Anyone who has spent a day fasting from food, or who has even skipped a meal, knows just how much time we save when we are not provisioning and consuming meals. Of course, efficiency is not our only concern when it comes to eating. If we were to articulate our fundamental requirements for food, we would probably come up with the following: (1) it should give us the nutrition our bodies need; (2) it should support our body transformation goals (e.g. lose fat or gain muscle); (3) it should taste good; (4) it should be convenient. Foods that meet two or three of these requirements quickly become a mainstay in most diets.
A new development in nutrition research called ‘capsulized food’ aims to exceed these requirements. Pennsylvania-based Protica Research is the first of what will likely be many companies dabbling in this new food frontier. Among other development initiatives on their roster, Protica Research engineers liquid foods that are ultra-compact, nutrient-dense, and above all else, very palatable. Their first product, Profect®, delivers 25 grams of protein and the complete spectrum of water-soluble vitamins in less than three fluid ounces. This on-the-go nutrition has some consumers re-thinking their traditional eating habits. An examination of the four fundamental requirements for food will help explain why.
Nutrition. It is our first priority when it comes to eating. While it is not always on the front of our minds when we reach for food, it is the reason we eat. There are many nutrient-rich and nutrient-poor foods available to us, and we must always consume our fair share of nutrient-rich foods for the sake of our health, well-being and energy level.
The challenge is that nutrient-dense foods—such as milk, eggs, fish, and chicken—are not always within arms reach. Snacks, junk food and fast food generally are. It often takes too much effort for a busy person to procure the necessary vitamins and protein, and so we end up going without. This can hurt us in the long run as our immune system and energy levels suffer. Studies have shown that many of the so-called ‘junk food junkies’ and ‘fast food addicts’ would prefer eating nutritionally sound foods if they were within arm’s reach.
SUPPORTING BODY TRANSFORMATION GOALS
For many of us, we keep a careful eye on the foods we eat. Either we are trying to lose fat, gain muscle, or maintain what we have. Whether we are browsing the supermarket aisles or a restaurant menu, we find ourselves looking for foods that are consistent with these goals.
For some, low-carbohydrate foods are at the top of the shopping list. These consumers have become more aware of the health risks and weight gain associated with eating carbohydrate-rich foods. For others, low-fat foods are the order of the day. Still others seek a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
The common denominator in all of these diets is protein, along with the supporting micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals.
While it is possible to get vitamins and protein without fat or carbohydrates when you are cooking at home, it is a much taller order to do that in a compact transportable meal. Manufacturers like EAS and Protica Research offer high protein beverages to support any transformation goals. Protica’s Profect provides a full 25 grams of protein and the complete spectrum of water-soluble vitamins. The important point for the diet conscious, however, is that all of these nutrients come without the cost of fat and carbohydrates. This allows your body to maintain health and energy without weighing you down with unnecessary carbohydrates or fat.
For most of us, the taste of a product determines whether we make it part of our dietary regimen. No amount of nutrition can make up for a poor taste. Food manufacturers have learned this lesson well in recent years, as many nutritious products have been pulled from supermarket shelves due to lackluster taste. As consumer expectations have continued to rise, a plethora great-tasting and nutritious food products have entered the market. Capitalizing on this fact, Protica Research developed a line of flavors for its capsulized protein beverage that target age groups from adolescents to seniors. Double-blind taste tests have shown that the flavor profile of Profect is indistinguishable from non-carbonated fruit drinks on the market.
Every once in a while, maybe even every evening, we want to sit down to a well-set table and share a meal with family or friends. Capsulized food is not about taking this important ritual out of our lives, and it is not about replacing fresh foods. The reality of living in the 21st century is that most people spend their day working, and this means the kitchen or garden is inaccessible. This is true for stay-at-home moms as well as business executives putting in long days at the office.
This on-the-go lifestyle is not compatible with eating nutritious meals. The difficulty of finding time for a proper meal has led many people to become dependent upon compact snack or junk foods that they can keep in their purse or briefcase. These compact foods have become a mainstay of the American diet because they are portable and can be consumed quickly. However we often find that the portability, and thus the convenience, of these foods is lacking. The traditional convenience foods that we can find in grocery and convenience stores are not generally packaged with rough transportation in mind. The packaging of many food and beverage products accidentally break open after they have spent time in a bag or purse.
Another common complaint surfaces once the packaging is opened. Many convenience foods—meal replacement bars, for example—are sticky or crumbly. You can also find yourself reaching for water to wash them down. Problem is, convenience should mean ‘napkins and water not required’.
While portability and quick consumption are two things that we have come to look for in a convenient food, these traits are often illusive.
Protica Research offers two innovations when it comes to convenience. First, their Profect protein beverage is a liquid—and weighs less than three fluid ounces—which means that you can quickly and easily consume it even while on the run. Second, Profect takes portability to a new level by packaging it in a patent-pending, virtually unbreakable container. This means that it can be taken absolutely anywhere, and you will not have to worry about your meal ending up all over your purse or briefcase.
HOW TO MEET OUR MODERN NUTRITION NEEDS
The advent of health-consciousness has come at a time when our lifestyles are increasingly hectic. This means that people are looking for a healthy, nutritious, and portable food that is quick to consume. In order to meet this demand, the food industry must adapt and respond. Companies like Protica Research are developing capsulized foods that will deliver on-the-go nutrition that is more portable, more convenient and more palatable than its predecessors.