Roughly, 12,500 years ago near present day Tucson, a small group used their collective talents and brought down a mastodon. Their efforts were rewarded with a feast that would last for weeks. With that, the premous of the mass food industry was born.
At its most basic, the food industry can be defined as a group of people getting together to supply food to even larger groups of people. For many millennia, we were responsible for our own food, spending most of our day foraging. But when we began to learn that we could do more together than we could alone, the beginnings of the food industry began.
As our agricultural skills increased, it became even easier to find ways to feed many. Shipping and other forms of transportation would allow people to live in cities while still able to access food from farms. Today, finding oranges in Oregon and fresh lobster in Nebraska is commonplace. But how did we get from here from there?
The understanding of food storage was a game-changer. Understanding that grains could be dried and kept for many months, prevented food from going to waste. Meats were heavily salted for long preservation and simple things like canning, corks, along with barrels extended, food’s life even longer.
Eventually, other technological advancements would forever change the food industry. Frying, fermentation, pasteurization, and refrigeration helped extend the life of food, made it taste better and made consumption safer. Food Sciences is a discipline that barely existed in the 18th and 19th centuries, but would soon become transformational.
In the early 1900s, vacuum sealing and mass produced pasta kicked the food industry into high gear. Refrigeration made it possible to transport food across the country. Within a couple of decades we learned to freeze dry, and by the time World War II came around we were dealing in concentrated, dehydrated, and frozen foods. Science also showed us how to enrich and fortify food with nutrients.
While the progress made in the food industry has been remarkable, there are still places on earth where a reliable supply of food is hard to come by. Further advancements in food science and technology are working toward closing the gap between “lands of plenty” and impoverished areas.
The next 100 years are expected to not only bring improvement to food preservation and distribution for our planet, but likely others. Today, scientists are studying how to best feed human explorers on Mars. Beyond that, how to actually grow food on a planet we’ve never visited.
Containment, mixing, and blending food additives is a big part of the work we do at Custom Powder Systems. We work in concert with food manufacturers to make the process efficient and safe. We even have a history of working with NASA, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility you might find our solutions instrumental in getting us to Mars someday…or at least feeding the humans that make it there!
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