Future Foods: Are We Ready To Embrace Them?

Have you ever wondered how our food will look like in the future? Will they still look the same or could we be eating something that we presently don’t?

With rapid population growth, the world will be hitting 9.6 billion people by 2050. Our total food demand is expected to increase while facing issues such as climate changes and limiting resources. Will we be able to sustainably feed every one?

The future of food is uncertain but there have been many emerging innovative visions. Here are some changes we might be expecting in the decades ahead.

Science&Tech

Science & Technology advancement will be a huge impact, making future food tastier, fresher, healthier, more portable, sustainable, individualised, and easier to access.

Things to look out for: GMOs, edible packaging and kiosk-style fresh food prep machines

Meat-packaging-misses-brand-opportunities

Meat Cost is anticipated to double in the next five to seven years due to limited resources. Meat could become a luxury item that not many could afford. As a result many are searching for new solutions to fill the meat ‘gap’.

Alternative Food Sources such as plant-based meat substitutes, lab-grown meat, insect proteins and algae are some possible solutions to ensure that our food system is in constant supply despite limiting natural resources.

Meat Alt

Plant-based meat substitutes are gaining popularity because several reasons like health concerns, environmental issues, and animal welfare. Meat substitute products have improved greatly over the years since they first entered the markets, with greater emphasis on natural and wholeness of plant food rather than artificial ingredients like colourings and fillers.

Here are our picks:

Beyond Meat

Launched in 2012 after three years in development, it is made from patented technology using 100% plant proteins (soy protein, pea protein and amaranth). Beyond meat has been the recipient of World’s Most Innovative Company in Food for 2014.

Praeger’s Sensible Foods

 Founded by a cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Peter Praeger and his medical partner, the company’s wide range of products in the freezer section. They are all made from ingredients that we can easily recognised.

Sunshine Burger

Founded in 1983, it offers delicious, wholesome, vegan burgers made with non-GMO, organic whole-food ingredients. The burgers are also free of gluten, wheat, soy, corn, oats, dairy, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts.

Quorn

Has been on the market since 1985. Quorn products are made from mycoprotein, a protein source from fungi that is naturally low in in saturated fat and high in fibre. It is also supported as a safe food by major regulatory bodies across the world.

We do hope these products will be made available in this sunny island soon!

Lab grown meat, also known as cultured meat, is made in the lab using stem cells taken from cows that will grow into strips of muscle tissue. Growing meat in a lab would significantly reduce greenhouse gases, along with energy, water and limited land. Furthermore, this allows room for customisation of nutrition profile such as cutting down the fat content and adding nutrients to enhance the overall meat profile.Lab grown meat

Although this novel approach is extremely expensive at the moment, growing interest and backing from the food industry could help boost developments in lab grown meat technology. It is expected that the cost could be reduced to compete with that of conventionally obtained meat.

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‘Entomophagy’ refers to the consumption of insects as food. We believe this term will not be too unfamiliar to us in the future food system. Nutritionally, insects are much lower in fat than meat, at the same time, the cost of production for insects is low while reproduce at a faster rate. Most importantly, fewer natural resources (e.g. land, water) are involved which makes it more sustainable as fewer greenhouse gases produced from raising insects than livestock.

Getting everyone to accept insects as part of their diet could still take a while, we put hopes on our future generation to see it as a dietary ‘norm’ in time to come.

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Algae has long been a staple in Asia, especially Japan. Like insects, algae could be worked into our diet and provide a solution to food shortages as it grows at a phenomenal rate.  It can be grown in the ocean, which is a big bonus for us with land and fresh water in increasingly short supply. Algae is multi-faceted with many properties that we haven’t really tapped into yet.

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Consumers’ Power could play a major influential role in the food supply chains. This includes the demand for greater transparency, local food sourcing, better packaging, and healthier items. Although health and wellness comes with price, the future will likely hold greater opportunities to create healthier fare more affordable for lower- and middle- income groups.

The Verdict. Future food?

No one knows for sure. But it is definite that our food system and diet will have to adapt in order to survive. Some things may seem weird right now, but in 50 years’ time our views might be completely different.

Here’s a video to share with you:

http://www.businessinsider.sg/scientists-and-startups-changing-how-we-eat-2014-7/#.VQegiI6Ucm3