As a food scientist I get asked many questions, in this post I will begin to tackle just a few of them:
What is something that as a food scientist you now won’t eat?
Honestly? Hotdogs. I went to a factory and saw the meat before it was pumped into the casing… and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Imagine a giant pink soup that smells like raw meat. The visual alone could turn you off of sausages forever. Think about it, if this “all beef dog” was so good, how come they’re selling it for dirt cheap? Since hotdogs are created from finely ground up meat, the consumer (i.e you) can’t see what all of the meat originally looked like. What parts are they really putting into the hotdog, or any ground meat product (I’m talking about SPAM here people). Especially since all of the “good parts” are already being sold to high-end restaurants and grocery stores. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that there are plenty of good cuts of meat that the general public has never heard of (like a pork picnic). But most of a hotdog is left-over bits that they had to cut away from another pieces of meat for whatever reason. This means that these leftovers are what they are grinding up and putting into your beloved after-the-club street meat.
Do you only eat healthy, organic or natural foods?
No, well not purposefully anyway. Product development has taught me that marketing is out to scam lots of innocent consumers. It’s kind of terrible because I do think that there is a legitimate environmental reason for eating organic foods. In addition, young children would benefit a lot from reduced pesticide ingestion. I am trying to get better about buying organic fruits that I eat raw and have a soft skin. These types of produce, like berries, apples and pears, all have a higher amount of pesticides on them that can’t be washed away.
So is it your job to make things healthier?
Only if that’s what’s selling! The food industry will only make products that sell. If marketing shows that there is a need for a healthier option, then we will develop it. On the flip side, if their research shows that no one is going to buy it, then it’s not going to be made by me, the Product Developer. It’s all about branding and understanding how a product fits into a consumers’ mind. Is it a healthy snack loaded with whole grains, nuts and fruits? Or perhaps it’s their indulgent reward, where poor taste isn’t an option. There’s a method to every madness and a reason behind every item on a grocery store shelf.
If you have any questions leave a comment & I’ll answer the best ones in another post!