Nestlé to create machine to give people “everything they need”. They should start with clean drinking water.

Nestle reveals secret project to build food ‘replicator’ that can create personalised meals to give people exactly the nutrients they need

Nespresso machine have taken the coffee world by storm – and now Nestle hopes a new food making system could have a similar effect on the way we eat.

The firm is developing a ‘food replicator’ that bosses describe as ‘the next microwave’.

It will deliver meals personalised for each user, with exactly the right balance of nutrients they need for a healthy diet.

Source: Daily Mail, 23rd June 2014

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Nestlé wants a Star Trek style ‘replicator’ that scans you to create nutritionally perfect food

It looks like 3D printers are going to give us the best chance to ‘dial up’ a meal science fiction style -but food giant Nestlé has gone one better and said they’re also working on a machine that can figure out the nutrients our body needs as well.

Bloomberg reports that the project (which has been inexplicably code-named ‘Iron Man’) would analyse an individuals’ dietary deficiencies, studying a range of factors from carbohydrates to cholesterol to produce highly personalized meals.

“Iron Man is an analysis of what’s missing in our diets, and a product, tailored to you, to help make up that difference,” Ed Beagle, the director of Nestlé’s Institute of Health Sciences research arm, told Bloomberg. “In the past, food was just food. We’re going in a new direction.”

Source: Independent, 24th June 2014

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Ah, the spirit of invention and innovation, alive and well Nestlé! Aren’t they a wonderful, forward-thinking, positive company about whom we should only have warm, fuzzy and happy thoughts – thoughts like the ones this press-release-published-as-news engender?

It’s almost enough to make one forget that Nestlé are a company who’ve been the subject of a widespread public boycott for over 30 years over their aggressive promotion of baby formula in developing countries with poor access to clean drinking water.

In fact, the positive-if-entirely-speculative story about something Nestlé have suggested they might look at in the future might have changed some people’s minds about the company – maybe.

Yet, there’s something slightly disingenuous about Nestlé’s claims to develop a machine that would give its user ‘exactly the nutrients they need’. After all, Nestlé Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe has only recently confirmed he recognises the importance of water to people, having previously argued that water is not a basic human right.

While it’s impossible to say whether the story about the future, possible, one-day development of an ‘everything you need’ machine is linked to Nestlé’s recent ‘we don’t actually think everyone *needs* access to water’ position, the timing is still interesting. Is there a food-security version of greenwashing?