12 Fascinating Foods of the Future

From 3D printed high-tech dishes to fake fish. Discover the foods of tomorrow, inspire others to make a change and become aware of the challenges our world is facing.

Emanuel Skrobonja
Popular
An illustration of a robotic chicken

Here’s why you need to be smart about the food you eat.

To create a better tomorrow for our future selves and our children, we need to be aware how our food choices are affecting the world around us.

Today, you're going to explore why it is important to make better food choices, which foods are we going to eat in the future, and how they will impact the world around us.

You'll discover foods such as:

  1. Plant Based meat
  2. Insects
  3. Algae
  4. GMO
  5. Sonic enhanced
  6. Edible food packaging
  7. Lab grown meat
  8. 3D printed
  9. Funghi and mushrooms
  10. Fake fish and seafood
  11. Perennial plants
  12. Farmed fish and shellfish

To you, food and water shortages might seem like an abstract scenario.

But they’re not.

Scientists and futurists are predicting that within the next 30 years, the world’s population will grow to whopping 9 billion. (1)

By 2050 we will have almost one third more mouths to feed, and securing food for everyone is a HUGE challenge.

The world’s booming economy and the ever increasing demand for meat, are literally grinding up our planet, and it’s getting worse. (2)(3)

By the time of our childrens’ adulthood (2050), the world’s food production will have to increase for up to 70%.  (4)

This means, if we don’t start using resources better, we will not be able to share the same food at the dinner table when our children come to visit.

Since most of us are visual learners, I'll try to explain it with a highly scientific illustration.

Illustration of a poop flying towards a fan

Yes, that's right, if we just keep on grinding up our planet, the shit might hit the fan.

Of course, it’s not too late to avoid this dark scenario

Scientists, futurists and entrepreneurs across the globe, are working hard on developing solutions for those problems.

But both, you and I are the ones who have to rethink what we’re eating.

And, as much as we can, avoid foods that have a big impact on the environment around us.

I created this exciting list of foods that I personally believe are going to become part of our everyday life.

And what’s more, you’re going to learn how these foods can affect your health and the environment.

Let’s dive into the future.

Pin me!

Let’s start.

1.Plant based meat

Raw Impossible Burger patties that look like real meat
Imposible™ Burger patties

With the help of science, plant based meat is becoming almost indistinguishable from real meat.

The reason why some innovative companies are creating plant based meat is the same reason why lab-grown meat is being developed.

Many people believe that meat is one of the most delicious foods in the world. Some would even argue that humans were designed to love meat.

Nowadays, a huge number of people are eating meat on a daily basis. While only a few decades ago, meat was considered a luxury product.

The taste and the texture seem to satisfy something that’s rooted deep down inside of us.

Now, whether you agree with this statement or not is not important here.

The most important thing is, most people love meat, and the world’s appetite for meat is increasing from year to year.

The problem is, meat is one of the MOST INEFFICIENT ways of feeding humanity. (5)

The most common cattle farming methods are not sustainable, and they contribute to global warming. The meat industry emits more greenhouse gasses than all ships, buses, trains, planes and cars combined!

Farming innovation, an ever increasing demand for meat and a fight for cost leadership has directed the meat industry in the wrong direction.

Of course, more sustainable methods do exist, but the problem is, we’re accustomed to a burger costing a dollar.

And although our current meat industry is far from ideal, and many people are reducing their meat intake.

Most people are not going to stop eating meat completely unless there are alternatives that taste and feel just as good…

Luckily, scientists and entrepreneurs have created incredible innovations.

Veggies that bleed.

More efficient food that satisfies the same craving

Plant based burger by Impossible foods that looks like a regular burger
The Impossible™ Burger

If there would only be a molecule that tastes like meat.

A molecule that satisfies our meat cravings, that can also be found in plants.

Well, it turns out that it exists. It’s called heme. (6)

Heme is what makes our blood red, and the coolest thing is, it doesn’t need to come from animals.

Plants like soy contain heme as well.

