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The Food for future at the 2014 Paris International Agricultural Show © Inra Véronique GAVALDA

The Future of Food

By Eric Connehaye
Updated on 02/27/2014
Published on 02/21/2014

Our “Farming in the Future” menu offers examples of research conducted by INRA and its partners: it presents a selection of projects underway to grow the food of the future and some of the innovative technology that is already being used to do so.

The future of food is no longer the subject of far-fetched prophecies and millenarian fears so popular in late 1960s science fiction. First and foremost, it is a challenge: an environmental and scientific one. It is a humanitarian goal. It is also a combination of new, sensible production methods, a better use of resources, new consumer habits, and new and alternative plant, animal and mineral foods.
In INRA labs, certain scientists are developing tools for the creation of new sensory characteristics in food. Others are working on ways to produce fruit and vegetable varieties that are disease-resistant and have exceptional culinary and taste properties. All seek to ensure that tomorrow’s food system is healthy and sustainable, in order to meet the major goal of feeding the world.

Meeting our needs and knowing our preferences

The food of the future may not be surprising but it will be innovative. Meals will be better adapted to the body’s needs (those of seniors, children and athletes in particular); edible goods will be better engineered to liberate and stabilise active ingredients. Upstream, design, manufacturing and production methods should promote a sustainable and environmentally friendly agro-food industry. And on the dinner tables of the future, we will no doubt benefit from specialised research to identify the molecules which determine our culinary preferences, and better understand how nutritional profiles are shaped.

INRA’s “Farming in the Future” Menu at the 2014 Paris International Agricultural Show

Pre-meal drink: MATAHI cocktail

This baobab-based drink is natural, environmentally friendly and full of energy! Baobab fruit provides a big boost: it contains seven times more antioxidants than pomegranate, 20 times more vitamin C than an orange, four times more calcium than milk and twice as much iron as red meat! The fruit’s pulp is very dry and fibrous, though, making it a true technical challenge.

Starter: GARANCE tomato salad and filets of ARRAINA fish

  • The genetic structure of the Garance tomato, known as an F1 hybrid, makes it ideal for organic farming. It is both crunchy and tender, fragrant, brightly coloured, resistant to eight diseases, and rich in lycopene (a pigment believed to protect against heart disease).
  • Plant-fed Atlantic salmon, carp, rainbow trout, sea bass and sea bream. The goal? Validate the use of microparticles and nanocapsules to provide nutrients (to very young and spawning fish in particular).
. © INRA, MARIE Didier
© INRA, MARIE Didier

 Main: PASTALEG legume pasta with TERRADOU sauce

. © INRA, SLAGMULDER Christian
  •  This pasta is rich in protein and essential amino acids. It also contains high amounts of fibre, vitamin B1, magnesium and phosphorus. It is low in fat and α-galactosides, abundant in legumes and which cause flatulence.  Its glycemic index is as low as the one found in durum wheat pasta.
  •  The Terradou tomato is rich in lycopene and vitamin C and is resistant to four different diseases. It contains very high levels of dry matter (meaning it is low in water), which provides better yields when industrially processed. Cooking concentrates lycopene and preserves some vitamins. Products made with this variety can be of excellent nutritional quality as a result.

Cheese: Pavé d'Affinois with STLO milk and MIE’NUTIE baguette

  • This cheese is made using ultrafiltered (UF) milk (which retains soluble proteins and minerals like calcium and trace elements).
  • The Mie’nutie baguette is made with flour from different types of durum wheat which has a grain size smaller than 200 µm, high hydration capacity and good kneading properties.
. © INRA

Desert: MODERNE fresh fruit compote (OPTIFEL label)

. © INRA, SLAGMULDER Christian
  • Two major sensory characteristics of fruit purées – consistency and granularity – can be directly modified based on the amount of insolubles (cell walls of the pulp) and on pulp particle size, respectively.
  • The Optifel project: This project aims to ensure that taste perceptions suit the specific organoleptic preferences and expectations of the elderly. At the nutritional level, it also aims to guarantee an improved preservation of nutrients during storage, and at the functional level, to deal with the loss of chewing capacities through the use of appropriate textures.

Coffee: served with a GENIAL biscuit

A low-fat, low-sugar biscuit enriched with protein and fibre.

Drinks: DQA wine and GRENELLE water

  • Low-alcohol, high-quality wines made from lower-sugar grapes. Research is ongoing to create yeasts which enable fermentation with less ethanol.
  • Mineral water from sources included in the redrafting of regional boundaries launched in 1987 to protect Vittel mineral water resources.
. © INRA, Yaskii - Fotolia
© INRA, Yaskii - Fotolia


Les agricultures du futur. © INRA

The Future of Farming

The Future of Farming

How will we grow food tomorrow? What will we eat? At the 51st edition of the Paris International Agricultural Show, INRA research teams present their research on “The Future of Farming” to visitors.

INRA is hosting a symposium at the 2014 International Agricultural Show focused on the design of innovative, high-performance farming systems.

Rencontres Inra SIA 2014. © INRA

Round-table discussions at the 2014 International Agricultural Show

During the 2014 edition of the International Agricultural Show, INRA is hosting round-table discussions with partners on the institute’s priority issues in the area of farming and food. Eight of these are the subject of metaprogrammes, which bring together several teams from different disciplines. Two other discussions on conservation agriculture and organic farming will also be held.

Métier recherche © TOILLON Sylvie

Research careers have a future!

Come to the International Agricultural Show (22 February-2 March 2014) to meet the women and men of INRA who are working on the future of nutrition.