Emerging trends and opportunities in food fermentation

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Shiferaw Terefe, Netsanet ORCID ID icon


Book Chapter

Food science reference module


Geoff Smithers

Food fermentation is a food processing process that utilises the metabolic activity of microorganisms for the stabilisation and transformation of food materials. Although ancient humans developed fermentation primarily for the stabilisation of perishable foods, the technology has evolved beyond food preservation into a tool for creating desirable organoleptic, nutritional, and functional attributes in food products. Fermented food products still make up a significant portion of the diet in developing countries and the Far East. On the other hand, with the advent of modern preservation techniques such as refrigeration, most traditional fermented foods have faded to the sidelines in the developed west. Nevertheless, there is a renewed interest in fermented food products in recent times mainly driven by the purported health benefits of such products. This is set to continue into the future in light of the increasing prevalence of metabolic syndromes such as obesity, various food allergies and intolerances (lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance etc.), life style choices such as vegetarianism and veganism, and increasing interest by consumers in everything perceived natural and promote health and longevity. Fermentation is also one of the key technologies that is being explored for the conversion of agro-food waste into high value products such as food ingredients, nutraceuticals, biofuels and industrial chemicals and will continue to play a significant role in the transition from the current fossil fuel based economy to the bio-based economy of the future.


Food fermentation, traditional fermented foods, novel fermented foods, fermentation and health

Food Processing



Book chapter


Shiferaw Terefe, Netsanet. Emerging trends and opportunities in food fermentation. In: Geoff Smithers, editor/s. Food science reference module. Elsevier; 2016. 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-100596-5.21087-1

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