About this Research Topic
to feed by 2050. Today, 40% of the land is used for agriculture, and while there is enough food for everyone,
famine does still exist. Climate change will increase the difficulty to produce enough food in the future,
increasing costs and reducing yields, especially if unsustainable diets become more prevalent amongst developed
societies. Changes to diets are critical for a step into sustainable food chains, while also assuring enough food
for every person on Earth. Chemistry, microscopy, analytics and other fields of science and technology must
come together to be levers in promoting these changes and help shape safer, healthier and more sustainable
diets. Still, quantity is only one side of the problem; while there are starving humans, there are also obese ones,
and this number is rising sharply. Thus, a shift in the composition of food is urgent, a shift that includes healthier
nutrients and bioactive molecules, and reduces the excess of saturated and trans fats, high quantities of sugars
and the high load of animal protein.
Science has been the main driving force in innovation for the food sector. It has helped change food though
food additives (preservatives: butylated hydroxytoluene (E321), citric acid (E330), ascorbic acid (E300);
colorants: green S (E142), carmoisine (E122), quinoline yellow (E104); sweeteners: cyclamates (E952),
aspartame (E951), steviol glycosides (E960), and has created pest-resistant crops and other technologies which
we now take for granted. Still, on the other hand, it has helped create unhealthy and processed foods that
pose challenges to the future in terms of safety and health. The introduction to alternative diets has increased
consumer interest in adopting a healthier and more sustainable diet; one that is beneficial for the health of our
planet and our body. Thus, trends in food consumption show an increase in consumer awareness towards the
implications of food to their health as well as a conscientiousness of the impact of food production in the
environment, which correlates with an increase of healthier and sustainable food choices. These choices are
usually related to higher intake of vegetables, fruits, grains, fish and poultry, which, is also the cornerstone of
the Mediterranean diet, praised for its healthiness and preventive effects on the heart and other illnesses.
This Research Topic intents to tackle these challenges, namely the chemical food challenges of new foods and
diets, but also the societal challenge in terms of consumer behavior and its economic impact, with a special
focus on the Mediterranean diet, one of the world’s most appreciated, recognized and healthiest diets. The scope of this Research Topic touches all the areas of the chemistry of new foods and their relationship with
sustainable diets, with a special focus on the Mediterranean diet.
The themes of this Research Topic are, but not limited to:
- Diets of the XXI century: Changes to food diets with main focus on the Mediterranean diet and its related foods;
- Plant, insect and animal new foods: The chemistry behind development of new sources for sustainable food
- Chemistry of new foods: Analytical aspects of nutrients through HPLC, GC, Raman spectroscopy, Chemometrics
- Bioactive compounds in foods: Phenolic compounds, terpenes, organic acids, tocopherols, carotenoids, and
- New types of foods: Improvements of organoleptic, health and manufacturing of food.
Keywords: food chemistry, sustainable diets, future foods, functional foods
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