On October 22nd 2019, Czech experts – stakeholders from business, research, state administration and NGOs participated in the last round of expert discussions: What are the real benefits of novel foods and smart food packages? What is the soon-to-be future of the applications used in real-life?
During the first citizen consultation in the autumn 2018, one of the most curious ideas was the possibility of inventing a super food, that could be used for specific clients: athletes, astronauts or even people with allergies and that would be shaped / would have a taste up to anyone´s wish. Although Nanotechnology – e.g. titanium dioxide or the nanoparticles of homogenized fat – are already being used in real products, it seems that inventing food based mostly on Nanotechnology is unclear.
Is it realistic to consider Nanotechnology taking up on the whole product? According to experts, not really: such products are difficult to develop, and at the same time the question is if that is truly required. One of the participants based this claim on the experience of the health complications of the soldiers and astronauts already using such products. In addition, it seems that the public acceptance of such products is doubtful as well – the results of the GoNano Online consultation in the summer 2019 showed that such application is the most feared of all the applications of Nanotechnology. Experts therefore agreed that it could be more interesting and worth the effort to include such applications into packaging systems – to incl. additional substances or to be in general able to preserve the food, but rather externally.
This seems to be in line with what the other experts thought: it seems to be meaningful to concentrate the efforts to develop a packaging system that would be used for products that need to be kept fresh and safe at the same time – meat or cheese. Packages covering these products would use Nanotechnology layers that would proactively protect its content.
However, and quite curiously, participants agreed that it is important to consider the context of the wider waste management – to partially leave the strict requirements for self-dissolving packages, as this would only shift the problem to nanoscale. Since these packages would have to use artificial materials still and this could unexpectedly cause problems when recycling such materials or composting such materials. It was agreed that easier solution therefore exists on the other side: on the side of customer and his behaviour, and on the management of the whole life-cycle of a certain product. In other words, stakeholders agreed on the necessity and usefulness of involving many stakeholders from various fields, especially when it comes to such difficult questions, as only collective effort can complexly tackle such topics. And that is indeed what is desired.