Pasteurised milk, the tin can and the fridge are the three most significant inventions in the history of food, according to a poll of distinguished scientists. Refrigeration is currently topping the poll being undertaken by the Royal Society.
Apparently artificial refrigeration was produced commercially in 1805 following a first demonstration of the idea nearly 50 years earlier in 1756. Scotsman William Cullen demonstrated that his “fridge” could create a small amount of ice but at that time the concept of storing food in a cooled device didn’t occur to anyone. Of course since then fridges (like the old one pictured – source) revolutionised food preservation and longevity and it’s pretty hard to imagine managing without one (though many, many people around the world have to ).
Commenting on the findings, Sir Peter Williams, Honorary Treasurer and Vice President of the Royal Society said:
“Royal Society Fellows have played vital roles in improving people’s lives for 350 years and science has a major role to play in meeting the global challenges of the 21st century. We thought it appropriate to look at how that innovation has shaped what we eat and drink. The poll reveals the huge role science and innovation have played in improving our health and our lives. This is something to which the scientific community continues to add.”
If you’d like to vote for your favourite food invention then you can cast your vote over on the Royal Society facebook page.