- Food is arguably the second most important resource after water
- Food abundance and scarcity shape the world
- Eating is culturally critical
- Continued efforts are necessary to ensure health and well-being
The Importance of Food Science on Food Abundance: A Brief Statement
Food is one of the most important aspects of life. After water, food is likely the most important resource for humans and animals alike across the world. And similar to beverages, shelters, and protective garments, food has a deeply integrated and significant cultural relevance to all groups of people. From simple dishes such as steamed vegetables to the cutting edge scientific innovations in biomedical sciences, food represents a gathering of individuals to discuss events, share stories and life experiences, and enjoy each others company. Furthermore, food provides nourishment and essential vitamins and minerals needed for proper metabolic function. Without a healthy diet, we cannot properly grow and thrive.
Food presents unique dilemmas for global health and prosperity that other industries frequently do not need to consider. Despite the technological marvels of our modern age, food scarcity remains problematic throughout the world. This may manifest itself as poor food distribution and accessibility, or could simply be a lack of growing capacity in a given region. Can a certain crop grow in a region? Does a community have the resources to properly and safely prepare certain foods? Is there a reliable standard to health assurance? Just like a pharmaceutical or biomedical device company, food must pass a series of stringent health tests to make sure the end consumers are safe. Without these controls, communities can suffer from increased toxicity from contaminated foods. And similarly, limited crop growth due to poor farming practices or a lack of nutrient-rich soil can prevent the consumption of a diverse and nutrient rich diet, again leading to deficiencies and potential health conditions.
The lack of food (or access to food) leads to malnutrition, often resulting in the development of a variety of health conditions, and decreases the quality of life for the individuals suffering from food scarcity. Emaciation, developmental disorders, growth deficiencies, immunological deficiencies, and general wasting are all examples of potential (and preventable) problems that arise from a lack of access to food.
As such, it is imperative that we continue to strive to develop the food industry as well as the agricultural industry. Food provides us with the essential nutrients we need to grow and thrive, and is culturally significant to nearly all ethnic groups of people across the world. While food is considered to be of significant importance, food scarcity and the production of poor-nutrition foods continues to be problematic today. Through continued scientific innovation, we can create new growth conditions that allow for more diverse crops to be grown in nutrient-poor soil, or we can create better manufacturing techniques that are safer and easier to perform with limited resources. Finally, with continued innovation and effort, we can craft more nutrient-concious products that are tailored for consumers, to ensure they are receiving the healthiest options available to them. And, ideally, products that taste great as well!
Food science and innovation are critical to global health and prosperity and it really deserves a much deeper analysis then the brief discussion presented here. That said however, it is important to recall the importance of food, and the application of science to food. It is such an integrated aspect of our lives that we often do not think about what we are eating, how it was made, and where it comes from. Understanding these things however, and keeping the conversation and innovation going is what will allow us to ensure that no-one is without this basic human necessity.