AIChE Journal Highlight: Innovating Food to Suit Consumers’ Needs


Food engineering (FE) has been important in bringing ubiquitous, abundant, safe, varied, and cheap food to a large proportion of the world’s population. However, modern consumers expect food suppliers (e.g., food processing industries, food service businesses, etc.) to satisfy the consumers’ personal wants and beliefs, as well as pay attention to ethical issues, sustainability, and more.

In the January 2018 AIChE Journal Perspective article, “Food Engineering into the XXI Century,” José Miguel Aguilera of Pontificia Universidad Catlóica de Chile discusses the main contributions FE might provide to the procurement and consumption of food in the future. He examines challenges and opportunities for the field and emphasizes the importance of innovation in the food service industry.

Aguilera starts by discussing the origins of FE and the evolution of the food industry. The goal of the food industry has always been to provide safe products (e.g., free of pathogens) with as long a shelf life as possible. Beginning in the 1950s, manufacturing operations in the food industry began applying engineering principles, such as heat and mass transfer, to their processes. The FE field drew from chemical engineering fundamentals, such as unit operations,...

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