Researchers are working on a tasty treat that turns into a three-course-meal.
"We'll begin, with a spin, traveling in the world of my creation... what we'll see will defy explanation."
The lyrics to "Pure Imagination," a song from the movie Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory may be the inspiration for a team of scientists at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich. It is possible that in the very near future, the three course-meal that the character Violet Beauregarde enjoyed in the movie might be made available to everyone.
A medical advancement originally developed to release drugs into the body at different times could soon be offered up as a re-imagined three-course-meal. The researchers are using the technology to create a new type of gum that changes flavor as a person chews it.
Their development allows for different flavors to be held inside microscopic capsules. A special time-release formula means that various flavors can be enjoyed at separate times, with different courses each enclosed in different capsules.
"Tiny nanostructures within the gum would contain each of the different flavors. These would be broken up and released upon contact with saliva or after a certain amount of chewing – providing a sequential taste explosion as you chew harder," said Professor Dave Hart, a food scientist at the Institute.
Flavor molecules are secured inside of the capsules and encased in an oily shell before they can be absorbed into the food ingredients.
"Wonka's fantasy concoction has been nothing but a dream for millions of kids across the world. But science and technology is changing the future of food, and these nanoparticles may hold the answer to creating a three course gourmet gum, " said Hart.
The process was originally pioneered by Professor Tony Dinsmore, from the department of physics at the University of Massachusetts