What Makes Food Good?

9 Jul 2013

This is a question best considered on a sun-drenched terrace overlooking a lake with snow-capped mountains in the background! At your right hand is a glass of good wine; an empty plate has probably just been taken away. Has that got you in the right mood? What makes food good? Ask different people and you […]

What Makes Food Good?

This is a question best considered on a sun-drenched terrace overlooking a lake with snow-capped mountains in the background! At your right hand is a glass of good wine; an empty plate has probably just been taken away. Has that got you in the right mood?

What makes food good? Ask different people and you will get different answers. Some will look for low fat, high fibre products, whilst others place more emphasis on natural colours and sweeteners. For still others who struggle with intolerance or allergies, good food is simply something they can safely consume. The beauty of this industry is that there are plenty of right answers and very few wrong ones. It is a credit to what we do that our aims are to make the most of the food we have and to offer improved options to the consumers.

In times when almost 25% of all Germans are obese (BMI of over 30), as well as 60% of men and 43% of women who are overweight (BMI 25-30), the alarm bells are ringing. For the ever-growing numbers of senior citizens, the figures are even higher. Estimates that this will cost the German health service up to €25.7 billion are beginning to look conservative. Other countries can tell the same story. Food scientists around the globe are looking for solutions.

What is good? The obvious nutritional and physical strength-giving roles cannot be ignored, but food is also responsible for our spiritual wellbeing. Whether it is true or not that chocolate makes us happier, or that coffee helps us keep awake, is not so important. The perception that specific foods give us a particular boost is very interesting. Good taste and texture are also relevant. Who has never paused to enjoy a delightfully soft and creamy ice has never lived. I have had a certain personal experience in this. Bad taste and texture will disappoint us.

The concept of reward can also make food good. Waiting for fruit to ripen in the garden (in the proper season) makes it more special than buying it any time of year in the supermarket. My wife was once overjoyed when I brought her favourite jam from France, which is not available at home: “A piece of toast with freshly imported Confiture au lait and some milky Chai tea and the world feels a better, friendlier, warmer, softer place…”

We are fortunate to be part of an industry which will always play a role in people’s daily lives: “We will always need to eat” is an encouraging truth in times of trouble. We will always need to eat, but what we eat is getting better and better and the consumer appreciates this. The food we put on tables is good food.

What makes food good? When you have eaten, and enjoyed, on a sun-kissed terrace and hear the water gently lapping against the shore and the person opposite shares your pleasure, then you know the food was good.

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