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Will food in pills, produced by Nestle, be a reality?

Aggiornato il: 29 mar 2019

Nestlé laboratories are studying how to make complete foods with all the nutrients in capsules. The question is: can pills be really considered meals?

Nestlé scientists are studying ways to create a capsule food, whose codename is “Iron Man”, capable of feeding people with all the nutrients they need. The project is still at an embryonic stage and its implementation could take even years. But the premises for its development are encouraging.

Iron man will be able to identify the deficiencies of each diet and, after a careful analysis, churn out the right mix of molecules to reintegrate the missing substances or those present in wrong quantities. And those who love futuristic projections and science fiction scenarios already think that Iron Man could become a common household appliance in just a few years, as happened for the microwave.

In other words, if currently people barely know what their cholesterol or triglyceride levels are, consequently they can calibrate their diet, reducing seasoning, fats or sugars. In this case they will know exactly how much magnesium, potassium or vitamin B will be consumed every day to stay healthy.

The Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the idea is taking shape, is a very advanced structure. The “Iron Man Project” involves about fifteen students who have been working for about a year. In some Swiss laboratories there are about a hundred scientists who study the molecular secrets of nutrition, focusing not only on obesity, but also on the links between vitamin and mineral deficiencies and the development of health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer and tumours.

If from a medical point of view this project undoubtedly has its charm, because it promises interesting developments in the prevention and treatment of serious, degenerative and increasingly widespread diseases, from the culinary point of view, however, it sounds unattractive. Who could have the desire to replace a succulent dinner with a spoon full of pills? Perhaps not even the laziest people who do not like cooking, considering it a waste of time, would be willing to give up the pleasure a simple dish of pasta with sauce or a creamy tiramisù.

By Lavinia Buda, Marina Sborgia and Riccardo Paciocco

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