Eating the Future

It used to be that in the future we would all eat seaweed. So I hear, anyway, that was the grand prediction from popular science and the like in, say, the 1970s. I’ve still not eaten any seaweed.

These days we are seeing some new shifts in potential future foods. It’s important to note first that:

  1. Some other people do actually eat seaweed today
  2. Our diets have shifted even if not as radically as some past predictions suggested they would

Regarding [2], as an economy grows the people eat more animal flesh, for example. There’s also soda and other luxuries of the sort. But our diets have also changed without us changing them directly. Farming methods, crop selections, shipping methods, subsidies, regulations, and other factors have put different foods in our mouths without any change on our end.

One alternative to seaweed may be vat-grown animal flesh. Fake in the sense that it won’t be obtained through slaughter, it will be composed out of real animal cells, grown in vats in very different farms resembling labs more than anything to do with Old MacDonald

…And on that farm’s sanitized stainless steel work counter he had a centrifuge, with a whirrrrrrr here and a whirrrrrrr there, here a…

There was recently a non-event where some beta-quality lab burgers were served up. Of course, it will take time for acceptance of this food, and equally long to bring production quantity and quality forth.

Insects also have the buzz lately as a potential food source for our future. They’ve been eaten as long as humans have been around (both intentionally and unintentionally, of course).

The only real reason you aren’t eating bugs this very moment is that some people think they are gross. Go figure, when these same people may enjoy any number of foods you and I find downright horrid. Still, lots of people have stories about the time they tried chocolate covered ants or some such.

It seems likely that tiny creatures may crawl into our mouths in the future.

And Soylent, named after the film, Soylent Green. Actual Soylent is a so-called food substitute. Of course, it’s food, which does make a fine substitute for itself.

It’s a powder of various nutrients and so forth, meant to constitute a meal. It is mixed with water to produce a drinkable meal.

The basic idea comes from our pets which subsist on small pellets of homogeneous food without complaint for their whole lives. If they can do it, who could possibly think that human biology is so special to preclude an equivalent?

If made to cost very little, and be palatable, and safe to rely on, Soylent or something like it could do major damage to hunger, while improving efficiency.

It could theoretically help diminish obesity, food waste issues, and even ease losses from damaged crops (if they still contain respectable levels of extractable nutrients, but merely fall short on saleability) too.

Who knows where this product will end up, or others like it. As a side dish? As an ingredient in other preparations? The future of eating has many options.

The fast food connoisseur of the future’s order: “I’ll have a vat burger, medium french fried grasshoppers, and a Bloomberg* of Soyda**.”

* Bloomberg means the largest beverage size available.
** Soyda is a Soylent-based soda substitute.