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The Era of Cross Economy in FoodTech: Transforming 'Waste' into 'Wealth'

"Interview article invited by Chosun Biz to introduce the concept of 'Waste to Wealth."


I would like to share my interview article invited by Chosun Biz. It was my great pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce the concept of 'Waste to Wealth.'

If we can take the misshapen and deemed unsellable strawberries from the strawberry farm and utilize them to increase their value, then those imperfect strawberries cease to be waste. With the development of the necessary technological capabilities for utilization, what we once considered trash could become more valuable than gold.

The idea of a Circular Economy goes beyond traditional resource recycling. It involves discovering new uses for materials through engineering and technology, breaking free from the conventional mindset of 'this is how it should be used' or 'that's just waste.'

- Q: You recently introduced the concept of 'Cross Economy.' How can it be applied in the field of FoodTech?"

For example, about 30% of eggs worldwide are discarded. However, thanks to the development of technology to extract lipids from egg whites, eggs are now used in lipid nanoparticles (LNP) technology, a core drug delivery system for mRNA vaccines, creating substantial added value.

There are numerous similar cases. Pollen can be used to create steel or environmentally friendly sponges. Nickel and sulfur, once considered waste, are now highly prized materials for secondary batteries. We often label discarded agricultural products as 'waste.'

If we can increase the value of imperfect strawberries that are discarded due to their appearance or lack of marketability, then those strawberries aren't really waste. I'd like to say, "From Waste to Wealth." What we once considered trash could potentially be more valuable than gold. (Cho, N. J. (2022). Preparing for tomorrow with materials today. Materials Today, 61, 1-3.,

- Q: Are there similar cases to eggs?

Research on insects is another example. It's not about drying and grinding insects for human consumption as food. Instead, it's more important to conduct lipid research to understand how to eliminate bacteria or extract specific proteins. Have you heard that cockroaches can contract COVID-19 and still survive? Ever wondered why mosquitoes don't die while carrying viruses? Investigating these immune systems could yield interesting results. It's unfortunate that current research on edible insects focuses on generating very low added value.

- Q: Recently, there seems to be an increase in engineers entering agriculture due to the FoodTech boom.

Engineering students have immense potential to enhance productivity through technology and increase added value through processes such as AI in the agricultural sector. But, this alone is not enough. Why is rural farming not thriving despite these advancements? It's because we are not addressing fundamental issues.


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