Functional foods

Advances in nutritious packaged food are useful in space and on Earth

Modern humans are increasingly finding it necessary to eat in all sorts of situations never before deemed acceptable. Whether it’s a quick breakfast on the run, a bite at the desk between meetings or a power snack before working out at the gym, sitting down for three square home-cooked meals a day is rarely done anymore.

Fast and easy

Consumers demand fast, easy and packaged foods that are tasty, functional and healthy. Yet snacks on the run are seldom healthy. An epidemic of nutrition-related diseases, including obesity and diabetes, is the outcome.

Striking the right balance between easy, tasty and nutritious thus occupies many of the brightest minds in the world’s largest food companies. The result is an increasing range of foods engineered to achieve specific biomedical aims: controlling cholesterol or blood sugar levels, strengthening the bones, or optimising kidney function.

Space applications

Some of these advances are potentially useful for space missions. Astronauts’ bodies are exposed to unusual stresses, and have to rely on packaged, processed foods for sustenance, sometimes for many months at a time.

If you are interested in conducting food experiments in bed rest studies, on board the ISS and in marketing functional foods using ESA as an endorser, contact us.

Last update: 14 October 2005

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