Home-grown meat substitutes, space farms, customised crops – these are some of the ways that eco-anxiety will affect the way we consume food in the future.
Eco-anxiety is a very real thing. In fact, we recently rounded up some of the best books to arm you with all the knowledge you need about climate change and the environment.
Small but significant steps to help save our environment are being made - a growing vegan industry, the plastic straw ban and a rising awareness of fast fashion - but we all know that much more needs to be done. A new report shows how our eco-anxiety and animal welfare awareness could impact the foods we eat in the future, in order to try and save the planet.
According to the Sainsbury’s Future of Foods report, it’s likely that a quarter of all British people will be vegetarian in 2025 (up from one in eight Britons today) and half of us could identify as flexitarians (up from a fifth today). The “alternative proteins” market is set to soar by as much as 25% with algae milk predicted to be the next plant-milk to take over from the popular nut-based versions.
By 2050, Sainsbury’s could be selling home lab-grown ‘meat’ kits which would be found in the ‘lab-grown’ aisle. This ground-breaking idea is likely be accelerated by investors, governments and scientists recognising the demand for more sustainable options. With the world’s population expected to reach over nine billion people in 30 years, it will just not be feasible to produce and consume the same quantities of meat that we currently eat in 2019.
We’ll also be able to pick up a carrot from the shelf and know exactly when it was planted, how it was fertilised, when was plucked from the ground and even what its individual taste profile is. A growing number of new technological systems, such as blockchain, and a need for more personalised and detailed information could soon allow for ‘ultra-customisation’ for consumers. We may well be selecting mangoes at the exact desired stage of ripeness and sweetness or even 3D printed snacks according to our exact spice tolerance.
Looking even further ahead, in the next 150 years we could start growing food on other planets such as Mars. This could lead to finding new ways of farming in hostile environments here on earth, enabling us to sustainably transform barren landscapes, such as parts of the desert, into fertile land. This will have a profound impact in regenerating and restoring the balance of life on planet earth.
“The expected trends we have uncovered are being driven by a better understanding of the environmental impact of food production, a growing global population, and incredible advances in technology,” explained Dejan Mitrovic, Co-Founder of futurologist Department 22 who conducted the report. “150 years ago our diets were completely different to how they are today. It’s unbelievable to think what might happen by 2169.”
The report also suggested that we could soon be prescribed medicinal foods, jellyfish might become a regular feature on menus and we’ll potentially be consuming nutrients and vitamins from a patch.
Images: Getty and Unsplash