Are you ready to start eating bugs? Or or goldfish muscle dipped in fetal bovine serum? Scientists point out that people 100 years ago probably would have barfed at the sight of a Twinkie and would have had trouble comprehending a Dorito. So, looking ahead 100 years, they’re predicting that the food people typically consume will get weird in ways that are surprisingly predictable.
For example? Consider insects in your diet. You can already buy pasta and food bars made with cricket flour that adds extra protein, and roasted crickets are sold whole at the website http://www.bonanza.com. Grasshoppers are equally nutritious, and mealworms and black soldier flies are, we are told, a great source of dietary fat. There’s some debate about whether eating insects is more environmentally-conscious than eating chicken or beef, but reports suggest that the insects can survive on diets that you wouldn’t feed to your pig.
What about hamburger that is made in the laboratory? Companies like Memphis Meat and Mosa Meat are patterning stem cells into animal tissue, which can be converted into synthetic meat that looks like ground beef. The process uses 7-45% less energy than raising animals for slaughter, and produces 78-96% fewer greenhouse gas emissions—and, as you might guess, it involves 99% less land use than conventionally produced steak. Along the same lines, NASA researchers created fish fillets by dipping goldfish muscle into fetal bovine serum, while New Wave Foods is looking for ways to create synthetic shrimp out of red algae.
Farmed fish are already part of our diet, and history suggests that it will totally take over the fish market. Raising cattle takes up a lot of land, but raising cultivated fish as livestock takes place where people don’t live (in the ocean), and fish require only a fraction of the amount of feed that cattle do in order to produce the same amount of protein. In case you think this is far-fetched, the former director of Aquaculture at WorldFish Corp. says that most aquatic food now comes from farming rather than fishing. That shouldn’t be surprising, since virtually all the beef, pork and chicken we consume now comes from farmed animals, rather than hunted ones.
You already eat vegetables and other plant life. Why not micro-algae as well? The microscopic plants feed off carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and are rich in proteins, fats and carbohydrates—including a high concentration of omega 3 fatty acids.
Not ready for the brave new world of exotic (and disgusting) foods? Don’t worry; over time, your kids or grandkids will eat these future delicacies with the same nonchalance that you now give to Doritos and Twinkies.