If we’d told you about “superfoods” ten years ago, chances are you wouldn’t have known what on earth we’re talking about. Today the term “superfood”, which right or wrongly ascribes “super” health benefits to certain foods, like kale and spinach, is everywhere.
But many of those superfoods are often not readily available at the average supermarket, which is why one Israeli company has come up with a technology that will allow people to “print” a trendy new superfood, called Khai Nam, right from the comfort of their home.
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Khai Nam, meaning “water eggs” in Thai, is a vegetable that thrives in the wetlands of Thailand, Burma and Laos. With a flavor similar to sweet cabbage, and a natural crispy texture, this “green caviar” will delight your taste buds and can be added to almost any food or drink. Grown in the optimal conditions provided by the Green Onyx, the vegetable can reproduce quickly, making it easy to supply a fresh, organic, and ready-to-eat snack. You won’t even have to travel to the Far East to get it.
Instead, Israeli research biologist Dr. Tsipi Shoham and her husband Benny Shoham, a Technion-trained electronics engineer, created a high-tech system, similar to a 3D printer for food, designed to grow and process Khai-Nam using just capsules, tap water, and electricity. The countertop machine then delivers this super vegetable in either liquefied or paste form with the press of a button. Khai-Nam, which, according to the company, is packed with nutrients and comparable to eating kale, broccoli, and spinach, can be easily added to smoothies, soups, salads, and more.
Hassle-free urban agriculture
The endeavor began three years ago when Dr. Tsipi Shoham was looking for nutritious additions to to her family’s diet. With more than 17 years of practice in biological research, she says she realized the important role that a proper diet played in preventing chronic diseases. And in 2011, the couple began to explore alternative options for healthy, balanced and tasty choices.
Backed by Ron Guttman, former CEO of consumer goods giant Unilever Israel, and now the third founding partner of the Green Onyx team, this Israeli based startup is getting ready to introduce its “urban farm” to consumers across the US and Europe. Its scientific advisory team includes professors from Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva and from Rutgers University in the US and Green Onyx also collaborates with Dr. Catherine Adams Hutt of the American Institute of Food Technologists, who is considered a leader in the fields of nutrition and food safety.
Green Onyx has already received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration and plans to release its patented appliance following an additional year of product development.
The Green Onyx will be available in three different sizes to accommodate various needs in homes, restaurants and even urban production. Company officials claim that the product is easy to use, through they have yet to set a price, pointing out that families who use the appliance regularly are expected to cut costs on organic food purchase. “As long as you continue replacing the capsule pack we send you once a month,” Benny Shoham told Israel21c, “the system will run automatically and provide a daily source of fresh produce.”
However, like many other superfoods with “interesting” tastes, the Khai Nam craze may not be for everyone, so before you rush out and buy a Green Onyx for your latest health kick, make sure that you really like the taste of this “green caviar.”