Sci-Fi films and TV shows have been getting most of the cinema industry budget and audience’s attention for the last 10 years. They always show not-so-unbelievable communication devices and super cool computers, cars or spaceships, but what do they eat? Do they treasure mac n’ cheese as it is worth? Is brunch still a thing? Let’s daydream about how food will be in the future!
The food visionaries that predicted we no longer would need to waste time eating and one pill would be enough after 2000 faced gastropubs, molecular gastronomy and Instagraming food became a reality. However, there are still a few who consider this pill-eating-nightmare a future that has just been delayed.
Genetic engineering is the most likely factor to affect future food, from sides that are hard to imagine. We are already using it to modify our food; most of fruit and vegetables we eat are already clones. The food industry nailed perfect looking strawberries and apples for the market -the ones we shoppers love- and they stick to it. Hit an organic farmer’s market if you are into uniqueness.
The need to find another source for protein rather than live livestock mammals not only fancies adding bugs to our diet but also creating meat without animals. How, you may wonder. In vitro, straight from a Petri dish.
This is still just the embryo of a dream, but eventually it could produce clean meat, free of any bacteria and modified to taste and feel as whatever we like. Did somebody say fish with bacon flavor?
All the GM foods sound scary, what change doesn’t, but start considering the joy of eating meat without having to kill any actual animals.
Modifying the genomes of animals allows cheaper GM Salmon but also create wonders like the vaccine potato. The World Health Organization reached some scientists in 1991 with the need to distribute vaccines to everybody, including people living in the poorest regions of the world who had it impossible to travel. Injecting some cholera genes into potatoes that will teach the human immune system once eaten, genetic engineers were able to produce a very easy and cheap way to distribute the antibodies.
Genetic engineering could also bring into our tables all kind of delicious treaties like healthy junk food. A burger with all the taste from the fat with no side-effects, cholesterol free eggs or rice rich in protein for famine emergencies are dreams still to become true, but they might eventually.
If we extend future food predictions to the limit, HG-Wells-Time-Machine far into the future, genetic engineering could take it on us. Our bodies could become so different from now as to be hard to recognize.
Just on the natural side, within millions of years, evolution is supposed to shrink our stomachs and digestive systems, same as our teeth and mouths. The more machines we invent to do physical tasks, the less nutrients our body needs to survive.
If we ever find a way to travel the space and live out there, even if we find planets close to earth conditions, there are going to be differences. According to some visionaries, adapting our bodies genetically to thrive into the new conditions is going to be cheaper and more viable in the long-term rather than greenhouses or terraforming.
How about you? What do you think food will be like in the future?