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Food related innovation: Technology, genetics and consumer impacts

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By Christine M Bruhn, Paul J Moughan, Judith L Mercure

Published: 2008
ISBN: 978-1-921348-21-1
Pages: ii+134



Paul J Moughan
Riddet Institute, Massey University
Palmerston North, New Zealand

Christine M Bruhn
Centre for Consumer Research
Department of Food Science and Technology
University of California-Davis, United States of America

Coordinating Editor
Judith L Mercure
Calibre Communications, Sydney NSW

What most consumers know about food-related innovation comes from the popular media. These sources focus on contentious topics such as biofuel cultivation displacing crops, expensive and environmentally unsound 'food miles', retailer power favouring agribusiness at the expense of small-scale farming, genetically manipulated organisms creating unanticipated threats to human health, among other subjects. That these subjects are critically important for investigation and debate is self-evident. But they are only part of a story.

A more balanced perspective on innovation explores initiatives that ensure the safety of our processed food products (e.g. pasteurization), research that marries individual genetic disease profiles with appropriately customized diets, and convenience for time-poor families, among other subjects. These subjects are as essential to efforts to develop a sound model for industrial innovation as those currently dominating the media are contentious.

This Special Issue of IMPP brings together perspectives of a number of processed food industry experts who focus on different facets of food-related innovation. As these experts know, innovation in the food industry is a tough game, played out in an often tense arena where the regulations that aim to ensure our foods are safe and healthy are applied to scientific and technological developments, against an often contradictory backdrop of consumer concerns, worries and perceptions. Successful food-related innovations are the products of the tension between these forces.

The dynamic between these powerful forces is represented in this issue by section editors with strong backgrounds in food-related technology(Massey University Professor Paul Moughan;consumer concerns(University of California Davis Professor Christine Bruhn);and food safety and regulatory issues(Dr Elizabeth Szabo and Dr Patricia Desmarchelier, Chief Scientist of New South Wales Safe Food Authority and Senior Principal Research Scientist at Food Science Australia respectively.

This special issue of Innovation: Management, Policy & Practice focuses on three topic aspects of food-related innovation, namely, technology, genetics and consumer impacts. Articles examine the role that consumer magazines play in communicating food-related innovations to consumers and summarise the contribution of foods to health in the future.

Taken together, the contributions in this issue remind us that food-related innovation is critically important, deserving balanced investigation and intensive debate by the consumer groups, scientists, policy makers, producers, processors and distributors, as well as innovation experts and the general community. It is the aim of this special issue to help further collective thinking about what the food industry should do and offer to be sustainable and to provide safe, healthy foods for us all, making it an important read.

Table of Contents

Judith L Mercure

Introduction: Food Supply Chains: Recent growth in global activity
Peter J Lillford

Review: Human and Organisational Factors Affecting Technology Uptake by Industry
Peter Roupas

Section 1 Editorial
Paul J Moughan

The Human Genome, Nutrigenomics and Nutrigenetics
Michael Fenech

Innovation in the Food Industry: Personalised Nutrition and Mass Customisation
Mike Boland

Innovation in the Food Industry: Functional Foods
Abby K Thompson, Paul J Moughan

Processing Technology Innovation in the Food Industry
Peter J Fryer, Cornelis Versteeg

Section 2 Editorial: Consumer Acceptance of Food Innovations
Christine M Bruhn

The Role of Consumer Magazines in Communicating Innovations in Food Choices
Kristin McNutt

Looking into the Future of Foods and Health
J Bruce German

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