Emerging Food Technologies

Are food production technologies set to disrupt our food systems?

Cultured meats, insects, seaweed, algae, are but some of the new foods emerging into food markets. In combination with fourth industrial revolution technologies as the Internet of Things, Big Data, and robotics, these technologies are set to leave a significant mark on food systems. Given that our food systems are intended to deliver significant sustainability, health, and economic benefits, can we make a ensure that these developments are bringing new opportunities for sustainable and equitable food production and consumption?

Research on the food systems impacts of new and emerging food production technologies is still in its early stages. For example, the LEAP programme, funded by the Wellcome Trust’s Our Planet Our Health Programme, is one of the first major interdisciplinary partnerships to provide evidence for decision-makers on alternative protein production.[1] Biotechnology company developments such as Unibio involve growing bacteria from natural gas for use as livestock feed, a process that can be adapted for direct human consumption. There is a need to ‘map the terrain’ of novel foods to increase understanding of potential systemic implications arising from their large-scale production, including from a health, equity, and environmental perspective (e.g. use of critical resources such as land).

This project will collaboratively draw on the expertise and insights from key groups within food systems foresight who will be interested and invested in the development of alternative food production technologies. As a first step, an exploratory side-event on the future of novel foods in global food systems will be conducted as part of the EAT Stockholm Food Forum in June 2019. This event will present the current research and developments for novel food production and invite input and suggestions on their future evolution and potential food system disruptions.

[1] Livestock, Environment and People Programme https://www.leap.ox.ac.uk/about

[1] EAT-Lancet Commission Report., 2018, Healthy Diets From Sustainable Food Systems: Food, Planet, Health: https://eatforum.org/content/uploads/2019/01/EAT-Lancet_Commission_Summary_Report.pdf

[2] World Economic Forum, 2018, Innovation with a Purpose: The role of technology innovation in accelerating food systems transformation: https://www.weforum.org/projects/innovation-with-a-purpose-strengthening-food-systems-through-technology


Upcoming events:

“Novel Food Technologies at Scale – Disruptive Implications” – EAT Forum Side Event

12 June: 7:00 – 8:30 am, Tre Kronor room, 5th floor (Open Event) 

Contact saher.hasnain@foresight4food.net for further information and to indicate your interest in this event.


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