Special Issue "Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food"

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Security and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2022 | Viewed by 7294

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Maria Lisa Clodoveo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine, University of Bari, Bari, Italy
Interests: emerging food technologies; food process scale-up; functional foods; food by-product; sustainability; circular economy; unitary operations of the gastronomic sciences
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2018 provided a definition of "food systems" highlighting that they "encompass the entire range of actors and their interlinked value-adding activities involved in the production, aggregation, processing, distribution, consumption and disposal of food products that originate from agriculture, forestry or fisheries, and food industries, and the broader economic, societal and natural environments in which they are embedded".    

The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a stop that has caused the population to rethink their lifestyles, production, and consumption, also accelerating the transformation progress necessary in light of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015—which provides a shared blueprint for the peace and prosperity of people and the planet, now and in the future.

Actual food systems account for nearly one-third of global GHG emissions; consume large amounts of natural resources; result in biodiversity loss and negative health impacts (due to both under- and over-nutrition); and do not allow fair economic returns and livelihoods for all actors, in particular, for primary producers.

With regard to these observations, innovations should aim to develop the following food systems:

Inclusive: ensuring economic and social inclusion for all food system actors, especially smallholders, women, and youth;

Sustainable: minimizing negative environmental impacts, conserving scarce natural resources, and strengthening resiliency against future shocks;

Efficient: producing adequate quantities of food for global needs while minimizing postharvest loss and consumer waste;

Nutritious and healthy: enabling the consumption of a diverse range of healthy, nutritious, and safe foods.

These are ambitious goals that will require multidisciplinary effort—from engineering to life sciences, biotechnology, medical sciences, social sciences, and economic sciences.

New technologies and scientific discoveries are the solution to the increasing demand for sufficient, safe, healthy, and sustainable foods influenced by the increased public awareness of their importance.

This Special Issue will focus on innovations in the food system in the following research areas:

  • Agricultural science: innovative and sustainable methods to increase the productivity and quality of agricultural and livestock products by reducing the use of natural resources and new food sources to improve the quality of life of citizens and stakeholders;
  • Food engineering and food science and technology: innovative processing plants and new technologies with the aim to develop sustainable and value-added food products (e.g., superior quality, quick to prepare, and cheap), including the valorisation of by-products, shifting from a linear to a circular economy in the agrifood domain;
  • Food microbiology: microorganisms and transformations of animal and raw plant materials in edible fermented foods with high nutritional value that are rich in bioactive compounds beneficial to consumers;
  • Food chemistry: investigation into the chemical composition, nutritional value, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects of functional and novel foods due to bioactive compounds in foods, including studies of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics;
  • Nutritional science: in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo studies to ascertain the health benefits of novel ingredients, functional foods, personalised nutrition and diets;
  • Economy and social science: economic, social, and environmental impacts of new processes, product development, and consumer behaviour;
  • Food law: new policies and frameworks to ensure food safety, safeguard the environment, and protect consumers, farmers and other food workers with the aim to prepare and serve a safe and balanced food future, in step with the changes in the world of production and consumption.
  • Food City Region e Urban Food Policy: the study of food policies in the city, forms and practices related to food from urban agriculture and new farming practices and from markets close to sale and consumption with particular emphasis on the fight against waste and waste management.
  • IoT, big data and artificial intelligence: the role of IoT and big data analysis in agriculture (greenhouse monitoring, intelligent farm machines, and satellite and drone-based crop imaging), supply chain modernization in food industry, food quality assessment (using spectral methods and sensor fusion), and food safety (blockchain based digital traceability).

Authors are invited to submit original articles, reviews, and meta-analyses for inclusion in this Special Issue.

Dr. Maria Lisa Clodoveo
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • innovative agricultural practices
  • novel food processing technologies
  • sustainable food chains
  • circular economy
  • functional foods
  • novel foods
  • healthy diets
  • economic, social, and environmental impacts of new processes and products
  • consumer behaviour
  • IoT
  • big data and artificial intelligence in agriculture and food industry

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
“Food Village”: An Innovative Alternative Food Network Based on Human Scale Development Economic Model
Foods 2022, 11(10), 1447; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11101447 - 17 May 2022
Viewed by 223
Abstract
Although the different alternative food networks (AFNs) have experienced increases worldwide for the last thirty years, they are still unable to provide an alternative capable of spreading on a large scale. They in fact remain niche experiments due to some limitations on their [...] Read more.
Although the different alternative food networks (AFNs) have experienced increases worldwide for the last thirty years, they are still unable to provide an alternative capable of spreading on a large scale. They in fact remain niche experiments due to some limitations on their structure and governance. Thus, this study proposes and applies a design method to build a new sustainable food supply chain model capable of realizing a “jumping scale”. Based on the theoretical and value framework of the Civil Economy (CE), the Economy for the Common Good (ECG), and the Development on a Human Scale (H-SD), the proposed design model aims to satisfy the needs of all stakeholders in the supply chain. Max-Neef’s Needs Matrix and Design Thinking (DT) tools were used to develop the design model. Applying the design method to the food chain has allowed us to develop the concept of the “Food Village”, an innovative food supply network far from the current economic mechanisms and based on the community and eco-sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food)
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Article
Food from the Depths of the Mediterranean: The Role of Habitats, Changes in the Sea-Bottom Temperature and Fishing Pressure
Foods 2022, 11(10), 1420; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11101420 - 13 May 2022
Viewed by 382
Abstract
As part of the “Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food” Special Issue, this paper briefly reviews studies that highlight a link between deep-sea fishery resources (deep-sea food resources) and vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME), species, and habitats in [...] Read more.
As part of the “Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food” Special Issue, this paper briefly reviews studies that highlight a link between deep-sea fishery resources (deep-sea food resources) and vulnerable marine ecosystems (VME), species, and habitats in the Mediterranean Sea, providing new insights into changes in commercial and experimental catches of the deep-sea fishery resources in the central Mediterranean over the last 30 years. About 40% of the total landing of Mediterranean deep-water species is caught in the central basin. Significant changes in the abundance of some of these resources with time, sea-bottom temperature (SBT), and fishing effort (FE) have been detected, as well as an effect of the Santa Maria di Leuca cold-water coral province on the abundance of the deep-sea commercial crustaceans and fishes. The implications of these findings and the presence of several geomorphological features, sensitive habitats, and VMEs in the central Mediterranean are discussed with respect to the objectives of biodiversity conservation combined with those of management of fishery resources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food)
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Article
Composite of Layered Double Hydroxide with Casein and Carboxymethylcellulose as a White Pigment for Food Application
Foods 2022, 11(8), 1120; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11081120 - 13 Apr 2022
Viewed by 333
Abstract
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is commonly used in food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries as a white pigment due to its extraordinary light scattering properties and high refractive index. However, as evidenced from recent reports, there are overriding concerns about the safety of [...] Read more.
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is commonly used in food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries as a white pigment due to its extraordinary light scattering properties and high refractive index. However, as evidenced from recent reports, there are overriding concerns about the safety of nanoparticles of TiO2. As an alternative to TiO2, Mg-Al layered double hydroxide (LDH) and their composite containing casein and carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) were synthesized using wet chemistry and compared with currently used materials (food grade TiO2 (E171), rice starch, and silicon dioxide (E551)) for its potential application as a white pigment. These particles were characterized for their size and shape (Transmission Electron Microscopy), crystallographic structure (X-Ray Diffraction), agglomeration behavior and surface charge (Dynamic Light Scattering), surface chemistry (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy), transmittance (UV–VIS spectroscopy), masking power, and cytotoxicity. Our results showed the formation of typical layered double hydroxide with flower-like morphology which was restructured into pseudo-spheres after casein intercalation. Transmittance measurement showed that LDH composites had better performance than pristine LDH, and the aqueous suspension was heat and pH resistant. While its masking power was not on a par with E171, the composite of LDH was superior to current alternatives such as rice starch and E551. Sustainability score obtained by MATLAB® based comparison for price, safety, and performance showed that LDH composite was better than any of the compared materials, highlighting its potential as a white pigment for applications in food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food)
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Article
A Search Engine Concept to Improve Food Traceability and Transparency: Preliminary Results
Foods 2022, 11(7), 989; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11070989 - 29 Mar 2022
Viewed by 459
Abstract
In recent years, the digital revolution has involved the agrifood sector. However, the use of the most recent technologies is still limited due to poor data management. The integration, organisation and optimised use of smart data provides the basis for intelligent systems, services, [...] Read more.
