Top 20 Food & Drink Innovations

By: Shivangi Kelkar

Recently, a team from the Royal Society of Fellows, UK ranked food and drink innovations to understand the role of science and innovation in improving our health and life. A steering group of 3 Fellows reduced a list of 100 food-related innovations, including foods such as instant coffee, down to a Top 20 List; innovations were then voted on by 45 Fellows of the Royal Society. The rankings were based on four criteria: accessibility, productivity, aesthetics, and health. Refrigeration topped the list, followed by pasteurization and canning!

Artificial refrigeration was first demonstrated by William Cullen at University of Glasgow in 1748 and then produced commercially in 1805. But fridges were not introduced into homes until the 1920s. The Royal Society said that refrigeration has played the biggest role in improving the diet of millions of people.

These modern innovations, however, beat the ancient inventions like the fishing net, the plough, and the cork… without which our ancestors would not have possibly survived!

The Top 20 Food and Drink Innovations:

1. Refrigeration

2. Pasteurization / sterilization

3. Canning

4. The oven

5. Irrigation

6. Threshing machine/combine harvester

7. Baking

8. Selective breeding / strains

9. Grinding / milling

10. The plough

11. Fermentation

12. The fishing net

13. Crop rotation

14. The pot

15. The knife

16. Eating utensils

17. The cork

18. The barrel

19. The microwave oven

20. Frying

Do you agree with this list? What innovation do you think should be number #1?

Photo source:

Science Meets Food

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