Personally, I tried several plant based burgers, but none of them really seemed to come anywhere close to meat taste.

Only one of them got my admiration. The burger from Impossible™ foods.

Their burger was created by scientists, and it’s made a 100% with natural ingredients.

Unfortunately heme is made it in the roots of soy plants, and digging up soybean roots is difficult, expensive and terrible for the soil.

Instead, they use genetic modifying (GM) to “trick” yeast into producing heme, which is their secret ingredient that gives the fake meat a meaty taste

I haven’t tasted it yet, but according to my work colleague, and reports from all over the internet, this burger seems to taste like the real thing.

What do Tesla and burgers have in common?

Besides a dollar, a burger costs a lot of resources.

Futurist Jamais Cascio from Openthefuture calculated that for a single cheeseburger, 6.3 to 6.8 pounds (2.85 to 3.1 kg) of carbon is emitted.(7)

What’s more, with the energy needed for the production of a single cheeseburger you could drive a Tesla Model S for 7-20 miles.

“The total energy use going into a single cheeseburger amounts to somewhere between about 7 and 20 megajoules (the range comes from the variety of methods available to the food industry). “ Jamais wrote.

And only about 1 Mj is needed to drive a Tesla for a mile.

Instead of taking your family to a fast food, consider taking them for a veggie burger.

It requires waaay less resources.

Source: Impossible Foods™ - Sustainability Report

Spend energy wisely eat veggies and plan your next trip

By replacing 50% of the beef we eat with plant based alternatives, we can reduce our footprint immensely.

Following the calculation above, if one family of four could drive an electric car for 28-80 miles, you can imagine what would happen on a global scale, if we would only replace one meaty meal per week with veggies.

Bottom line:

I believe that this industry will grow a lot in the years to come. GMO or not, fake meat has an incredible potential in reducing our environmental footprint.
By creating food products that target the same cravings in humans as meat does, we can help to secure the food for our children and the generations to come. Plant-based meat is something that almost nobody finds disgusting. And hopefully, we’ll see more of this on the market.

2. Insects

Salad with mealworms

You might be thinking “HELL NO!” And I agree, this food definitely takes some getting used to.

Packed full of nutrients

But the fact is, many insects including mealworms and crickets are incredibly rich in nutrients. Many insects are high in protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.

Some edible insects like crickets and mealworms contain all essential amino acids that are necessary to rebuild the muscles and tissues in our bodies.

Also, this delicious superfood has lots of promising implementations. Already now, you can buy pasta, energy bars, pate, snacks and other products enriched with edible insects.

Cricket flour

The global insect market is growing

Although most people are discussed by them, the demand for bugs is growing.

In fact, according to a publication from Meticulous Research®, the global edible insects market will grow at a CAGR of 23.8% from 2018 to 2023 to reach USD 1,181.6 million by 2023. (9)

Fun fact: 2 billion people are already eating insects on a daily basis.

Require less resources than most meat

Although the benefits of eating crickets might have been overstated by the UN, and a study from 2015 suggests that crickets fed low-quality diets don’t grow nearly as large as those fed higher-quality diets similar to what farmers feed chicken. (10)

Crickets STILL ARE one of the most sustainable sources of meat on the planet.

What’s more, black soldier fly didn’t suffer this same issue. They produce protein more efficiently. (11)

And also, you can even breed your own crickets, mealworms and black soldier flies at home to remove food miles and reduce your carbon footprint, which is pretty cool.(12)

If you're interested in breeding your own mealworm, definitely check out this kickstarter project by Katharina Unger.

A true delicacy

When prepared properly, insects can taste very good. If you’d like to make your own foods with insects, definitely check out these recipes for inspiration.

Worldwide, a wide range of insects species are considered delicacies.

Working with edible insects myself, I eat bugs up to several times a week. I’ve tried some amazing foods ranging from cricket falafel to mealworm cookies, energy bars, pate, pasta and more.

Still Taboo

Although there are many benefits of eating insects, in the west, entomophagy (eating bugs) is still considered taboo and this won’t change over night.

