Coffee And Meat-Free Products Were Just Named 2022's Best Food Inventions

Every year, internationally respected news magazine Time names the year's best innovations in more than 25 categories in their The Best Inventions list. Categories run the gamut and include accessibility, artificial intelligence, beauty, entertainment, design, fitness, parenting, productivity, and robotics. And, of course, food and drink. We know there have been some great and seriously game-changing food inventions that came out of this past decade, so let's see what the 2020s have in store.

Last year, the 2021 winners included only three winners in the food and drink category. These included a food safe freshness preserver to keep takeout from getting soggy, a new shape of pasta that supposedly holds the perfect amount of sauce, and vegan sushi-ready tuna (per xtalks & Veg News).

But this year, Time was impressed with what the Food and Beverage industry had to offer and included nine winning innovators in the Food and Drink category. What makes a winner? According to Food Business News, Time accepts nominations from their editors and writers as well as from an application process.

Regardless of whether they are nominated, apply themselves, or others apply for them, all nominees are evaluated against the same criteria: "originality, efficacy, ambition and impact." With impact being one of the four major criteria on which the inventions are judged, it's no surprise that three of the nine best Food and Drink category inventions are plant-based meats (via Time).

Plant-based products and new ways to drink coffee lead the way in 2022

While it can at times feel like just a trendy buzzword, plant-based meats are a great way to reduce your environmental impact (per Harvard). That's right, something as simple as eating plant-based meat products can combat climate change, and you can keep that in mind when you're chowing down on one of this year's winners, the Beyond Steak.

This bad boy won because it re-creates the texture of steak through the magic of fava beans and wheat gluten. Those ingredients also help it maintain the high protein content you'd expect from a steak, without all the cholesterol and saturated fat (per Beyond).

Two other winners use fungi to create the perfect texture in their mock meats. MyForest Foods created MyBacon "the first-ever whole-cut mycelium-based bacon" from "nearly 100% mushroom root" (per Time). The product brings a meat-like texture and a small ingredient list. Fellow fungi foods innovators Meati created crispy cutlets and chicken cutlets from mushroom root.

The coffee winners also had an environmental impact. Atomo Coffee Inc. uses date seeds, chicory and similar ingredients to create products that are nearly identical to coffee but with a reduced environmental impact (via Food Business News). Coffee maker Cometeer created flash-frozen coffee "pucks" that consumers melt in water to create the drink of their dreams. Packaged in recyclable containers, these little "pucks" ensure a perfect cup every time.