Research aimed at food innovation holds great promise
September 08, 2009
by Morton Sosland
Word from Western Australia, one of that country’s major wheat producing states, of the establishment of the Centre for Grain Food Innovation ought to awaken grain-based foods in America to the potential of investing in research. Indeed, there has hardly ever been a time when progress in research dealing with grain-based foods, as well as the entire range of food, is more urgently needed than now. Amid the rising chorus of criticism aimed at how food is made and its nutritional contributions, the industry and its allies must look to science for support and future guidance.
In the case of Western Australia, focus is on a dual target — convincing Southeast Asian flour millers that wheat grown in the state is suitable for commercial baking and developing new food products with health benefits and taste characteristics that would give the state’s grain a competitive edge. Partners in this undertaking are the state’s Department of Agriculture and Food, Australia’s Scientific and Industrial Research Organization and Curtin University of Technology at Perth.
The Centre’s founding grew from the need to resolve issues in using Australian grain in major Asian import markets. Yet, its research focus provides a model for wheat farmers, millers and food manufacturers seeking not just to be innovative in product development but to come up with answers that address challenges to the underpinning of the entire food industry. Similar collaborations in America might offer great promise.