Wine, Pizza, Cake, pickles, Meat, Jam. Do you know what’s common among these different food substances? If you guessed it correctly, good for you; for those who don’t have a clue as to what’s common between these universally different foods, it’s simple. Fermentation is the key to unlocking them all. Fermentation might be one of the most important processes in the history of humanity. A setup is evolving over a billion years of science and understanding of the microbial world. Fermentation is highly essential to all the food and beverage industries globally because there is a market so huge and wide that these anaerobic microbes tend to provide, and it is lucrative too!
So, what is Fermentation? Fermentation is the process wherein microbes like yeat react by releasing gases that chemically convert food’s cellular components. The yeast release gases that expand the product or increase its survivability (1). That’s why products like wine age for 1000 years, so the term “aged like fine wine.” Fermentation in food processing uses microorganisms-yeasts or bacteria-under anaerobic conditions to convert carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids. Normally, fermentation means that the action of microorganisms is desired.
Zymology (2) is known as the science of fermentation or zymurgy. Sometimes the term fermentation specifically refers to the chemical transformation of sugars into ethanol, producing alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer, and cider. However, the leavening of bread, which is the CO2 produced by yeast activity, and the preservation of sour foods with lactic acid production, such as sauerkraut and yogurt, are subject to similar processes. Vinegar, olives, and cheese are other widely consumed fermented foods.
The conversion of saccharides and other such carbohydrates into alcohol or organic preservative acids and carbon dioxide is food fermentation. Human uses have been found for all three products. When fruit juices are converted into wine, when grains are made into beer (3), and when foods rich in starch, such as potatoes, are fermented and distilled to make spirits such as gin and vodka, alcohol production is used. Leaven bread is used in the production of carbon dioxide. To preserve and enhance vegetable and dairy products, the production of organic acids is exploited. Food fermentation serves five main purposes: to enrich the diet through the development in food substrates of a variety of flavors, aromas, and texture s(4); to preserve substantial amounts of food through lactic acid, alcohol, acetic acid, and alkaline fermentation; to enrich protein, essential amino acids and vitamins in food substrates; to eliminate antinutrients and to reduce cooking time and cooking time.
The Market for a huge Industry element
Two mega-trends of rising consumption patterns in Europe are at the intersection of fermented foods: the demand for ‘natural’ products that supply added health benefits. Because fermentation is a natural process (5), it fulfills consumer expectations around ‘clean labeling’ and desires to avoid synthetic additives and preservatives. For products made with ingredients they recognize and trust, 73 percent of consumers said they are willing to pay a higher retail price. Benefits also carry health-related fermentation. Required enzymes, omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, and vitamin B are found in fermented foods. Fermented foods have been linked to positive digestive health across multiple categories, from environmental vegetables to health drinks and dairy products. Global Data analysts suggested that fermentation also appeals to millennial consumers looking for novel taste and texture experiences and international cuisines (6).
For thousands of years, fermented foods were consumed worldwide before any direct health benefits were truly understood. While the demand for functional foods from consumers is growing, the national recommendations do not follow suit. Now that the mechanisms by which these fermentations can have a beneficial impact on human health are starting to be elucidated, food guidelines are slowly starting to recommend their consumption around the world. Despite historical use and clinical trials proving the advantages of these fermented products in the diet, this inclusion is not universal. It is somewhat surprising, given the strong tradition of fermented foods in Asia, that they are not specifically included in the food guidelines. However, the Chinese Nutrition Society suggests yogurt intake for those who do not tolerate lactose well.
