What if we could do away with consuming farm-raised animals and instead eat insect-based protein or in vitro meat? What if we could stack farms atop each other and automate them with robots? Or blend cutting-edge hydroponics technology with advanced fish farming systems? Scientists say we may be on the verge of doing all the above – with 2018 shaping up to be a key year for the food trade.
Did you know: to produce a single kilogram (kg) of beef, a farmer needs 10kg of animal feed? That same 10kg can also nourish 10kg of grasshoppers. This data is no mere curio for trivia fans or zoologists – it could be vital information for the farmers, politicians and food scientists of tomorrow.
Per the Worldwatch Institute, global meat production has tripled over the last four decades and increased 20 percent in the last 10 years, putting serious strains not only on farmers, but also on the environment. The meat industry is one of the world’s biggest pollutants, and health scares like BSE or commonly known as “mad cow disease”, bird flu and swine flu have done nothing to help its cause.
So, could farmers of the future instead turn to the much-neglected insect world in their search for sustainable, environment-friendly animal protein? The idea is less fanciful than it may sound. In fact, insect protein is just one of four major trends that could change the way the world eats in 2025 – and beyond.