Future's food: From insects and test tubes to 3-D printers

The egg of the future may have little to do with a hen, and pork cutlets may be grown in a test tube, if German dietary experts and future-gazers are to be believed.

“Whether or not we like the idea, in 10 years’ time the world will be producing considerably more industrial food than today,” according to futurologist Sven Gabor Janszky, head of the Leipzig-based forecasting institute 2b Ahead.

“Chocolate will come out of the printer, and cultured meat will become the new normal,” he predicts. U.N. predictions are for the world’s population to reach nine billion by 2050, with an increasing number demanding meat on the table. Future-gazers like Janszky see the solution in technology and put forward a range of ideas:

Food of the printer: “Please turn on the printer, dear,” could be the signal to send a message with your smart phone to program a meal for printing out later. Work is proceeding around the world to make food with a 3D printer. Janszky predicts this will be a reality in advanced countries in five to 10 years.

Henless eggs: The egg of the future would not have to be laid by a fowl, says communications expert Christian Schindler, who blogs on the food of the future. Powder made of milled beans, peas and millet could replace eggs, particularly in ready-made products, such as mayonnaise, noodles, cakes and scrambled egg. Plants produce fewer greenhouse gases, need less water and reduce animal suffering.

Meat out of the test tube: In 2013, Dutch scientists produced a meatball from animal stem cells, with the aim of meeting the rising demand for meat. Commercial production is to start in 10 or 20 years.

Insects: The U.N’s Food and Agriculture Organization advises the use of insects as food. Locusts are rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Ruetzler believes that insects as food will remain a niche market in Europe “processed into flour and included invisibly as high-protein component in bread or meatballs.”

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