MAC-Team

New foods

Create your FutureA Future of Food Novelty and Better Health

[NB: published by the European Commission in Futurium]
By 2030, food will be still linked to culture preferences, but with increasing globalisation and personal mobility, cultural diversity in communities will be exceeded by cuisine diversity.
In addition, people's choices of what to eat will be greatly expanded by the development of new and novel foods – in part as a response to innovation in agribusiness (GMO foods), in part as a response to scarcity issues (cereal super-strains, perennial farming), in part as a response to ethical issues ('in vitro' meat production).

Broad emerging categories of new food include:

  • novel food (other source of proteins such as insects)
  • functional food (nutraceutics)
  • smart food (using biotech)
  • non-natural food or synthetic food

Consumers will be highly involved emotionally in the food production – from individual food requirements fine-tuned to each person's own DNA to the co-creation of regional city food "factories," urban orchards, urban vertical farms, and cooperative ownership of food production (eg, "cow shares"). The end user will be more involved in the value chain and better educated especially regarding waste production.

Food production will require less energy and water. New science and technology innovation and the awareness of the large impact on our ecosphere of farming and distribution of food will lead to lowering the environmental impact of food throughout the entire production chain.

As humanity moves into new frontiers – space, oceans, our own redesigned selves (trans-humanity)— people will require new foods, for example, the redesigned trans-human physique may require an entirely new diet and different nutrients. Data-mining people's biosensors will suggest functional foods for each individual related to disease prevention. Some food will have a nutritive role, a health role, a social role and some food will be mere than a nourishment. The most novel foods will create an experience and will deeply affect the emotions.

Trends

  • It will no be longer be ethical to consume huge amounts of animal food,
  • Animal food production will be redesigned towards more novel food
  • Data-mining will enable monitoring for possible diseases and individual foods will be designed to offer prevention or cure.
  • Data-mining and health research related to individual needs and disease prevention will change people's individual food choices
  • Boundaries will blur between food, additive food, chemical food, non-food and 3 D print food with additives.
  • More education and coaching of individual consumer in the consumption of food (elderly how to stay healty) and the production of food (safety and sustainability in the entire chain)
  • Food supply direct to consumer (no grocery shops = waste)
  • Sustainable farming, production, transport will be the norm
  • Traceability extended and information about every step in the value chain
  • Bio-photonics will offer enormous potential in diseases searching, environmental monitoring, food and drug quality and safety.

Weak signals

  • Food will grow into a multi-sensory eating experience
  • "Non healthy food" (fastfood, snacks) if consument in large amounts will be labelled as such and recommend not to give to certain groups (elderly, kits) ref. legislation cigarettes
  • Nature shopping and regional food production will be the new spirituality
  • In vitro production will be a new market niche
  • Growing awareness that calorie restriction boost longevity and boost memory in older persons (ex.Alzheimer)

Policy Responses

  • Carbon neutral cities and green cities will put policies in place to assist their citizens in producing healthy food in urban areas which will resolve partly logistics issues in cities and meet the need for regional community building initiatives.
  • Instituting disincentives for non-healthy food choices or availability
  • Slow food (cultural, local, taste and knowledge)and CSR labels / regulations
  • Labelling changes: without proof no mentioning of additives
  • Mandating complete nutritional and provenance information to help consumers to make better choices
  • Legislation regarding DNA research, datamining related new food production

Underlying questions:

  • What major trends in science and technology are likely to continue by 2030?
  • What early signals of new technologies are likely to emerge and what major changes/disruptions can they generate?
  • How S&T advances are going to impact the society, economy and governance in the EU and at large?
  • What sort of policy response is needed to create sciences-and-technology-innovation-friendly" ecosystems"?
  • What sort of policy responses are needed to make emerge technologies that fit with broader policy objectives and citizens' expectations?

