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Why the World Needs Processed Food

This recent article in WIRED magazine makes some great points about “processed food”. Here are a few excerpts:

  • “Processed foods have brought us countless benefits, many of which we quickly forget.” (So true! Many don’t realize that not long ago people used to frequently get sick and even die from improperly processed foods.)
  • “The problem with most UPFs (“Ultra Processed Foods”) is that they are higher in calories, sugar, and fat. And they’re lower in protein and fiber, the nutrients that keep us full.” (Personally, I think this is the main reason that UPF’s are associated with poor health.)
  • “But this isn’t inherent to food processing itself. What matters is what corporations add to our food. They can create healthier foods if they want to—or if we demand it.” (Yes! Healthy processed foods are not only possible but necessary to eliminate food waste and feed the planet.)
  • “…used in the right way and in moderation, processed foods could be a big boon for global nutrition. Stigma against them hinders such efforts, so rather than shunning food processing, we should embrace it in the appropriate contexts.” (The plants and animals that make up our diet will not last long without some kind of processing or special storage. Freezing and refrigeration are costly and bad for the environment. We need to take advantage of all types of food processing to prevent spoilage and ensure enough healthy food for everyone.)
  • “…we need to stop throwing all processed foods into one group. The problem is not the process itself; it’s what we add and how we do it. We can use processing to enhance nutrition or hinder it. We can embrace it where it adds value and boycott it where it doesn’t.”
  • “The backlash against food processing is a luxury that the world can’t afford to embrace. It’s not good for people or the planet. Nutritionally sound processed foods are one of many tools that will help nourish billions without destroying the environment.”

The point here is that “food processing” is not all one thing. It is comprised of many different tools used to make food more delicious, nutritious and last longer. Like any tools, food processing techniques and ingredients can be used to enhance or detract from the nutritional value (and flavor!) of food. That is where the skills of a food scientist are important!

Fortunately Yumbini was developed by a food scientist with over 40 years of experience focused on healthy eating. And we are all about “using processing to enhance nutrition” (with whole plant based foods by the way) and avoid destroying the environment. Because our mission from the very beginning has been to provide convenient, nutritious meals that are accessible to everyone. Our beans and lentils have the lowest carbon footprint of any protein source. Combined with rice, they form a complete protein. Being dehydrated makes Yumbini lightweight and energy efficient to store and transport without refrigeration. And Yumbini contains no meat, allergens or other additives so it can be enjoyed by all.

So next time you hear that “processed food” is bad, ask yourself “what are they really talking about?”

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