Insect burgers and algae—food of the future?
30 July, 2012
Insects, algae, sonic-enhanced food and lab-grown meat will be among the things on our plates in 20 years’ time, according to an interesting piece from the BBC.
It says fast-growing populations, volatile food prices and environmental concerns will all play a part in changing people’s perceptions about ‘normal’ foods. We will have to find alternatives to meat in particular, says food futurologist Morgaine Gaye. “Rising prices mean we are now starting to see the return of meat as a luxury. As a result we are looking for new ways to fill the meat gap.”
Gaye thinks insects will become a staple of many diets, since they provide good nutritional value and cost less to raise than cattle. “Things like crickets and grasshoppers will be ground down and used as an ingredient in things like burgers.” But there could be an image problem. “They will become popular when we get away from the word insects and use something like mini-livestock,” says Gaye.
Another unlikely addition to our menus could be algae, which is currently under-used. Craig Rose, executive director of the Seaweed Health Foundation, said: “[Algae] farms could easily work in the UK and be very successful. The great thing about seaweed is it grows at a phenomenal rate, it’s the fastest growing plant on earth. Its use in the UK is going to rise dramatically.”
Lab-grown food will also become more popular, with scientists nearing completion on the world’s first ‘test-tube burger’. Growing meat in labs reduces greenhouse gases and land use, and scientists are increasingly confident that they can make lab meat taste indistinguishable from the real thing. And sonic-enhanced food—using sound to make things taste different or better—is also on the horizon. Russell Jones of sonic branding agency Condiment Junkie says: “So much attention is paid to what food looks like and what it smells like, but sound is just as important.”
For the full story, see Future foods: What will we be eating in 20 years’ time?