It will take several years until we’ll see broader acceptance.

However, in the past two years, I’ve been witnessing a big change.

From day to day, insects are becoming more and more mainstream and hopefully one day after enough exposure, we won’t see eating insects as a weird practice anymore.

3. Algae

Cake with algae

You’ve probably tried algae before either as sushi wrapping, in ramen or as vegetarian jelly.

If you’ve ever been looking out for superfoods, chances are, you probably stumbled upon the benefits of chlorella, spirulina or other algae.

Algae Can be Very Nutritious

Algae have been used in animal and human diets since very early times, and that is for a good reason.

Algae produce a slew of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Acording to a recent study, spirulina and chlorella contain up to 70 % dry wt protein; these microalgae also have an amino acid profile that compares well with egg. (13)

They contain all essential amino acids that are required for normal health and growth.

Those are amino acids that are either not manufactured in the body or manufactured in insufficient quantities and they need to be supplied by dietary protein.

What’s more, a study suggests that some species of algae contain lots of omega 3 fatty acids, which could promote good heart health. (14)

However, there are some downsides. There is a lot of  variation of nutritional and functional composition of algae across species, seasons, and different coastal environments. (13)

Although more research and literature is needed to fully comprehend the benefits and assessing potential adverse effects. (13)

There is substantial evidence for algae as nutritional and functional foods.

But what’s more important.

Are algae sustainable?

Person holding Algae

Short answer, yes, farmed responsibly or collected in the wild.

Though the answer for most algaculture is a little more complex, and there are lots of challenges that need to be overcome when cultivating algae on a large scale.

Environmental impacts of algaculture still requires research

On one hand, algaculture offers lots of potential environmental benefits ranging from clean water treatment, to the substitution of fossil-fuel, foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and more.

But on the other hand, there are huge challenges and pollution problems that algaculture needs to overcome.

This industry is still booming and we believe that in the future, we will see more and more algae on our plates.

Or maybe even on our bodies?

Art installation by Burton and Nitta - Algaeculture mask
Source: Burton and Nitta

Check out this amazing art installation by Michael Burton and Michiko Nitta showing how humans might live in symbiosis with algae in the near future. (15)

Algaculture designs a new symbiotic relationship between humans and algae. It proposes a future where humans will be enhanced with algae living inside new bodily organs, allowing us to be semi-photosynthetic. Almost enabling us to become plant-like by gaining food from light. As such, we will be symbionts (meaning that both entities entirely depend on each other for survival), entering into a mutually beneficial relationship with the algae.

Why design new food on what we have now, when we could re-design how we fuel the body altogether?” -Burton & Nitta

Although this looks sci-fi scenario, art inspires scientists to push the boundaries of innovation even further.

Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to buy your own algaculture suit, ten years from now.

4. Gmo food

Fake Blue Cheries

The source of all evil or the perfect solution for malnutrition and climate change? (16)(17)

There’s millions of people who believe that the development of GMOs bring more bad than good. (17, 18)

But before we jump into a conclusion and rise our guards, it’s important to get a better understanding of what GMO’s are, and what are the cons and pros of gene modification.

GMO’s have been around for thousands of years.

Selective breeding allowed us to pass on desired genes to the next generation, making the genes become more pronounced.

It is this process that allowed our ancestor farmers to produced bigger and better yields, and have better pets and livestock.

Through thousands of years, loyal wolves became dogs, watermelons became sweet, and small grass seeds became juicy corn that we love to throw on the grill.

But what’s different now? Why is this subject raising so much controversy?

Check it out in the video below.

This amazing animation video s a perfect sumup of the subject.

Courtesy of kurzgesagt.org

No matter if you’re pro or con GMOs, genetic engineering is here to stay.

We believe that in the future, we will definitely see more and more GM foods.   

Bigger, better, healthier and tastier

GMOs can help us develop foods with higher levels of nutrients that taste better and can help in fighting malnutrition. Fruits with more antioxidants that will help our bodies fight disease and plants that are resistant to climate change. (17)(16)

Our only limit of implication is our own creativity.

More sustainable than current agriculture?

GMOs can help us develop plants that are resistant to pests, plants that need less fertilizing meaning less soil contamination, and plants that can turn more carbon dioxide into oxygen helping to reverse climate change. (16)

Illustration of DNA

It’s time to democratize GM.

Of course, like anything else, GMOs can be used for good or evil.

We need to study, control and understand GMOs, and that understanding starts by us.

“Much of the criticism of this technology is actually criticism of modern agriculture and the business practice of the huge corporations that control our food supply.  This criticism is not only valid it's also important we need to change agriculture to a more sustainable model.

GMOs as a technology is actually an ALLY and not an enemy in that fight helping to save and protect nature and minimize our impact on the environment.” - Kurtzgesagt- In a nutshell

Crispr

CRISPR is a revolutionary method of gene editing. With the rise of CRISPR, gene editing costs shrank for 99%. Enabling literally everyone with basic lab equipment to edit genes. (19)

In short, using CRISPR is like driving on the highway. With a simple alteration of the DNA, we can create desired results that would take hundreds or even thousands of years of selective breeding.

Now, isn’t that amazing?

Let's wrap up

With the rise of CRISPR, science fiction has become reality. Farmers don’t have to rely on huge corporations and their patents.
Nowadays, gene editing is accessible to everyone, it’s simple and incredibly precise. It’s a true food REVOLUTION that is changing the food we eat, forever.

5. Sonic enhanced grandma’s cakes ― Using sound to alter taste

Headphones

Did you know that listening to a certain frequency can make your grandma’s cake taste sweater? (20, 21)

A recent study under the awesome name “A bittersweet symphony- Evidence for taste-sound correspondences without effects on taste quality-specific perception.” led by by scientists at Oxford University explored how listening to different background sounds can change the way you perceive taste.

The name comes from the fact that participants perceived food as more bitter or more sweat depending on the sounds they were exposed to.

The researchers are not yet sure what’s exactly happening in the brain and why our perception changes.

It’s definitely an exciting discovery, and implications are currently being tested.

Worldwide, lots of chefs and companies started experimenting with sounds and background music, and the experiments range from making food healthier by reducing sugar to making food feel more fresh. (21)

So who knows, maybe we’ll start seeing QR codes for playlists on our food packaging.

And this, leads to our next chapter.

6. Edible food packaging - Start with a bowl of rice and then eat the bowl for desert

Edible bowl illustration

Plastic pollution is a huge problem. There are millions of tons of plastic that end up in our oceans. As a result, biodiversity is facing a drastic decline. (22,23,24)

What’s more, the plastic fragments into particles and it ends up in the bellies of animals. (25)

You can guess what happens next. It also ends up in our own bellies. A study has shown that almost all adults have traces of microplastic in their bodies.

Man with a Lego brick in his belly (illustration)

Luckily, more and more people are becoming aware of this issue.

As a result, innovators, entrepreneurs, governments and scientists are working together to create solutions for this issue.

Although there is no simple solution for these problems, producing edible packaging might help us reduce the amount of waste. (26)

Currently, there are edible water bottles (balls) made out of algae, biodegradable plastic, as well as bowls made of mushrooms and cutlery made from wheat bran.

The solutions have been recognized by many research groups and by food and pharmaceutical industries as an alternative or synergic addition to conventional packaging. (27)

However, there are many challenges that this industry needs to overcome. Those challenges include regulations, consumer acceptance and feasibility for commercialized systems.

We believe that the future will bring more edible packaging to the market.

7. Lab grown meat

Minced meat

You’ve probably seen this one already.

In 2013 Dr. Mark Post presented a proof of concept for cultured meat. (28)

The first artificial burger was launched, and it popped up on almost everyone’s news feed.

Back then it seemed like a far future scenario.

I remember how I thought, it will take at least two decades until we see those burgers in the supermarket. But in the recent years, there has been an incredible drop in price.

Soon it might cost the same as regular meat

The first lab-grown burger cost 325 000$.

Last year, Dr. Post proclaimed that, as soon as 2020, customers will be able to buy lab-grown burgers for $10 apiece. (29)

What’s more, according to wired magazine, Memphis Meats is aiming to decrease production cost to 5$ per pound. Their CEO Uma Valeti is planning to put the first product on the market in 2021. (32)

Less farmland, less energy, less water and less greenhouse gas emission (GHG)

Oxford study shows, lab grown meat requires significantly less resources to produce.

In comparison to conventionally-produced European meat, the team estimate cultured meat would involve approximately 7-45% lower energy use, 78-96% lower greenhouse gas emissions, 99% lower land use, and 82-96% lower water use depending on the type of meat.  (31)

‘We are not saying that we could, or would necessarily want to, replace conventional meat with its cultured counterpart right now,’ said Ms Tuomisto, ‘however, our research shows that cultured meat could be part of the solution to feeding the world’s growing population and at the same time cutting emissions and saving both energy and water. Simply put, cultured meat is, potentially, a much more efficient and environmentally-friendly way of putting meat on the table.’

Tastes delicious but the texture needs optimization

If you’re curious about the taste, head over to youtube, and watch people try cultured meat.

Most people say that the taste is good, and that it does taste like meat. However, the texture still seems to be a little bit off.

According to the reporters from the wall street journal, lab grown meat seems to have a “spongy” consistency. (29)

“Would you eat it?”

Everybody knows, that there are lots of sceptics out there who wouldn’t want to eat this.

To my surprise, people seem to be pretty open-minded about it.

A survey revealed that 5 out of 10 Dutch, and 6 out of ten British people would eat lab grown meat. (32)

To conclude

Although the cost for lab grown meat is still quite high compared to conventional livestock meat.
One thing is sure, the scenario of being able to buy cultured meat in the supermarket, doesn’t seem like science fiction anymore.
It seems that those days are just around the corner.
In the near future, you’ll be able to choose between pork, beef, chicken and fish. And apparently, according to Post, we can even cultivate healthy fatty acids. Meaning, fake meat might become “healthier” than the real thing!

8. 3D printed food

3D printed Living Food by Chloe Rutzerveld
Source: Chloe Rutzerveld

Imagine, you’re sitting with a couple of friends in the living room. Everyone had a glass of wine or two, and the chatter is getting louder with every minute.

Suddenly, you’re friends spoiled son yells from the other room:  “Mom, I’m hungry, can you PRINT me a sandwich? I’m in the middle of a game!”

While this seems like a bad sci-fi comedy, there are 3D printers that can print food, and yes, you can have one in your own home.

Affordable

In 2014, food designer Chloé Rutzerveld developed a concept for "healthy and sustainable" 3D-printed snacks that sprout plants and mushrooms for flavour. (33)

The project was called “Edible Growth”, and it demonstrated how technology can be used to enhance natural growth.

Her goal was to inspire scientists, technologists and chefs to look beyond fancy shped pasta and cookies... and explore new ways of creating healthy food.

The printer could be used to shorten the food production chain drastically

Back then, she assumed it’s going to take at least 8-10 years until this technology becomes mainstream.

In 2016. FoodInk opened a pop-up restaurant that serves 3D printed food. They are describing their concept as “fine dining hacked”, and it is just that. (34)

Everything except the people is 3D printed, and it looks incredible!

Now, you might be thinking, this is a high-end restaurant, this is only something for the upper class.

But, that’s not entirely true. Every year, the technology is becoming cheaper and cheaper.

Already now, companies such as byFlow offer affordable 3D printers for food for domestic use.

The ever decreasing prices and availability of 3D printing technology will create room for incredible innovations.

What about sustainability?

Although it’s not so expensive to buy your own 3D printer for food, this technology is still not as popular as a microwave, and perhaps it never will be.

But the potential of this technology is incredible.

Using 3D printing technology for food production can reduce food miles,  agricultural land use, food waste and labor. (33)

From 3D printer to mouth - eliminating food miles - Source: Chloe Rutzerveld

Is 3D printed food healthy?

Diet is a complex subject, and this question isn’t easy to answer. It all comes down to what your ingredients are, how the food is prepared and how much you eat of it.

The cool part about 3D printed food is the fact that you can use a HUGE range of ingredients. Creativity is the only limitation. Meaning, it can be very healthy if we use nutritious ingredients.

When describing her project the above mentioned food designerwrote the following about her project:

“The consumer becomes the farmer and harvests the product before consumption. Absolute freshness without additives. The consumer will be more involved in the growth process of the food and becomes more aware of food production and consumption.”

There is really nothing fresher than this!

To conclude:

3D printing still hasn’t reached its full potential and we will be witnessing this technologies applications unfold, including the food industry.

9. Fungi and mushrooms

Basket full of Mushrooms

When you hear the word fungi, probably, an image of a portobellos pops up in your mind.

But fungi make a quarter of the world’s biomass. (35)

It’s hard to imagine, that without fungi, our world wouldn’t look the same.

Without fungi, there would be no pizza, no bread, no beer, and probably, you wouldn’t exist either.

Fungi consumption is an ancient practice, and it can be traced for at least 18 700 years ago, to the Paleolithic “Red Lady” of Spain. (36)

Mushrooms and mycelium have been used in traditional chinese medicine for a milenia. (35)

Nowadays, we’re discovering implications for mushrooms and mycelium that we never thought of before. From building materials, to footwear, clothing, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food, we’re starting to use fungi everywhere.

Fungi can turn waste into food

In all environments, fungi play an important role in digestive systems.

Fungi, and more precisely mycelium critically influences the nutrient access and overall health of plants and animals. Mycelium is the white web-like stuff commonly found on wet wood, and it has an incredible superpower.

It can turn complex animal and plant matter into simple sugars and proteins.

Mycelium can literally turn toxic waste like plastic into food! (37)

Woman eating edible fungus grown on toxic plastic waste
Source: Livin Farms project Fungi Mutarium -Turning wate into food

Plants, insects, animals and humans, every living being is influenced by fungi in one way or the other.

Even our mycobiome consists partially of fungi.

Though our understanding of the mycobiome is still developing, there are various ways to bring the health benefits of fungi into our lives.

An area that has largely remained unexplored is the consumption of mushroom mycelium as its own unique, nutrient-dense food.

Tasty and packed full of nutrients

Discover the incredible world of edible fungi. See beyond portobellos and yeast, and add some new delicious mushrooms to your diet.  

There are endless ways to use fungi to enrich your food with taste, and they are still being explored.

For a long time, mushrooms, molds and yeasts have been appreciated for their taste altering qualities. For generations, koji, a moldy grain product has been used for the production of saké and the umami-rich flavorings like miso, soy sauce and tamari.

In the wine industry,  the mold Botrytis cinerea is used to produce the “noble rot” that concentrates the fruit’s flavor, creating the rich flavors of botrysized dessert wines.

There are plenty of reasons to consume fungi.

Except the fact that some mushrooms, yeasts and mold can taste amazing, eating fungi can also be very beneficial for your health. (38, 39)

Fungi can enhance the absorption of nutrients, and they can convert antinutrients— that our bodies can’t digest— into nutrients.

Of course, some fungi are more nutritious than other.

But generally speaking, edible mushrooms, molds and yeast are low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals.

A growing market

Unfortunately, it is very rare to find a wide range of mushroom species in the supermarkets. But, this is also rapidly changing.

Whole foods market predicted that functional mushrooms are going to be one of the biggest trends in 2018.

The fungi market is predicted to grow 9.5% annually. (40)

Besides portobellos, you can find oyster mushrooms, shiitake, and reishi, chaga, cordyceps and more in food products.

Bottom line:

The use of fungi will reshape the world around us in the upcoming years, including the food industry. The demand for mushrooms is increasing, and so is the number of human innovations.
Although we have been using fungi for millennia, there is still plenty of room for innovation.