There is a huge demand for pharmaceutical and personal care fermentation ingredients, particularly antibiotics in the pharmaceutical and organic acids in personal care products (7). There is a huge demand for fermentation products across a wide range of pharmaceutical products, targeting practically every medical indication. Examples range from cytotoxic anticancer drugs and vaccines, antibiotics and vaccines for anti-infectious diseases, hormonal disorder therapy, and many other indications. Fermentation technology can help generate sustainable/green, ecologically friendly, organically certified, and naturally derived ingredients for cosmetic and personal care products. There has been a strong demand for fermentation ingredients in the food and beverage industry, mainly for baking products and beverages. The use of fermentation components in foods and beverages allows for improved nutrition. There has, therefore, been a greater demand for probiotics (8).
The ethanol market, which has higher ethanol demand, is supported by higher demand for clean fuel. The fermentation ingredients market is supported by higher demand for bio-based alcohols produced through fermentation. Comparatively lower costs than petroleum-based chemicals encourage biorefineries to promote the production of more fermentation ingredients. Higher alcoholic beverages that support alcohol production are encouraged by increased disposable income and a changing lifestyle (9).
Financial Stats for Fermentation
The United States is projected to grow at a high growth rate, and during the forecast period of 2017-2023, the country is expected to see 6 percent. As most fermentation ingredients such as alcohol and organic acid are produced in liquid form, the liquid form of fermentation ingredients held more than 56 percent market share in 2017. Chemical holds more than 62 percent market share in 2017 and food and beverages application, as most fermentation ingredients are manufactured in America to make different chemical products. As per the analysis, by 2023, the Market for fermentation ingredients is projected to reach 80 billion dollars with a CAGR of 7 percent globally. The Market’s growth is driven by the increased application of fermentation ingredients by the food and beverage industry. Approximately 41 percent held a significant market share, followed in 2017 by APAC (10).
Beet, sugarcane, tapioca, wheat, and corn are major raw materials used for production. These agro-derivatives contain high starch and carbohydrates, the major consumer of fermentation chemicals in the food industry. A growing worldwide population, particularly in the Asia Pacific region, is expected to increase food demand over the forecast period. Industrial fermentation for producing products such as bioplastics, biofuels, polymers, and composites is extremely complex, involving multi-stage reactions. The conversion uses enzymes or microorganisms that can be genetically modified, such as leaves and algae, and in bioreactors or fermenters (11). To isolate and purify the target products, subsequent downstream processing is required. As compared to synthetic production routes, the development of organic acids and alcohols is a time-consuming process with high holdup time and relatively low yields.
Health Benefits of Fermentation
Fermentation not only gives a unique sensory signature to fermented products but can also improve the nutritional value and digestibility of foods in several ways. Vitamins, antioxidants, and molecules that the fermentation process can produce lower blood pressure and inflammation. Beyond nutritional value, the intestinal microbes may be influenced by fermented foods containing live bacteria. Even though the microorganisms found in fermented foods tend to move temporarily through the gut, they may be able to influence the gut microbiota by out-competing undesirable microbes if consumed regularly (12). There is a link between fermented food consumption and the reduced risk of certain diseases exists. ‘Clinical studies focusing on the benefits of fermented dairy products such as yogurt have shown improvements in bone health, blood pressure, and reduced risks of heart disease and colon cancer.
Fermented foods have been forming a staple diet and structure of nutrition for nutritionists and in households. The wine is a fermented food from grapes that are crushed and brined in jars for days and even months. Sometimes, the best of wines are aged for years. Like pork, beef, Meat has been aging for months and years to deliver the best taste. Aged Meat usually grows a coat of fungus that softens the Meat than a banana. When soft can absorb all the flavors and the sour fermented juices inside, the Meat provides that ethereal taste. Pickles require fermentation. Usually dipped in a jar of vinegar and kept for hours until fermented (13).
These fermented food are never really dangerous until consumed in excess. If consumed in excess, the games that the microbes release could make one light-headed and drunk too. The alcohol industry does benefit from the process that gives them a billion-dollar market every year. The process takes time; thus, it requires years of man-planning and insurance in the process once you start because what’s best for the consumer takes years to pour in a glass. Thus, fermented foods do have a market that is exceptionally underrated and growing quickly.