The future might be bleak, at least this is what came to my mind as I read a few reports from the conference held by the Institute of Food Technologists on the theme "Where Science Feeds Innovation" at IFT15.
Feeding 7 billion people in a safe, affordable, way, and scaling up for more to come, is not easy, actually it is really daunting. The progress humanity made in its capability to feed itself is nothing short of extraordinary. Only two centuries ago generalised famine was supposed to be the destiny of a humanity that was reproducing in such a way to reach 2 billion people. Now we have 7.350 billion people, and counting, and although there are many people starving and in poverty we cope with most of the world population.
The increase in productivity, in yield, in the last century has been staggering. And yet water availability for crops, methane generated by cattle and so forth are clearly pointing to the need for re-inventing the food chain.
And this is where this news points as a solution: Food printing.
Using 3D printing technology researchers are exploring new ways to create food. Hod Lipson, in his book "Fabricated: the new world of 3D printing" goes as far as claiming that printing food will be the killer application for 3D printers. You buy cartridge of basic components and download recipes form the Internet. Press a button and voilà, you get your soufflè printed, probably you will get the plate printed as well...
There have been several works to create "artificial meat" and to my cultural biased taste that might even sound better than eating insects, as many are proposing.
3D printing makes it all the more convenient, I agree.
But there is no way I would change my ladle, spoon, fork and p!an for a 3D printer. The idea that German technology may replace French and Italian cuisine is just not ...palatable. Sorry.