing climate crisis are predicted to drive the price parity and race towards product launches for high-tech dairy alternatives using cell-based technology and precision fermentation, according to a panel of experts.

The panel which convened at the recent Global Dairy Summit 2021 comprised of precision fermentation dairy firm Better Dairy CEO Jevan Nagarajah, cell-based dairy firm TurtleTree Labs Chief Strategist Max Rye, and cell-based dairy firm Formo CEO Raffael Wohlgensinger.

Cell-based dairy technology in particular has been estimated to require decades before any tangible results can be delivered due to the many hurdles still in the way of mass production, but according to Rye, the wait is unlikely to be quite so long.

“Many people think that it will be at least 20 years before seeing anything concrete out of this space, but I believe they will all be proven wrong soon,”​ he told the floor.

Go digital or go home: Why Middle East F&B firms must hasten tech transformation to compete for post-COVID-19 growth

Food and beverage manufacturing firms in the Middle East have been urged by a panel of experts to upgrade their digital capabilities post-haste in the wake of increased industry challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic or risk falling out of the race.

Digitalisation has become an increasingly important topic in the region as of late, especially after  Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum recently announced ‘Operation 300bn’, a 10-year strategy to increase industrial contribution to the UAE’s GDP to AED300 billion by 2031. The food and beverage sector has been recognised as a crucial part of this industrial plan.

“The local food and beverage industry is only expected to grow ever faster given our strong foundation and driving factors such as increasing populations and high disposable incomes, so the [F&B industry needs to evolve] to remain competitive,”​ Dubai Industries and Exports Deputy CEO Mohammed Ali Al Kamali said.

“This is why digitalisation of the industry is so important as this will be crucial to remaining competitive moving forward – take traceability for example, [many consumers demand this] so traceability is needed to be competitive, and [for a business to prove itself] in terms of food safety and marketing – particularly when it comes to halal products.

Triple burden battle: Researchers highlight need for sustainable healthy diet in Lebanon to alleviate food insecurity

Researchers have highlighted the need for a healthier and sustainable diet to alleviate food insecurity in Lebanon, on the back of deteriorating economic conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since 2019, Lebanon has been facing civil unrest, sudden restriction on access to foreign currencies, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic and the massive explosion at the Port of Beirut in 2020, which have worsened people's livelihoods, food security, and health situation.

For a country which relies heavily on food imports, the United Nations estimates that over 50% of the Lebanese population might be at risk of failing to access basic food needs.

Adding to the existing triple-burden of malnutrition in the country including hunger, micronutrient deficiencies, and escalating obesity and non-communicable diseases, researchers have developed an evidence-based sustainable and healthy diet that promote human health and at the same time control cost and mitigate environmental impact.

From gin to nutrition: New Zealand’s plum-gin maker receives cash tonic to fund nutrition research

A New Zealand firm producing gin from Damson plums is expanding into the functional health foods space and has received funding to research and develop nutrition products based on its high amounts of anthocyanins.

Hawke’s Bay-based company Foot Steps Limited recently received a development grant of NZ$50k (US$35k) from the High-Value Nutrition (HVN) National Science Challenge to study the bioactive components of the plums.

With the grant, the company is partnering the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence at Massey University in conducting a six-month research on the bioactive compounds present in the plums.

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