The future of Food
#5 of my Tech Predictions for 2022
The things we eat have gone through several revolutions during the ages: The use of heat, the shift to agriculture and the invention of preservation. Now, food is about to go digital.
It´s about time we start changing our global food system, because we have several major challenges ahead of us: we need to produce much more food without emptying our natural resources, we need to eat much healthier to avoid mass obesity and we need to solve our environmental and sustainability issues: new findings show that more than a third of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions are generated by food systems. They also show that food generates an average of 2 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions per person annually. So, there´s a lot to do for technology. Luckily, the work has begun.
Artificial meat and fish
If you go to any well-assorted supermarket today, you will find artificial alternatives to meat and chicken. The market for plant-based meat is growing fast. In the U.S. alone, sales grew by 45% last year, for a total of $1.4 billion. The battle for dominance in this new product category has so far been between two American companies: Beyond Meat whose products can be found in 43.000 restaurants, and Impossible Foods focusing on drive-thru restaurant chains. But there is a new kid on the block: the UK based company The Meatless Farm, founded by the Dane Morten Toft Bech, as a new contestant. all three are primarily plantbased in their recipes.
Hello to cruelty-free chicken
New competitors with lab-grown meat alternatives are popping up. More than 80 startups around the world are betting on everything from cultured shrimp to lab-grown steaks. They are right now “cultivating” meats in bioreactors. Cells taken from animals, without harming them, are nourished in soups rich in proteins, sugars, fats, vitamins, and minerals. To end on our dinner tables as cultivated alternatives.
The first products have already reached the market: Good Meat sells their lab-grown chicken in Singapore under the slogan: “Real Meat. Made without tearing down a forest or taking a life.”
They are competing to come up with the best structured chicken breast or fish fillet alternative that replicate or outperform conventional chicken and fish. The winners will be called in Q1 2024.
The whole Food Tech arena are well funded: In 2020, a record $3.1bn was invested into companies developing alternatives to meat, eggs and dairy, according to a report by the Good Food Institute
It´s easy to understand why: the global market for artificial meat is projected to reach $450 billion by 2040, according to global consulting firm Kearney.
3D printed Sushi and DNA based diets
In Tokyo, a new restaurant called Sushi Singularity has been in the making for a few years. The concept is revolutionary: Through biometric and genomic data, your meal will be personalized and optimized to your needs, and the pieces of Sushi will be customized and printed before your eyes. This is still on the conceptual stage but the area of nutrigenomics (how food affects a person’s genes and how a person’s genes affect the way the body responds to food) is promising to tailor a program specific to an individual’s genome.
23andme could be a place to start, if you want to know your own specific DNA data and how they are linked to your nutrition all the way down to a personalized shopping list and which food products to avoid. A lot of these projects are still very early, but smartfood products that are nutritionally optimised have entered the market.
Vitaline provides products that will help you concentrate more, restitute faster, or sleep better.
A walk in the vertical garden
While GMO´s are being rebranded into Smartfoods to become more acceptable, they try to solve some of our challenges by introducing new products with better characteristics. Pairwise is working to develop new and delicious types of nutrient-rich leafy greens, berries, and cherries. Perfect to grow in your vertical garden.
Home farming in your kitchen garden has always been popular, but its´ hard if you live in the city as most people do. The French company La Grangette is launching the perfect solution for this in 22: The vertical home garden with integrated AI to let you grow up to 64 different plants perfectly — all controlled from an App. How´s that for a conversation starter.
Industrial Vertical Farming — growing vegetables indoor under artificial light is developing fast all around the world including Denmark where Nordic Harvest is the frontrunner in turning this sustainable and environmental friendly production method into a commercially viable alternative.
Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are
The French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is quoted saying: “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” In the future what we eat will be quite different from today. I predict that we will see some of these changes happening already in 2022.