Smart and modified foods

Functional properties of food

Resources to support teaching and learning about the functional properties of food

Smart and modified foods

Resources to support teaching and learning about smart and modified foods

Experiment sheets

Resources to support teaching and learning about food experiments

How to ....

Resources to explain how to carry out investigations, tests and practical activities

Product analysis

Resources to support teaching and learning about product analysis

Smart foods, sometimes known as modern/novel materials/foods, is a collective term for the study of new developments in materials.  The NC programme of study requires pupils to be taught about the working characteristics and application of modern and smart materials.

What does this mean to me the teacher?

Programme of Study requires smart materials to be TAUGHT about. Pupils are not required to USE smart and modern materials.

What is a smart/modern material?
Smart/modern materials are:

  • developed through the invention of new or improved processes, for example, as a result of 'man' made materials/ingredients or human intervention, in other words not naturally occurring changes;
  • altered to perform a particular function;
  • developed for specialised applications, but some eventually become available for general use.

Aren't all foods smart?
Many naturally occurring food ingredients are smart in that they respond to heat and light and some changes are reversible. Such working characteristics are already frequently exploited in food technology, e.g. colloidal systems (gels/sols).

So, what are smart foods?

QCA classify smart foods as:

  • modified starch (eg instant dessert mix that uses cold milk)
  • genetically modified foods
  • anti-oxidants
  • modified enzymes, e.g. chymosin
  • probiotic yoghurts/drinks
  • meat analogues, eg textured vegetable protein (TVP), myco-protein and tofu
  • functional foods, eg cholesterol lowering spread

The Foundation in association with the Design and Technology Association has produced a Smart Foods booklet. A Smart Foods poster which was produced in BNF Education News last term (now out of print) is available on-line as a pdf file. A BNF PowerPoint Presentation is available on Smart Foods.

Note: This information was developed for the previous NC in England. It has been posted in response to demand from teachers. The materials have not been updated.