Nestle uses a Star Trek concept in order to produce healthy meals. Well, that is not the first thing you expected to read this day, but yes – it’s true. Nestle, a brand we all know from their candy bars, Nespresso and hot chocolate now wants to take a stroll down health lane. The company got influenced by the Replicator, which was a machine featured in Star Trek, able to synthesize meals on demand. Nestle now wants to create something similar: a Nespresso-ish machine that can create meals with the exact right amount of vitamin D and minerals.
But stop daydreaming right away, because there will be many years to come before this mystery machine can be realized. However, it’s still an interesting project: ‘Iron Man’, by the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS). Yes, Nestle has something like a health science institute and it seems they are actually doing a pretty good job over there. A team, consisting of as menu as 110 people, is currently researching liks between mineral and vitamin deficiencies and illnesses such as cancer and diabetes.
Bloomberg got the chance to speak with NIHS director Ed Baetge, whereby the director explained the concept behind Iron Man exactly: “Iron Man is an analysis of what’s missing in our diets, and a product, tailored to you, to help make up that difference. In the past, food was just food. We’re going in a new direction.” Baetge also told the news website Iron Man-derived products would be way more effective than current multivitamin supplements.
Well, that didn’t surprise us too much, as today’s supplements are standardized and therefore not tailored to one’s specific needs. What, however, does surprise is an editorial by the Annals of Internal Medicine, linked to by Bloomberg, in which was stated current supplements have “no clear benefit and might even be harmful” – meaning a personalizing food machine is not just a handy, healthy tool, but could also be urgent.
So what Nestly therefore eventually wants to create is a machine that can tailor supplements that fit one’s individual needs. The machine could possibly 3D print the mixture into real meals. It could use Nespresso-ish power capsules in order to make that happen. The only problem for today’s situation is that we’re still years (read: at least a decade, so says the company) away from the commercial realization of this system, and improving the system is a very expensive thing to do. In addition, if you would like to get a profile of your own deficiencies and excesses, then it will cost you more than 1,000 dollars.
Nevertheless, there is a significant interest in creating personalized meals and that surely is great news for the world. A couple of months ago, we reported a story about the European Union, which is also working on a food printer to create personalized meals – in this case for the sick and elderly. Well, the more parties working on projects like these, the better the final system could become.
Image credits: Star Trek.