Bisin: The Holy Grail of Food Manufacturers

August 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

I have to admit that ever since I started working in the Food industry my mind has molded into a food-mindset (that is: I learned how to cook – fairly well. I read a lot about food innovation, R&D. I watch the market movements of the key players)

Yesterday, I read news in the Telegraph about the “Holy Grail of the Food Industry”, but is it?.

If you haven’t read the article yet, it says that some microbiologists from the University of Minnesota discovered a new substance called Bisin that although harmless to human, kills most bacteria that triggers decomposition in fresh protein (meat, dairy, eggs) and prevents the growth of food-poisoning bacteria such as E.Coli, Salmonella and Listeria.

Even though “Bisin” is really great news for the overall world health by reducing if not eliminating all the cases of food-poisoning that frequently happen all over the world I have to question whether this is really the zenith of the food business.

I will take a devil’s advocate approach on this: If each year the world population throws away 100+ billion EUR worth of uneaten food, how will a decomposing-preventing substance affect the overall sales of our products?

Think about it, if as a consumer you don’t have to worry again about the best-by / use-by / expires date then it could mean a series of problems to major food manufacturers:

  1. The product never spoils so it will sit on the cupboard until eaten (that is a 100% product usage that currently most companies lack).
  2. If the product won’t decompose, then perhaps it’s a good idea to overstock à this represents a major supply chain issue for forecasting the demand.
  3. Using The Telegraph Xmas example, do you imagine eating that same turkey for 2 or 3 months? Perhaps this will be the collapse of the refrigerator’s industry? No more “Kitchen Nightmares”, no more “throw that piece of …. It has several weeks on the fridge”.

The good news: Is not only that we (consumers) are going to be safer and that some serious bacteria will hopefully be eradicated, but with that amount of food inventory to spare there shouldn’t be more famine episodes (either in Somalia, Africa nor the rest of the world).

My business approach:

  • I would try to get as much patented-protected substance as possible and start a R&D project that involves both food experts and consumers to understand the consequences of the usage on our product.
    • Will the cheese taste the same if you remove the fungus?
    • Will this Bisin react to ‘good bacteria’ (such as “probiotic”)
  • If I have “fresh products” (recently made, produced or harvested) I would start right away with some freshness brand building that will probably be a differentiating factor in the years to come
  • If I don’t have “fresh products” perhaps this is the moment to start looking for line extensions.
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§ 2 Responses to Bisin: The Holy Grail of Food Manufacturers

  • Kerry Kirschner says:

    Is freshness the “Holy Grail ” of the food industry, or are the molecules developed by Senomyx more important to society that interact with sweet taste receptors that allow manufacturers to reduce sugar content by 50% while delivering the same sweet message to the brain without the attendant obesity, heart, and diabetic diseases?

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