The Science Behind Your Salad

Crossing the globe to discover how the best ingredients that end up on our tables are grown

The Science Behind Your Salad is a podcast for the whole world. We’re not only in search of the best food on the planet, we’ll be telling the stories behind how that food is grown. We’ll meet the scientists searching for the next innovative breakthroughs in food production, we’ll hear about new technology already revolutionizing the way crops are grown and the stories of the growers.

And we’ll meet the farmers, those pioneers striving to do one of the biggest jobs on earth, putting food on our plates every day in the face of huge challenges.

The Innovation Zone at in-cosmetics invites visitors to explore new launches, including Bix’Activ®, BASF’s new active ingredient for pure and mattified skin

The Idea

The world is changing. Producing crops is no longer as simple as sowing seeds and waiting for them to grow. Resources are becoming more precious as the population continues to grow, so with more mouths to feed, the biggest job on earth is to handle available resources better. This podcast series, made by BASF, produced by Fresh Air Production, an award winning production team based in London, will shine a spotlight on the innovation, science and technology that will try to ensure that planet and people stay healthy.

tuna salad with rice and vegetables on black dish ; Shutterstock ID 176081642; job: Xueling Liu-Hoffmann; other: 1089318854

Our latest episode Rice (Part One)

In this episode we discover that the method of paddy rice production is a huge contributor of greenhouse gases and so the tide is turning away from the paddy field system, towards something called Direct Seeded Rice. We also discover the way to cook perfect, plump and fluffy rice. 

Part Two: Coming soon

Our guest: Luke Mankin


Luke grew up around large cities – Washington, Miami, Chicago – disconnected from agriculture. He started his career in an Ecology and Evolution lab at the University of Chicago, and went on to become a plant molecular biologist with a PhD and MBA from North Carolina State. When he looked at his choices for careers in biology, it came down to medicine or agriculture. He chose agriculture because he believes feeding the hungry is as important as healing the sick. Improving agriculture improves peace and prosperity. He has worked for BASF since 2000 in both research and marketing. His relationship with rice started as a scientist and inventor of the Provisia® rice system. He has had the privilege to be in rice paddies all over the world with a focus on sustainable weed control. 

Get in contact with our experts on LinkedIn and find more information about rice


Episode Tomatoes

How did the humble tomato rise from its early beginnings as a small, hairy fruit to become one of the most celebrated and versatile crops on the planet? We trace the journey of the fruit from the mountain slopes of Mesoamerica to the giant of the salad bowl – and beyond – today. It’s a fruit that forms the base to many dishes all around the world: from ragus to curry dishes. So what does the future hold for the bright red, juicy tomato?

Behind the scenes

About Fresh Air Production

After twenty years of creating award winning radio shows for the BBC, Fresh Air Production now make high quality podcasts for brands. Working for organisations such as Shell, WWF and Audi, they create podcasts that stand out from the crowd with broadcast-quality journalism and production. They use the intimacy and immediacy of audio to tell fascinating and powerful human stories.  


Presenter – Jane Craigie

I see the world in people and their stories
Jane Craigie

Jane is an agriculturalist, a traveller and a marketer. She lives on a smallholding in north east Scotland where she keeps livestock and grows her own fruit and vegetables. 

Jane was brought up in Cyprus, India, Turkey and the UK and, aged 16, she decided agriculture was the industry she wanted to work in, and it was communicating the wonders of the industry that have always been her passion.

Jane has a science degree in agriculture, a post-graduate qualification in marketing and she is deeply involved in the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists, a membership organisation that represents journalists and communicators from 54 countries in all regions of the world.  

Producer and Journalist – Martin Poyntz-Roberts 


Martin has almost 20 years’ experience as a journalist and producer working on a variety of subject matters from natural history television to live news radio. He was at the helm of BBC Radio 4’s Costing The Earth series for much of his time at the BBC, produced several documentaries about President Trump and has recently carried out undercover filming for a BBC series in Malaysia. He recently won a Lovie Award for The Big Steal Podcast.

Related topics


Seed Breeding – Intense Tomatoes

Mike and Ben learn more about a very special ingredient – the Intense tomato. But what makes it so special? To find out, they explore how seed breeding works and how it is tailored to consumer demands. They even get some expert cooking advice. Will this raise the chances for normal guy Mike to beat the chef? 

Watch the tomato film and learn more