In recent years, the digital revolution has involved the agrifood sector. However, the use of the most recent technologies is still limited due to poor data management. The integration, organisation and optimised use of smart data provides the basis for intelligent systems, services, solutions and applications for food chain management. With the purpose of integrating data on food quality, safety, traceability, transparency and authenticity, an EOSC-compatible (European Open Science Cloud) traceability search engine concept for data standardisation, interoperability, knowledge extraction, and data reuse, was developed within the framework of the FNS-Cloud project (GA No. 863059). For the developed model, three specific food supply chains were examined (olive oil, milk, and fishery products) in order to collect, integrate, organise and make available data relating to each step of each chain. For every step of each chain, parameters of interest and parameters of influence—related to nutritional quality, food safety, transparency and authenticity—were identified together with their monitoring systems. The developed model can be very useful for all actors involved in the food supply chain, both to have a quick graphical visualisation of the entire supply chain and for searching, finding and re-using available food data and information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food)
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Article
A Tara Gum/Olive Mill Wastewaters Phytochemicals Conjugate as a New Ingredient for the Formulation of an Antioxidant-Enriched Pudding
Foods 2022, 11(2), 158; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11020158 - 08 Jan 2022
Viewed by 363
Abstract
Olive mill wastewater, a high polyphenols agro-food by-product, was successfully exploited in an eco-friendly radical process to synthesize an antioxidant macromolecule, usefully engaged as a functional ingredient to prepare functional puddings. The chemical composition of lyophilized olive mill wastewaters (LOMW) was investigated by [...] Read more.
Olive mill wastewater, a high polyphenols agro-food by-product, was successfully exploited in an eco-friendly radical process to synthesize an antioxidant macromolecule, usefully engaged as a functional ingredient to prepare functional puddings. The chemical composition of lyophilized olive mill wastewaters (LOMW) was investigated by HPLC-MS/MS and 1H-NMR analyses, while antioxidant profile was in vitro evaluated by colorimetric assays. Oleuropein aglycone (5.8 μg mL−1) appeared as the main compound, although relevant amounts of an isomer of the 3-hydroxytyrosol glucoside (4.3 μg mL−1) and quinic acid (4.1 μg mL−1) were also detected. LOMW was able to greatly inhibit ABTS radical (IC50 equal to 0.019 mg mL−1), displaying, in the aqueous medium, an increase in its scavenger properties by almost one order of magnitude compared to the organic one. LOMW reactive species and tara gum chains were involved in an eco-friendly grafting reaction to synthesize a polymeric conjugate that was characterized by spectroscopic, calorimetric and toxicity studies. In vitro acute oral toxicity was tested against 3T3 fibroblasts and Caco-2 cells, confirming that the polymers do not have any effect on cell viability at the dietary use concentrations. Antioxidant properties of the polymeric conjugate were also evaluated, suggesting its employment as a thickening agent, in the preparation of pear puree-based pudding. High performance of consistency and relevant antioxidants features over time (28 days) were detected in the milk-based foodstuff, in comparison with its non-functional counterparts, confirming LOWM as an attractive source to achieve high performing functional foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food)
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Article
Dairy Products with Certification Marks: The Role of Territoriality and Safety Perception on Intention to Buy
Foods 2021, 10(10), 2352; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10102352 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 904
Abstract
Over the years, the territorial origins of agri-food products have become a consolidated marketing model which stand as an alternative to mass production. References to territory, whether on packaging or in advertising, have become an increasingly popular way for marketers to differentiate products, [...] Read more.
Over the years, the territorial origins of agri-food products have become a consolidated marketing model which stand as an alternative to mass production. References to territory, whether on packaging or in advertising, have become an increasingly popular way for marketers to differentiate products, by attributing specific characteristics to them, derived from specific cultural identities and traditions. The aim of this study is to capture the possible differences between two groups, Italian and French, in the perception and intention to buy products with certification marks. We tested a multi-group structural equations model, assessing the mediation of the Perceived Product Safety (PPS) between Packaging with reference to Territoriality (PT) and Intention to Buy (IB). Our findings show that in both groups PT has a positive association with IB and PPS and that PPS has a positive association with IB. The difference is the mediation of PPS, present only in the Italian group. This opens important considerations on the role of the perception of safety, particularly in the pandemic period, in the presentation of products, particularly in products with certification marks linked to sustainability and territoriality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food)
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Article
Application Research: Big Data in Food Industry
Foods 2021, 10(9), 2203; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10092203 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1157
Abstract
A huge amount of data is being produced in the food industry, but the application of big data—regulatory, food enterprise, and food-related media data—is still in its infancy. Each data source has the potential to develop the food industry, and big data has [...] Read more.
A huge amount of data is being produced in the food industry, but the application of big data—regulatory, food enterprise, and food-related media data—is still in its infancy. Each data source has the potential to develop the food industry, and big data has broad application prospects in areas like social co-governance, exploit of consumption markets, quantitative production, new dishes, take-out services, precise nutrition and health management. However, there are urgent problems in technology, health and sustainable development that need to be solved to enable the application of big data to the food industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food)
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Review

