The world has come a long way in terms of dietary choices, from raw fruits and nuts from online shops like Nuts About Life to sliced bread and now to dairyless cheese, the evolution of food has been tremendous throughout the years. However, as the human population keeps growing exponentially, the topics of sustainability and environmentally safe production are called into question, especially in the meat, fish and dairy industries. To tackle this growing problem, scientists all over the world have been developing new and innovative ways to appease our palette while ensuring there is enough for everyone without compromising natural resources.
Here are some such foods that you may have on your plate and at your nearest fine dining restaurant in the not-so-distant future.
1. Lab cultivated meat
Research is already underway on using animal stem cells to grow tissue inside the laboratory that can be used as meat for consumption. Such meat, known as cultured meat, has been proven to be environmentally friendly. They can help cut down on greenhouse gas emission and significantly reduce land and water use. In addition to meat grown in-vitro in the lab, scientists are also dabbling in making vegetarian meat that tastes like the real thing – using plant proteins. Soon, you could be getting lab grown fried chicken at your local KFC.
With algae like spirulina, blue-green algae and chlorella already a part of diet supplements for a rising number of people, it is not surprising to think that algae could become a vital part of people’s cuisines very soon. Algae is not only rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals but can also be produced very easily in the ocean, thus reducing the need for land and water usage. It has been found some species of algae contain omega-3 fatty acids, which is why many scientists consider it a superfood.
3. Bugs and insects
While it may sound like a bad idea at first, research has shown that some insects such as crickets, mealworms and grasshoppers actually contain the same amount of protein as meat. Moreover, insects require much less energy, land and water use to grow and also have a low carbon footprint. Already various cultures around the world consider insects a delicacy – such as caterpillars in Africa, crickets in Thailand and wasps in Japan. Of course, if insects are used as meals, for the European and American palettes they have to be ground down into popular food products to get over the common taboo associated with them. However, with their high nutritional benefits and low cost of production, insects may soon become the new delicacy all over the world.
These are just a few of the areas that researchers have investigated that hold the promise of solving the imminent crisis of having to feed a rapidly rising population with limited resources. With the pace of scientific research at its peak, people might even have the option of “cooking” 3D printed food right in the comfort of their own house.