Food in 2067? A brave new world

18 April, 2017 by
Danielle Bowling

Meals on Mars are still a while off, so we’ll have to make do with planet Earth for now. But what will food look like in 2067? Well, according to chef Mark Best, it’ll be a brave new world.

To imagine how we will be dining in 50 years takes a fair talent for crystal ball gazing. Even going back that long and tracking the changes forward doesn’t seem to help due to the constant appropriation and ebb and flow of food fashion. The current prevalence of fire, whole beasts and long beards shows that there’s nothing linear about it. The rate of change is increasing due to technology and is proportionate to the diner’s boredom threshold.

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So where will we be? Given the empirical scientific evidence of climate change and Trump’s ’nukes’ policy, everyone should be seriously worried about actually being alive in 50 years.

The discovery of Earth-like planets in nearby solar systems has given people the idea that our species can trade in this one and start afresh. The reality would be that the rich would go to the shiny new planet and the poor would stay on the old one and have to wear raincoats all the time in some sort of fucked up Blade Runner dystopia.

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Matt Damon also gave hope when he managed to get stuck on Mars and ‘science the shit’ out of his old spuds and doggy bags of his own faecal matter. There is some science behind his big screen miasma. Scientists have discovered that the soils of Mars are suitable for growing potatoes. They just haven’t discovered how to protect the gardeners from cosmic rays, cyclonic winds, global dust storms and Don Burke. It looks like we will have to make do with our own blue marble for a while longer.

matt-damon-martian.jpgImage: Modern Farmer

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We have the capacity to feed everyone on the planet now, but between the one percent owning everything and a pathological antipathy to those in most need, we can’t seem to manage it. This peculiar irony plays out best on cable TV. Half the planet watching obese kids doing ‘winning’ double fist pumps on Food Network and the other half shown on National Geographic wondering how to keep theirs alive.

Food security is by far our biggest issue. Our current agricultural systems are under stress and failing to keep up with the consumption of an exponentially growing population – 7.5 billion and growing. In 50 years we’re looking at 10.2 billion with most of the growth in developing countries. Our traditional means of fulfilling our nutritive requirements are no longer work. Our days of eating chunks of charred cow and sushi for school lunches are coming to an end.

In agriculture, feed conversion rate is the ratio of feed per kilogram output. Beef is one of the worst. The average dressed kilogram of meat requires 6kg of feed to produce. Pigs are better at around 4kg of feed per 1kg pork roast with crackling. Sheep are baaad at around 6kg foraged feed per kilogram of Frenched cutlets but at least you get socks and a jumper. Chook is good at around 1.6kg of feed per drumstick if you can get your head and gag reflex around only 39 days to maturity. Bills famous scrambled eggs will take 1.8kg of feed per doz, excluding the remainder of the secret recipe [butter, salt and pepper].

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Farmed fish was once seen as the panacea for the chronically overfished natural resource, but 1kg of farmed tuna requires 3kg of wild caught sardines or anchovies to produce. Salmon, excluding the one John West rejected, usually uses a commodified food source at the same ratio. Crickets, the darling of ‘committed, progressive restaurants’ for almost all of 2016 are great at a ratio of 1.7; but, crickets. 

There is no doubt dining as we know it will change. By 2067 – if we are not locked into a reductive human flesh eating cycle, a la zombie apocalypse – the process of commoditisation of all aspects of the dining process will continue. The supermarket will devolve even further (if that particular horror can be imagined) with more products based on fewer basic commodity ingredients.

There will be fewer people to serve you, as automation technology will be used to counter the inefficiencies and cost of humans.

The super rich will eat in restaurants owned by ‘Restaurant Corp’ catering premium bespoke products to the super rich and cooked by holograms of 1995 Neil Perry. The vast middle class will be eating protein bars from vending machines. Flavours: GM plankton, stem cell jelly and giant squid. “Please look at the screen to settle your account”.

The rest will be eating each other on a self serve basis.