Did you know that Monsanto is a “sustainable agriculture company”?
According to Monsanto’s Web site, that’s the number one thing you should remember about its chemically creative mission. Oh, and this too: “If there were one word to explain what Monsanto is about, it would have to be farmers.”
That finely composed image is more like a negative than a print. Once you lift it up to the light and reverse the image, the true picture appears. Senomyx excels in this same genre of mind-soothing slogans. It describes its mission as: “Sensing the future through innovation.”
The double meaning of the very first word is daring for this type of corporate bromide. “Sensing” the future: It could easily mean harmlessly predicting trends. Or, what else? For a company whose laboratories are birthing an array of new flavors for the exponentially expanding processed food market, to “sense” the future almost seems an aggressive act, a promise to make the next generation of food less real than ever before.
Senomyx is clearly enthusiastic about its work, and its Web site contains a surprising degree of openness about its products and goals. Here, pondering international opportunities, Senomyx dreams big: “All of Senomyx’s Savory Flavors have GRAS regulatory approval, which allows commercialization in the U.S. and other countries. Some also have approval in additional countries including China, the world’s largest MSG market. Nestlé SA, the world’s largest food company, and another Senomyx collaborator are currently marketing new and reformulated products that incorporate a Senomyx Savory Flavor in approximately 25 countries within Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America.”
The future promises to be sweet: “Senomyx has also discovered S6973, a modifier of sucrose (table sugar) that enables up to 50% reduction of sugar in numerous product prototypes while retaining the natural taste . . . The GRAS designation allows usage of S6973 in baked goods, cereals, gum, condiments and relishes, confectioneries and frostings, frozen dairy offerings, fruit ices, gelatins and puddings, hard and soft candy, jams and jellies, milk products, and sauces. During the first quarter of 2010, the GRAS status for S6973 was extended to instant coffee and tea, and imitation dairy products.”
It’s clear that Senomyx’s flavors are here to stay and will have a powerful impact on shaping the future of food. What’s also clear is that only true transparency can allow consumers, farmers and conscientious food companies to fight back — transparency that doesn’t rely on the nutrition panel, the one place where ingredients that sense the future never appear.
Learn more here: