The Future of Food
What will we be eating in 100 years?
Food has been the play-stuff of science since we can remember. With an ever growing population and seemingly limitless scientific capabilities, we are always on the look out for the invention that will change the way we eat. We draw simple and irreplaceable pleasure from eating, so can we realistically adapt the food industry to see to the world’s gastronomic needs without turning our meals into tasteless, colourless blobs of nutrition?
‘Molecular gastronomy’, a concept invented by French chemical physicist Hervé This, believes it can tackle the future problem of feeding a population of ten billion. The basic idea is that using only compounds, like saccharides and amino-acids, will make food totally nutritious, easily transportable and entirely waste free. He calls this Note by Not cooking: “no meat, no vegetables, no fruits, no fish, no eggs – only compounds, and you make the dish.”
To demonstrate the concept in practice, Hervé mixes ovalbumin – the main protein in egg whites – water and simple oil. Now to the question of giving taste, odour and shape: he adds beta-carotene to give his dish the orange colour of carrots and cellulose for consistency. The outcome is a rather aesthetically pleasing purée.
“People are upset by the idea.” Says Hervé. “I don’t care by the way. They will have it. For many reasons… There will be an energy crisis and a water crisis.” Furthermore, Herve says that Note by Note cooking will provide a solution to food going off, as up to 45% of food is spoiled while travelling from the farm to your plate.
This future image of gastronomy seems bleak and resembles too much the packaged pastes eaten by astronauts. Is this what we are really heading towards or can our problems be resolved with increased efficiency in the industry and individual diligence, rather than a complete overhaul of food as we know it? Let The Stand know what you think by commenting below.
Image courtesy of thescienceinformant.wordpress.com