Food issues per se:

Novel food:

  • Will the spread of novel food be driven by profit motives?
  • Do we need novel food, when we have enough nutritious traditional food (nutrition-wise we do not need novel food!), including fruit and vegetable? Will this be discriminatory towards the responsible consumers who do take care of their food intake, by eating well? Should they be penalised by the market as processed food, e.g. bread and cornflakes which is already on the market, are fortified by synthetic vitamins per se?
  • Could it happen that the companies producing novel food will, for example, due to the fact that they would hold patents, get and misuse a monopoly position – versus the current state of having relatively good competition in the food market?

GM crops and GM food:

  • Will the production of GM crops be fully accepted?
  • GM technology is likely come to become essential for ensuring food security, given the climate change stress factors that crops are facing: The same crop must be resistant to draught/floods/as well as the related pests and diseases related to the two weather extremities.

Meat from cloned animals:

  • Will this be accepted?
  • Do we need it? In Europe an average citizen eats 3 times more meat that is the health-wise maximum, in US the situation is even worse – 4 times more!

Artificial meat:

  • Made of what (tofu or animal tissue...)? How? Cost?
  • Marine based food – algae – fish farming, etc.
  • What would be the impact on the global eco-sphere? Can we afford this?

Sociological impact:

In many cultures, including the European culture, food is a social phenomenon (restaurants/canteens/receptions/food events/travelling on airplanes, etc). Given that, will the emergence of 'new food' polarise the society, for example: (i) people who can afford novel food versus people who cannot afford novel food, (ii) people who do not want to eat novel food versus people who for convenience and/or marketing reasons opt for convenience food?

External factors:

  • How would obesity and related diseases, such as diabetes, influence the food supply? In such a scenario would people who take care of their nutrition intake (thin people) be discriminated?
  • Food logistics: would the spread of RFID technology (traceability, etc) change improve food logistics? Would this work against or for new food?

Evidence

CHALLENGES:

  • Food production could become very expensive, due to higher research costs and legislated regulatory demands, and no longer an affordable activity for small and medium enterprises.
  • Avoiding creating high-quality food 'food oases' among the rich while low-quality food 'food deserts' proliferate among marginalised communities.
  • Creating solutions for Europe and other world regions to address a triple systems-limit crisis created by too little land, water, and energy, greatly limiting food production.
  • Innovations leading to affordable, reliable desalination might make water available to all, but could create a paradigm shift in governance and forecasted migration flows.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Emerging businesses using perennial / renewable production processes borrowed from biology, such as grain crops that mimic prairie ecosystems.
  • Potential for transformative new market niches built around radically novel food products and services.
  • Europe could become for various gene-based health and wellness solutions (such as personalized nutrition) due to its genetically homogenous population.
  • Better nutrition and diet choices could contribute to lowering the huge healthcare cost Europe is facing by 2030.
  • Local food: "city" food production and regional food demand might reboost the local economy and shops.
  • Food design offers a multi-sensory eating experiences: sound, flavor, smell, temperature and design will be manipulated to create a memorable experience and new business opportunities.
  • Regionalism and co-creation with customers of city food factories

QUESTIONS:

  • Will cheap, 3-D printed non-natural food become a very competitive market, with China taking a lead?
  • Will great weather events (droughts, floods) lead to ongoing food crises and influence the political agenda between Europe and Russia, as well as other regions?
  • With no medical evidence yet of the negative impacts of all GM food, should the EC differentiate more among specific GM foods, for example cisgenese?
  • What might be the impact of extensive exploitation of marine-based food on the global ecosphere?
  • Will food innovations create a dual society (haves can afford luxury novel and natural foods, have-nots have to do with 3D printed and other highly processed foods).
  • How can we create more food, taking into account sustainability and water conservation, and producing less waste over the entire value chain?

Source: orginal article "New foods" at Futurium

Contributors to that article submitted in July 2013 by accorfr:

  • elaf
  • Sara Anderlini
  • Kaat Exterbille
  • Tiziano Demaria
  • Alex Atreides
  • techno.curator
  • Alex
  • accorfr

You may find more details of the contributors, updated information on the topic and you may have the possibility to post comments on the topic on the link above