An avocado energy bar, a “clean ingredient” tapioca coconut pudding, a Stevia-flavored natural peanut butter cup, and ice cream made with protein powder from fruit fly larvae rounded out the innovative food tech combinations created and presented by groups of students from a food product development course at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment in Rehovot.
The students, alongside some 300 attendees, participated in FoodTech Nation 2018 conference last month, an event held to celebrate the institution’s 75th anniversary. While showcasing future food products, the event also hosted food tech researchers, professors, investors, entrepreneurs, and academics including Dr. Oded Shoseyov, a Hebrew University professor of protein engineering and nano-biotechnology known for his 3D printing tech, and Dr. Alon Samish of the Davidson Institute of Science Education at the Weizmann Institute and the founder and CEO of Amai Protein, a computational protein design and biotech company.
Froy adds that Israel also makes sustainability a top priority. Froy suggests that food tech leadership may also stem from the challenges posed by growing crops in Israel’s dry climate.
Ahead of the event, American multinational International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) Company acquired Israeli company Frutarom, for $7.1 billion. A month before the buyout, Frutarom and the Israel Innovation Authority also announced the opening of FoodNxt, the fully-equipped innovation lab for food-tech startups in Israel’s north.
In the food product development course at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, students focus on topics such as raw materials and ingredients, why new products are developed, and new trends in the food industry. When they create their food products, they face limitations, as they would in the real world.
This year, in a course first, students were asked to share their food tech combinations and creations at the conference. The students were split into five teams, assigned a food topic which needed to be developed into a physical product, and collaborated with local food companies and startups to come up with their formulations.
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