Innovative traditions in swiftly transforming foodscapes: An exploratory essay
Published on May 1, 2012in Trends in Food Science and Technology8.519
· DOI :10.1016/J.TIFS.2011.12.003
The ability for innovation is society’s best asset in its existential need to respond to change. Change is increasingly manifesting itself in food production and supply chains, as well as in the dietary requirements of altering populations and life styles. On the one hand, food innovation is considered by many as a necessary response to major societal and economic challenges. It offers opportunities to improve the food’s shelf life, nutritional value, microbial and toxicological safety, convenience, environmental impact, etc. Others see it as a possibility to engage in gastronomic adventure. On the other hand, some people fear that it may erode habitual cooking and thus lead to loss of culinary heritage. Food behavior has evolved over centuries, but current hyper-paced food innovation may be overlooking gastronomic complexity. Driven by economic interest, food innovation has become, almost dogmatically, the core of industrial, academic, and governmental strategies in the area of food technology and research. Yet, leading chefs increasingly acknowledge alleged tradition as the basis for gastronomic merit by constructing culinary habits as collective, cumulative inventions and not by pursuing innovation for the mere sake of novelty. The present paper explores the role of food innovation in dynamic foodscapes, its technological role, and its relationship with what are imagined to be traditional values.