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TIME: The best foodbev inventions of 2021

Every year, TIME highlights inventions that are making the world better, smarter and even a bit more fun. Here are the 2021 foodbev laureates included in TIME’s top 100 innovations.

To assemble the 2021 list, TIME solicited nominations both from its editors and correspondents around the world, and through an online application process. It then evaluated each contender on key factors, including originality, creativity, effectiveness, ambition and impact.

The result: 100 groundbreaking inventions — featuring cutting-edge technology from disability-friendly hands-free sneakers, a supersonic plane, to Covid-19 vaccines — that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about what’s possible.

SAVRpak – non-soggy takeout

No one wants to eat a mushy meal — and with the SAVRpak, they won’t have to. It’s a peel-and-stick patch placed inside standard plastic takeout containers, clamshells, pizza boxes and paper bags to keep food fresh while in transit.

“Nothing tastes better when it’s soaked with water,” says Greg Maselli, SAVRpak’s co-founder and co-CEO. “You have chefs perfecting recipes and throwing them in a box only for them to become a steaming, soggy sop.”

SAVRpak solves the sogginess dilemma by extracting moisture from the air inside food containers before it turns into condensation on the surface of food. It’s also designed to minimize waste, as fewer mushy fries end up in the trash.

The product is being used in more than 20 countries and has been sold to more than 250 customers in the restaurant, grocery and produce business. The company recently signed an initial deal with DoorDash. The next move: adapting the tech to preserve produce sold in grocery stores. Read more here:

Cascatelli pasta – next-gen noodles

“No pasta shape was good enough for Dan Pashman, James Beard Award winner, creator and host of The Sporkful food podcast, The obsessive foodie judges pasta shapes on sauceability (how readily sauce adheres), forkability (ease of getting and keeping it on a fork) and tooth sinkability (how satisfying it is to sink your teeth into).

“Most of the pasta shapes out there are only good at one or two,” he says. So Pashman set out to create his dream pasta shape, an experience chronicled on The Sporkful podcast (listen below). Three years and several prototypes later, he finally unveiled Cascatelli (Italian for “waterfalls”), with a half-tube shape to catch sauce and ruffles to provide a dynamic bite, all in a short noodle that’s easily forked.

Now manufactured by Sfoglini ($19.96 for 4 lb), it’s sold nearly 300,000 lb since debuting in March. Read more here:

Kuleana – tuna without the fish

Tasty and nutritious plant-based alternatives for meat and chicken have been available for years. But seafood? Not so much. That’s the void that Kuleana is trying to fill with its 100% plant-based, sushi-grade, ready-to-eat tuna made from ingredients including algae, koji (a fungus that grows in East Asia), radish, bamboo and potato.

Deep red in colour and designed to be prepared as sushi, nigiri, carpaccio, poke or ceviche, the alt-tuna retains the iron, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acid of the real thing—without the microplastics, mercury or high cholesterol. And the benefits are more than nutritional — it may also help to alleviate reliance on industrial fishing in the face of increasing demand for fresh food.

The product is currently available at select markets in Los Angeles, restaurants in the Midwest and Poké Bar locations nationwide, with a wider rollout via e-commerce slated for the near future. Next on the menu: high-quality, sushi-grade, plant-based salmon. See more here:

Special foodbev mentions included:

Upside Chicken – Meat lovers uncomfortable with the thought of butchering animals rejoice: Upside Foods wants to relieve their agony with Upside Chicken, real chicken breast grown from cultured cells. Though it isn’t vegan (it still starts with chicken cells), the poultry — debuting later this year, pending regulatory approval — forgoes the slaughterhouse, reducing eaters’ guilt, as well as contamination risk and antibiotic use.

Melibio Honey without Bees – Bees make honey to feed their families, not sweeten your tea, and mass breeding threatens wild bee species by spreading viruses and boosting competition for food sources like flowers. MeliBio takes bees out of the supply chain with its lab-brewed molecular copy of honey, which has identical sweetness and viscosity to the real thing. It’s newly in production and shipping to restaurants and foodservice companies.

Waterdrop Microdrink – Waterdrop is an Austrian startup with a two-tiered mission: reducing the consumption of plastic bottles and avoiding unnecessarily long shipping routes. So, Waterdrop produces and sells sugar-free cubes made from fruit and plant extracts that dissolve in water. The cubes not only impart flavour, but also add vitamins to tap water.

SmartCups – SmartCups comprise printed flavourants on the surface of a biodegradable cup – to activate the drink consumers add water and the empty cup turns into a zero calorie, sugar-free energy drink. No stirring required. This delivery system print technology could be applied to a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, beverage, water purification and beyond.

Fellow Ode Brew Grinder – A next-level home grinder for brewed coffee, now in two colours. The Ode brings together the power and precision of a cafe-quality grinder with a sleek footprint designed for the home. Fellow designed it specifically to grind predictable and precise particle size for brewed coffee methods, like pour over, French press, and cold brew.

Garcon Wines Flat Wine Bottle – Welcome to the future of wine packaging rooted in multi award-winning, planet-friendly, flat bottles – smart cross-section designs of the traditional shapes to save space and made from pre-existing, recycled PET, not single-use plastic, to save energy and weight.

Source: See the full list here

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