When it comes to food and nutrition around the world the figures can seem bleak. Global population is expected to hit nine billion by 2050. And right as we speak, 10 per cent of the world’s population is undernourished.
But exciting food trends are emerging that are changing the face of the culinary arts and helping meet the nutritional needs of a growing and diverse world.
Here are three food trends worth following.
Technology has infiltrated every other aspect of our lives, so it should come as no surprise that its also influenced the food and beverage industry. Whether we can see it or not, technology touches every part of the food chain from production and manufacture to transport and storage.
Not only does technology impact the way food is produced – precision agriculture with GPS tracking systems and even the use of drones in farming are good examples – but new ways of preserving food and their nutritional quality are being tested every day. Last year, a high-pressure food preservation technique was developed. Not only does it kill bacteria and make food safe, but keeps its taste, quality and nutrients intact. Or take the Brazilian researchers who extended the shelf-life of pasteurised milk from seven to 15 days with colloidal silver embedded in the milk’s polyethylene bottles.
We can expect technology to continue to inspire and change the way we grow, transport and eat food.
Alternative proteins on the rise
What Cambodians have eaten for centuries may actually be the secret to fulfilling the growing need for protein around the world. Crickets, grasshoppers and other insects have peaked the interest of the culinary world as an alternative to meat and plant based proteins. With the global population expected to hit 9 billion by 2050, the deep-fried critters found in Phnom Penh’s street markets could very well become the next new thing.
Food manufacturers are catching on and starting to produce edible products with insects. This will only become more popular in the coming years.
Superfoods contain high levels of vitamins and minerals that the body needs. They can also boast antioxidants – molecules that help protect the human body’s cells from damage and disease.
Because of the powerful nutritious punch they pack, superfoods could be key in helping the 795 million people around the world who are undernourished. They could also help feed a growing global population.
Here are a few superfoods worth getting to know better.
Moringa is a plant that is native to parts of Asia and Africa that is drought-resistant and fast-growing. Seed pods can be eaten like vegetables and the leaves and seeds can also be used as an herbal medicine. Moringa is starting to be considered a superfood.
“Milligram for milligram, it outperforms many of the classic sources of vitamins and minerals by multiples…” (One Green Planet)
Cambodians have known about moringa for generations and have traditionally grown the trees close to their homes. Seeds are used in soups, teas and medicines and young leaves are often fried with shrimp or added as a topping to fish soup.
Baobab: The Superfruit of Africa’s Tree of Life
The Baobab tree is Africa’s iconic “tree of life”. It stores water in the rainy season and produces nutrient-dense fruit in the middle of the dry season. The tree’s longevity and tenacity is a powerful symbol of life and survival. The Baobab tree was around long before humans were. It is native to the African savannah’s dry and arid climate. In an environment where little else can live, let alone thrive, the Baobab can grow up to 30 metres tall and 11 metres wide.
Its fruit is also life-giving. It contains six times the antioxidants of blueberries, six times the vitamin c of oranges and six times the potassium of bananas. It also offers a 50% heart-healthy fibre per serving and twice as much calcium as milk.
People the world over are looking at the Baobab tree, eager to develop its seeds and fruit for consumer products.
While feeding a growing global population certainly presents challenges, new developments and discoveries about food show great promise for the future.
What are your favourite food trends to follow?