The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety for the public good. They envision a future where credible science drives food policy-making decisions and consumer choice.
In a four-part blog series, IFIC looks at the future of food and the innovative technologies that will take it there:
“When looking ahead to the foods of tomorrow, most Americans are excited about the idea of futuristic food technologies. According to the IFIC Foundation’s 2015 Food and Health Survey, excitement is highest in the younger cohorts, specifically Millennials.”
Future of Food, Part I: Food Innovations of Tomorrow
Megan Meyer, PhD, is an Associate Director for Science Communication at IFIC. In her blog, Future of Food, Part I: Food Innovations of Tomorrow, Dr. Meyer explores examples of futuristic food and technology including petri dish protein, 3D printing, DNA modification, data-driven developments, and culinary tech-based innovations.
She comments on the world’s first lab-grown hamburger and how it could eventually be cost-competitive with its counterpart. Dr. Meyer discusses how “3D printing can take some of the technologies developed from lab meats to develop a full meal or dish.”
She also argues that we will see CRISPR and synthetic biology utilized more in food production because both technologies can “offer targeted solutions to enhance production, quality, and safety in the food supply.”
Future of Food, Part II: Serving Up Meat, OVER Glass
In the second blog of the series, Dr. Meyer takes a look at glass petri dish and examines in vitro, or “lab-grown,” meat:
“As we previously mentioned, Millennials are especially interested in a hypothetical appliance that can turn raw ingredients into any meal, and how they’re are also looking forward to technologies that can make any food from scratch…
“The process of making lab-grown meat starts with harvesting stem cells, which are a specific type of cell that can give rise to many other kinds of cells. After the stem cells are harvested, they are incubated in a nutrient-rich broth, where they are given time and space to divide and multiply.”
Future of Food, Part III: Your Next Meal, Layer by Layer
Matt Raymond, Senior Director of Communications at IFIC, contributed the third blog in the “Future of Food” series. In his piece, Raymond focuses on how 3D printing could be used food production:
“3D printing is poised to revolutionize entire fields from medicine and apparel to vehicles, robotics, construction, and computing. But the high degree of precision and uniformity made possible by 3D printers isn’t limited to the realms of technology and industry; more and more, it promises to change how we produce and prepare what we eat.”
He concluded his piece by stating that there is a demand for such innovations. The IFIC Foundation’s 2015 Food and Health Survey found that 69 percent of adults were “excited to try a 3D printer that could make any food from scratch.” Enthusiasm was even higher among Millennials, at 79 percent.
Future of Food, Part IV: A Farmer with a Vision
Elizabeth Held, Director, White House Writers Group, concluded the four-part blog series by taking a look at what producers are using to bring farming into the future.
Specifically, she mentions three revolutionary tools:
- “Swath control.” Swath control can be used to reduce inputs and waste;
- Variable rate technology. VRT can also reduce inputs, i.e. fertilizer;
- Drones. Drones can allow farmers to “observe patterns and abnormalities…which are easily missed from ground level.”