The demand for food will require an increase of the global food production of at least 70 percent by the year 2050, according to a report of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Apart from this, obesity stands in second place among the most prevalent yet preventable causes of death in the US.
Given this, innovating alternative sources of food can help resolve the two-pronged issue of food demand and the prevalence of unhealthy food options that lead to obesity and other health problems.
Putting these matters into consideration makes us ask the question: what is the future of food?
While we cannot answer this question with utmost certainty, we can at least gain some ideas by looking at the food innovations currently on the rise.
Let’s have a rundown.
A 2015 study revealed that food considered “healthy” differs from person to person. Given how information related to human nutrition is increasing, personalised nutrition is becoming more and more feasible. Among the researchers at the forefront of the emerging field of personalised nutrition is Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg of Tufts University
According to Dr. Blumberg, the current issue in the field is how to parse through the data and identifying which data points are relevant in customizing diets. Using DNA testing he said that consumers will eventually know what kinds of vegetables and what kinds of whole grains they should be choosing as well as exactly how often.
With such technology, knowing what kind of food items is truly good for you will no longer be a trial-and-error sort of affair.
In-vitro animal products, also known as “clean meat” are created from stem cells collected from living livestock. Fast forward a few weeks of processing in the lab and you will have something which is virtually the same as regular meat in terms of appearance, smell, taste, and even the manner of preparation.
Apart from addressing the increase in food demand, this method of producing meat is also more sustainable.
An Israeli startup DouxMatok is an ingenious method of reducing overall sugar consumption.
The sensation of sweetness is produced by the contact of sugar particles with the tongue. DouxMatok takes advantage of this knowledge by coating the surface of food items with sugars. With this, less sugar will be used but the taste will remain the same.
Plant-based meat substitutes are prominent even in the present market. Companies like Beyond Meat, Fry Family, and Impossible Foods already have a considerably wide selection of plant-based meat alternatives which taste just like meat. A shift toward plant-based meat substitutes is one way to eliminate the carbon emissions as well as fend off animal cruelty.
Genetically modified food
The trend of genetically modifying food to boost or add desirable traits is here to stay and is expected to continue as an industry in the succeeding years.
The CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology has reached levels of accuracy that can reliably produce food items that possess nutrients that non-genetically modified equivalents do not have. In the future, this will also mean modifying food items so that they no longer have the allergens that trigger allergies.
On the whole, we can see that the menus of the future will possess less meat, become more nutritious and also more sustainable. This may be far from the food capsules that we see in movies (though this cannot be discounted as a possibility, either), but these developments are definitely worth looking forward to.