The Food of the Future is Already Here
Food, just like art, is a type of language which expresses itself by technical and creative means. But how will food look like in the future? How will we be producing and consuming it? And how will they be the new frontiers for food and health?
The food of the future is already here, and we can already observe it on a plate of molecular gastronomy. Avant-garde of the new creativity, molecular gastronomy is the study of the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking. A modern style of cooking which may be predictors of what will be the food of the future: the ambition of a new aesthetics that reduces and dries, towards the ethereal and the weightless. The raw materials will be less and less recognizable, to almost disappear, to make way for the creative gesture, for the abstract idea, all the way up to a complete dematerialisation of the ingredients and to the transformation of food in little more than gestures with a power of visual imagery.
A technological revolution is approaching, and it is bound to change our way to stay in the kitchen. Design applied to furniture and cooking devices is now a rapidly growing field and it is likely to generate breakthroughs over the years to come. Our daily cooking will be reduced to the gestures of activating mechanical arms and sophisticated kitchen tools.
And in the meantime, the need for environmental protection will require an increasing awareness in the employment of environmentally friendly and recyclable materials. Expo 2015 in Milan has been a chance for the raise of some reflections on the effects of climate change on our Planet. On this occasion new horizons have been opened up, through which observe nutrition from a fresh perspective from now on. The greenhouse effect and its consequences, such as global warming and increasing Co2, are bound to bring about some profound changes on our Planet, with obvious serious implications for our eating habits. According to UN scientists if the world's temperature rises by three degrees in the coming decades crop yields will unavoidably decline. The drop in the harvest, including the maize which is currently used as feed for farm animals, will result in a decrease in meat and in an increase in prices. Many of the products easily available today will become increasingly scarce, for example beans, cherries, peaches, plums and other types of stone fruit. The coffee production, along with chocolate and wine will be subject to the influence of the new climate conditions.
Things are not going any better for the sea: UN scientists have calculated that the 10-15 percent of the oceans that today host the majority of fishes will be negatively affected from the global warming. This is going to upset the entire ecosystem: salmon and codfish are already endangered species. But the shells of lobsters, shrimps and crabs are going to become weaker day after day. Therefore, forecasts for 2050 are fairly alarming. Many of the products easily available today will become increasingly scarce and foods that now are stranger to us, especially to the Western, will enter our homes and our habits: synthetic meat, insects, seaweeds, jellyfishes, foods with low environmental impact and rich in proteins and vitamins, which are going to enter our everyday diet. Let’s get ready to a different gastronomic future.
Medicine is future foods’ new frontier: biology and nutrition science will serve health and wellbeing. For centuries we have been aware of the close relationship between food and health: he was Hippocrates himself to stress the importance of food for staying healthy, not to mentionthe German Benedictine abbess, Hildegard von Bingen, considered to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany, who back in the Middle Age wrote about the healing properties of plants and vegetables. Today we know as a matter of certainty, thanks to the work of biologists and nutritionists that the healing process of some disorders like depression, panic attack and anxiety disorder can be facilitated by food. Also some autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis and metabolic disease can be treated by means of a specific diet, by combining foods in a certain way and employing targeted cooking methods aiming at activating anti-inflammatory processes.
Mediterranean diet, which from 2010 entered into the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, is based on the consumption of cereals, fruit, vegetables, olive oil, meat, fish and dairy products, typical of the areas around the Mediterranean. According to the US physiologist Ancel Keys, Mediterranean diet affects health and brings longevity.
Anti-aging medicine which stresses the importance of food as a medicine, by starting from the study of patient’s genome, carries out a complete screening which includes information about patient health, social context and working environment, in order to arrange the most suitable diet aimed at improving his/her health conditions and to guarantee longevity and wellness.