'Iron Man' programme aims to combat health issues caused by nutrient deficiency

Nestle developing ‘Star Trek’ food replicator

Food firm Nestle has launched a brand new research programme aimed at creating a real-life food replicator.

The company’s research arm, the Nestle Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS), has launched the programme, code-named ‘Iron Man’, as part of an effort to combat health issues using new foods and drinks.

The idea behind developing a way to create custom consumables is to provide food with vitamin and nutrient levels optimised for certain disorders – for instance, diabetes or heart disease.

NIHS director Ed Baetge told Bloomberg that one of the company’s proposed ideas involved an affordable coffee machine-like system, where pods filled with nutrients are used to create customised foods.

The concept of creating tailored foods and drinks from scratch is similar to the ‘replicator’ machines featured on the TV sci-fi classic Star Trek.

“Out comes your food at the press of a button,” explained Baetge.

“If we do this right, it can be the next microwave in your kitchen.”

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