Jonathan Wang '10

One of the major benefits of food science is the way that food becomes so abundant and available to the masses. Especially thanks to the standardization and duplication of countless recipes, commodities, and ingredients, any number of people can experience the same, scientifically altered meal in any part of the nation. A flood of nutritional information, recipe data, and genetic specifics boil food down into the numbers and intelligence that commodifies and multiplies the tasting experience. This is especially true when scientists can quantify such aspects as taste and texture as numbers, chemicals, and processes; every packaged meal is infinitely replicable and consistent. Thanks to vending machines and supermarkets, a wide variety of food is available to a great number of people in a large area. Brand names and commodification allows all the ubiquity of multiplicity: with the trustworthy label of a well-known company, people become willing to partake of the strangest foods in the strangest of places (famous instant noodle company Maruchan inundates the most unlikely of cafeterias and 24 hour stores with the the Eastern treat, "ramen," complete with a bevy of likewise unlikely flavors). Vending machines are practically growing on school campuses, promoting a love of the wide food network through the assembly-line multiplicity of automated treats and sodas. With the rise of the assembly-line multiplicity comes the further allowance of lower prices, since manufacture becomes so cheap and efficient, that further gives already wealthy companies an edge in their quest for ubiquity and capitalist conquest. A combination of omnipresence and cheapness, which both serve each other symbiotically in an exponential fashion, contribute to and benefit from the power of food corporations and the cause of food science.

Food has ceased being a product of the land, and has transformed into a commodity, a service provided by large corporations on a large scale. The loss of uniqueness is characteristic of a cyborg identity; as customizability rises and optmization rules, everything is adjusted to represent the ideal, in the name of maximum profits and control. Personal identity becomes lost in a wash of customizations and features, and uniquely prepared foods being to lose their value. With such a widespread gastronomic influence, corporations can maintain a grasp over culture and health, with a repeated, simultaneous presence in many places. Everybody needs to eat, and with the advent of standardization and brand names, everybody who eats of the food network, eats of the advertising and marketing machine of large scale corporations. A combination of repeatability and a vast transportation network simulates a sense of multilocation and omnipresence, and the food network is an important and widespread enough system for reaching people of all ages, creeds, and locations.