PARIS: Besides the many health benefits associated with fermented foods, they could also be beneficial for the planet, helping people make their diet more sustainable.
It is precisely this aspect that France is investing in with a vast new research and innovation project.
Will future diets consist of more foods like sourdough bread, miso, pickles and kombucha? Good for your health, lacto-fermented foods are particularly recommended for balancing intestinal flora and promoting digestion.
The benefits of fermented foods lie in the preservation of good bacteria, versus “bad” bacteria. Preserved in an airtight container, such foods become rich in probiotics, thanks to the contact of microorganisms, and these probiotics offer nutritional value.
But the ecological aspect of fermented foods is also increasingly being touted as part of a potential solution for a sustainable food system.
Because it does not require the addition of chemical compounds or additives, this method of fermentation is considered ecological, as it relies on a natural process centered around living organisms and is not harmful to the planet. It is also a good option for reducing food waste as well as the production of related waste.
This is precisely the focus of France’s “Ferments of the Future Grand Challenge.” Piloted by INRAE (France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment) and the country’s National Association of Food Industries, this vast research-innovation program brings together more than 30 public and private entities (researchers, start-ups, etc.) from the agri-food sector.
Operational since mid-December and financed to the tune of 48.3 million euros, the project plans (among other things) to develop new fermented foods, particularly based on grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
The new products developed in the project should help limit the use of additives, improve foods’ sensory properties, optimise their nutritional profile and help make diets more diversified and sustainable, explain the project’s initiators in a press release.
One of the long-term objectives of this ambitious program is also to give value to products that are currently considered waste, outlined its executive director Damien Paineau.