Ottobrunn | Germany, May 2022 – EAT Freedom, a start-up specialized in healthy and gourmet lightweight meals for adventurers is sending to space an assortment of recipes like “Shrimp and asparagus rice with tomatoes and pesto alla genovese”.
EAT freedom’s meals are part of the bonus food selection of the European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti. The Italian ESA astronaut launched into space as part of Crew-4 on April 27th 2022 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
EAT Freedom has been founded by the Italian Aerospace Engineer Sara Rocci Denis in 2021 and produces freeze-dried travel food for adventurers, striving for the highest standards of ingredients, production and sustainability. The recipes are designed by the Italian Chef Stefano Polato, Head of Food Development at EAT freedom, who draws on several years of culinary experience creating delicious, long-lasting and easily digestible food for astronauts.
When Samantha arrived on board the International Space Station, her ESA mission Minerva officially began. EAT freedom was engaged to develop Cristoforetti’s bonus food allowance. Bonus food accounts for approximately 20% of an astronaut’s food supply for a mission. It is intended to support their wellbeing, both physical and mental, during a long-duration mission away from home. This selection is co-created with the astronaut in the months leading up to the launch, to satisfy their personal taste preferences. On board, it is typically shared with the other crew members on special occasions. Like all space meals, these special treats have to meet strict requirements from both ESA and NASA and must take into account the guidance of the crew’s nutritionists and medical team.
The space menu that EAT freedom specially crafted for Samantha Cristoforetti did not disappoint. Rocci Denis and Polato have created a variety of signature freeze-dried meals like the “Wholegrain wheat couscous with vegetables and legumes”, “Yogurt pudding with cereals, legume flakes & fruits”, and the “Shrimp and asparagus rice with tomatoes and pesto alla Genovese”. They rounded up the main courses with a thermostabilized meal created with fresh, seasonal ingredients from Italian small producers: the “Spelt salad with Mediterranean little Tunny, dried tomatoes, pine nuts and asparagus”. For the snack, they went the extra mile. Cristoforetti, known to relentlessly foster exploration and progress, asked for a recipe that includes insects’ flour to assess it as an alternative to traditional sources of complex proteins for application to future deep space exploration missions. The “Grillo al mirtillo – Blueberry & Cricket” snack bar was born.
At EAT freedom the innovative duo focuses their efforts on serving both the adventurers and nature. They choose premium Italian or European ingredients whenever possible and often work with small family producers whose businesses honor the natural rhythm of the seasons. They prefer low food processing temperatures to preserve value, scent, taste and consistency while offering a long shelf life. EAT freedom selects whole grains, high-quality proteins and healthy fats, use limited salt and sugar and rely on herbs and spices to naturally enhance flavor. Working alongside nutritionists, they balance their treats inspired by the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate.