A science-fiction look at the next two decades of food developments, from robot farmers to 3D-printed meals to government monitoring of your daily calorie intake.
It’s the year 2038. The word “flavor” has fallen into disuse. Sugar is the new cigarettes, and we have managed to replace salt with healthy plants. We live in a society in which we eat fruit grown using genetics. We drink synthetic wine, scramble eggs that do not come from chickens, grill meat that was not taken from animals, and roast fish that never saw the sea.
Was this what we had in mind when we started seeking transparency, traceability, and sustainability of our food system many years ago in the early aughts? About a decade ago, we lived through an agricultural bottleneck caused by warm temperatures that caused plagues and diseases, which severely compromised the food sources we were cultivating and consuming. By the end, three quarters of the world’s food was derived from just 12 plant and five animal species. We learned from this mistake and started to embrace true biodiversity, grew meat in labs, and put robotics into farms. But the technological advances that have made clean, sustainable food possible have also created some horrifying scenarios.