Future Food

Reporter: Jackie Quist

Its called the Candwich -- a sandwich in a can - and it's set to become the world's latest fast food fad. It's the brainchild of Utah businessman Mark Kirkland. "Its just a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a year from now, you can open this can it will still be fresh and soft", Mark said.

"Right now we've got peanut butter and jelly; a strawberry and a grape; we'll have a pepperoni pizza; BBQ chicken; BBQ beef; French toast and we're coming out with a cinnamon roll with a choc drizzle to put on it", he added. All perfectly edible at a year old. "You remove the oxygen from the packaging -- with the packaging there's an oxygen absorber in the container in the can -- you control the ph levels, you control the water levels and that's done with the recipes. So controlling those things no organism can grow if you do it properly", Mark said.

Candwiches don't even require refrigeration, they can roll around your car for months and they're headed down under, fitting neatly into a vending machine near you. "I have requests for them right now, so we will be shipping samples probably the first part of September and hopefully be on sale in there before the end of the year", Mark said. Weird and whacky - yes; unusual -- not any more. These days cans give birth to whole chickens and who could stomach a canned cheeseburger -- simply boil and eat. "Canning has come a long way", said Scott Martin. And Scott should know -- he's the local face of Spam. ..After 73 years Spam is as popular as ever, reaping $7 billion a year in the USA and $20 million in Australia. Manufacturer Hormel are now looking to the future. "The shoppers do love the pouches, they represent a good option to the cans", Scot said.

Slow cooked and sealed, everyone from Jessica Watson to Disneyworld revellers enjoy lamb shanks in a bag -- no refrigeration necessary and good for up to 18 months, this kind of long-life, shelf stable food is increasing in popularity. So, who better to test the foods of the future than the chefs of tomorrow. At the William Angliss Institute Chef Scott Cavanagh and his cookery students put these latest culinary offerings through their paces -- powdered potato, canned pie, canned chicken, and the latest product on offer, powdered eggs. "The only product I'd personally use is the egg powder. Replacement egg just looks like its been dehydrated re-constituted and that's what we used to make the cupcakes. The texture the finish was pretty much what we'd expect to see normally", Scott said.

Its all about longevity and convenience -- from powdered wine and beer to spraying cheese from a can. Mark Kirkland says these products won't replace fresh food, but they do have a legitimate place in the market. "Our first big order is already from a charity who wants to use it for children's nutrition and also for disaster relief. There's some great packaging out there and I think it will only get better", Mark said. One question remains -- can we expect a vegemite candwich? "I've not tasted vegemite but if it can be made shelf stable which I'm sure it can, we will make a vegemite candwich", Mark said.