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Review
Exploring the Future of Edible Insects in Europe
Foods 2022, 11(3), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11030455 - 03 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
The effects of population increase and food production on the environment have prompted various international organizations to focus on the future potential for more environmentally friendly and alternative protein products. One of those alternatives might be edible insects. Entomophagy, the practice of eating [...] Read more.
The effects of population increase and food production on the environment have prompted various international organizations to focus on the future potential for more environmentally friendly and alternative protein products. One of those alternatives might be edible insects. Entomophagy, the practice of eating insects by humans, is common in some places but has traditionally been shunned in others, such as European countries. The last decade has seen a growing interest from the public and private sectors to the research in the sphere of edible insects, as well as significant steps forward from the legislative perspective. In the EU, edible insects are considered novel foods, therefore a specific request and procedure must be followed to place them in the market; in fact, until now, four requests regarding insects as a novel food have been approved. Insects could also be used as feed for livestock, helping to increase food production without burdening the environment (indirect entomophagy). Market perspectives for the middle of this decade indicate that most of the demand will be from the feed sector (as pet food or livestock feed production). Undoubtedly, this sector is gaining momentum and its potential relies not only in food, but also in feed in the context of a circular economy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food)
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Review
Overview on Innovative Packaging Methods Aimed to Increase the Shelf-Life of Cook-Chill Foods
Foods 2021, 10(9), 2086; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10092086 - 03 Sep 2021
Viewed by 738
Abstract
The consumption of meals prepared, packaged, and consumed inside and outside the home is increasing globally. This is a result of rapid changes in lifestyles as well as innovations in advanced food technologies that have enabled the food industry to produce more sustainable [...] Read more.
The consumption of meals prepared, packaged, and consumed inside and outside the home is increasing globally. This is a result of rapid changes in lifestyles as well as innovations in advanced food technologies that have enabled the food industry to produce more sustainable and healthy fresh packaged convenience foods. This paper presents an overview of the technologies and compatible packaging systems that are designed to increase the shelf-life of foods prepared by cook–chill technologies. The concept of shelf-life is discussed and techniques to increase the shelf life of products are presented including active packaging strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovations in the Food System: Exploring the Future of Food)
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