transparency, technology, EU, consumer preference, food technologies, food industry

Document Type



Food and technology have had a long and tempestuous relationship. Current methods of food production and processing in the industrialized world depend heavily on technological developments. However, all technologies are not created equal. Some can produce food that is safer, more sustainable, more nutritious, or longer lasting. Some can have the opposite effect: increasing opportunities for adulteration, increasing the difficulty in detecting food fraud, and contributing to both foreseeable and unforeseeable health or ecological costs. Increasingly sophisticated technologies often become less apparent to the average consumer. For example, consider irradiated meat or genetically modified foods as opposed to freezer storage or homogenization. Some food technologies, like freeze-drying, tend to attract consumers. Others, like meat from cloned animals, tend to elicit negative reactions. This wide variety in applications of technology to food, as well as the range of consumer responses, leaves industry stakeholders and regulatory bodies with difficult choices concerning when and where to involve consumers.