10. Fake fish and seafood

Meme: Fish saying: You are fake Hooman!

Worldwide, billions of people rely on fish as their main source of protein. For thousands of years, coastal communities have been eating fish, and it was believed that the ocean and the seas are a limitless bounty of food.

Gathering as many fish as possible seems like a very profitable practice.

The problem with overfishing

Unfortunately, unsustainable fishing practices have serious consequences. Overfishing is pushing many fish stocks to the point of collapse. (41)

Not only does this have consequences on the animal kingdom, but it also affects many of us.

As a result of 50 years of overfishing, coastal fisherman villages and towns are getting endangered. Their socio economic well being depends to a big extent on fish.

Global trends in the state of the world's marine fish stock - More and more fish is being overfished
Source: FAO (42)

Due to pollution and overfishing, the loss of ocean species is accelerating and it might threaten our well being.

To fight this problem, there are several things we can do.

One of the solutions is to target the fisherman themselves.

Percentages of stocks fished at sustainable and unsustainable levels
Source: FAO (42)

Organisations such as the WWF are collaborating with stakeholders to reform fisheries management globally.

Another solution is to offer more alternatives to the consumers.

Plant based seafood

Source: New wave foods - Fake shrimp

Besides making plant based meat, more and more start-ups are focused on making plant based seafood.

The company new wave food developed a shrimp that is actually not a shrimp. But a mixture of soy-protein, algae and other natural ingredients. Completely free from animal protein.

By replacing fish and shrimps with algae and plant based protein, you can reduce the impact that overfishing and unsustainable aquaculture (fish farming) have on the environment and our well being.

Health

Algae contain EPA and DHA. The same type of omega 3 that can be found in fish and shellfish. Besides, it’s also be a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies. (43)

Bottom line

Unsustainable fishing practices and pollution are accelerating the loss of ocean species. In order to stop this trend, we need to inspire people to make a change.
Besides that, we, the consumers can tap more into algae based alternatives to decrease the demand for fish and other sea animals.

11. Perennial plants

Illustration of an old perennial strawberry plant

On a list of innovative foods, perennial plant  (plants that can grow for more than one year) might seem boring, but don’t let your first impression fool you.

They can play a huge role in fighting climate change.

Soil health affects water, biodiversity and human health

The less carbon there is in the soil, the more deceptive the land is to drought and erosion.  (44)

Modern agriculture, bad farming practices and unsustainable fertilizers are ruining the soil underneath.

Due to erosion — the movement of the earth caused by surface processes such as water flow and wind — pesticides and fertilizers often end up contaminating nearby lakes and rivers including drinking water.

Irresponsible agriculture practices and bad irrigation systems have caused ENORMOUS decreases in soil health, making it more susceptible to drought and erosion.(45)

That’s why becoming vegan or vegetarian alone won’t save the planet, unless we also change agriculture itself.

Now, I know, that sucks… But it’s not too late!

How to save the soil?

We should start treating soil like our best friend.

Soil is finite, and it should be treated like that.

We’ve been using it like a factory, to produce foods, veggies, feed, cotton etc. But we rarely gave the soil something in return.

For a long time, we know that the soil needs nutrients and carbon to stay healthy.

Now let’s get back to perennial plants and see what are some of the things we can do to save our soil.

What are the solutions?

As I mentioned before, it is important to keep high carbon levels in the soil.

This helps the soil contain more water and nutrients, and it helps filtering the water.

Sustainable grass fed livestock and perennial plants can deposit a lot of carbon into the soil, instead of draining it (like annual plants do). (45,46)

Besides, the long roots can help us save our precious drinking water and biodiversity by preventing erosion of the soil, and drainage of harmful substances into rivers and lakes.

Now, that’s way cooler than you initially thought, isn’t it?

Bread, pasta and beers that don’t compromise soil

Meet Kernza. A perennial intermediate wheatgrass that was selectively breed by the Land Institute. (47)

It was developed to create better yield, have bigger seed size and to be less susceptible to disease than regular wheat.

