Today when it seems that any information is available to us, we are paradoxically far from knowledge about the foods we eat. We have no idea what the animals were fed or where apples sold at the supermarket were grown. Food habits are also changing as we live in a completely different way than our ancestors and therefore we eat differently. Eating is not only getting the substances necessary for survival but an essential part of our social life.
Technological breakthroughs of the last hundred years have greatly influenced the relationship between people and food. On the one hand, junk and fast food have appeared, and on the other many people started to care about a healthy lifestyle. Some people think about responsible consumption, while others suffer from eating disorders.
Doctors are preoccupied with erratic nutrition and problems with the formation of good habits. Scientists are asking more ambitious questions as “How to feed humanity when resources begin to run out?” We tried to understand the promising innovations in the world of food and look into the future.
The possibility of raising meat or creating milk in the laboratories exists not only out of pity to animals but due to a lack of resources. Almost 850 million people in the world do not eat enough and a third of childhood deaths in developing countries are associated with hunger.
The technique of culturing tissues from individual cells has long been known and now various organizations have set about growing them. The Cultured Beef project at the Dutch University of Maastricht is working to grow meat in a nutrient medium from muscle cells obtained from a live cow. This allows us to save animals, not waste space, and significantly reduce the impact on the environment.
Safe Alcohol Analogue
Many people dream about a drink with a pleasant taste that helps to relax but without toxic effects on the liver and heart, as well as without the risk of poisoning, a hangover or dependence. British professor David Nutt is developing a product called Alcosynth and believes that by 2050 this analog of alcohol will completely replace the original.
It is assumed that the drink will improve the mood and create an effect similar to being drunk but without such consequences as a hangover or negative effects on internal organs. It is possible that after a night of drinking, it will be possible to take a pill that quickly neutralizes the effect of the drink if you need to drive and safely return home. While Alcosynth is supposed to be used in cocktails, it is not known what kind of taste it will have.
Personal DNA Diets
As the data accumulates about which gene in our DNA encodes which function, it becomes possible to study not only rare diseases but also such mundane things as digesting food, its tolerance, and metabolism of its components. Nutrigenomics is a science combining genetics with nutritional science.
It is assumed that over time this knowledge will allow you to make the most personalized food diets and technology will help to introduce this into our everyday life. The application on your smartphone will tell you which products to buy or what to choose in a restaurant. Such technology will allow us to overcome different diseases like peptic ulcer, gastritis, bleeding hemorrhoids, and cholelithiasis.
Health Food Gadgets
Although the majority of packages describe the composition of the products in detail, we don’t know anything about what we eat. Where did the potato grow from which the chips were made? What did the cow eat whose milk you’re drinking? On what soil were the grapes grown from which this wine was made? It is difficult to answer these questions if you do not ask them directly to the manufacturers but special scanners that determine the product’s composition, caloric content and the presence of allergens can help.
Such devices are designed for rapid molecular analysis of an object whether it is a food product or medicine. While they are very expensive and scientists have to balance between improving accuracy and reducing the size of the device to a pocket-size. Another similar undertaking is scanners that detect the content of a particular component in food, such as gluten or peanuts.
3D Printed Food
Three-dimensional printers that print food of the most fantastic forms are already a reality. You can buy a printer from the Dutch company By Flow, in which cartridges are loaded with both sweet and unsweetened products like guacamole or beef. This is a new step in molecular cuisine, which Michelin restaurant chefs have long mastered. The product is divided into molecules and any shape can be given to the resulting mass. The possibilities are limited only by imagination.