It can be used for the same food as regular wheat, without depleting the soil from valuable nutrients.

The result: richer soil, less erosion, and less fertilizer washing into the water supply.

Bottom line

We need to change the way we grow our foods and veggies. A nutrient rich soil produces more nutrient dense foods, and perennial plants play an incredibly important role in keeping our soil healthy. Hopefully, we will see more and more perennial plants in the future.

12. Farmed fish and shellfish

Salmon on a plate

Did you know that the world produces more farmed fish than beef? (48)

Already now, half of the fish we see in the supermarkets comes from aquaculture. (42)

The blue revolution has the potential to feed the world, which is pretty awesome since we don’t have to catch our fish in the wild.

I already addressed the problems related to overfishing, so farming fish should be a better solution right?

The blue revolution

Since the 80’s, the trend of fish farming is becoming more and more popular. Fish farming enabled lots of farmers to make big bucks, and by now it’s feeding billions of people around the world.

The problem is, most of the worlds fish farms are incredibly bad for the environment and for the fish itself.

Bad farming practices often create a deadly cocktail of nitrogen, phosphorous and dead fish.

With the blue revolution, aquaculture started facing the same problems as agriculture.

Too many fish in too little space, and dirty water kills fish.

To prevent that, farmers are often feeding fish and shrimps antibiotics and pesticides.

In Asia, where 90% of fish farms are located, farmers often use substances that are harmful for humans and are therefore banned in the United States, Europe, and Japan. (48)

The problem is, 90% of the seafood that comes to the US originates from Asia, and only 2% of that food gets inspected by the Food and drug administration. In 2006 and 2007. The FDA discovered that aquaculture shipments from Asia, often contain banned substances including known or suspected carcinogens. (48)

By this time, you might have lost hope in this industry, but read on...

Better practices

Aquaculture is an ancient practice. It can be traced at least 3000 years back, and until recently it was sustainable. Fish waste was often used to fertilize rice fields without much environmental impact. (48)(49)

Most fish farmers want to make more bucks. And many of them decided to simply overcrowd the fish ponds.

On the other side of the world, 8 miles offshore from the coast of Panama, Brian O’Hanlon the CEO of Open Blue is having a completely different approach.

His giant fish cage is placed under water.

The fish have plenty of room to swim. The waves above his cage can be up to 20 feet tall, and all that water rush, is keeping the cage and the environment around it clean.

His fish aren’t getting sick, and they produce great yield.

Some fish have an Insane conversion rate

Kg of feed needed to produce kg of body mass. Beef needs the most feed (6.8kg) followed by pork (3.9kg) and chicken (1.7 kg). Fish (1.1 kg) and Crickets (1kg) need way less feed.

Fish looks very promising when compared to other animals.

Fish needs on average seven times less resources than beef.

A sneak peak further down the food chain

What’s even more fascinating is the fact that shell like oysters don’t need to be fed at all.

They are low in fat, high in protein and they contain heart healthy omega-3.

The coolest part?

Oysters help us clean the water of excess nutrients.

Bottom line:

Fish can be a very efficient source of protein. However, most of the worlds fish farms need to implement more sustainable methods.
Generally speaking, the further we go down the food chain, the more sustainable our food becomes.

The future will bring more creative food

Through ever emerging new technologies, cross disciplinary collaborations and a wider variety of foods coming to the market every year, we will definitely see a lot of foods and food trends that are hard to predict.

From advancements in genetic modifications to dining that stimulates all our senses. Already now, we’re pushing the boundaries further than ever before.

And the future will definitely bring us more creative food to the market.

If you’re on the lookout for online marketplaces with novelty foods, check out 21Bites and Futurefoodshop. They both have a pretty exciting assortiment.   

So, who knows, maybe just a few years from now, you’ll be frying GM crickets with your smartphone.

Now, head over to the comment section and let me know if these food trends inspired you to start a new movement.

Also, if you can think of another food trend that might reshape our future, don’t hesitate to share it in the comments.

I’ll be happy to give you a heads-up.

Keep reading

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