Year 2050 – what will our diets be like?

Experts predict there will be an extra 2.5 billion people living on our planet by 2050- that’s the equivalent of the Chinese and Indian populations combined. So how on earth do you feed 9.5 billion people when food supplies are already under immense strain?

According to the UN, we will have to double our current food production in order to sustain such a huge amount of people- but with one billion of us already starving, how is an increased rate of production going to be possible?

The problems we face are numerous: climate change is reshaping the face of agriculture and making the land harder to farm; the oceans are chronically overfished and a large proportion of the world faces increasing water shortages.

Overpopulation is calling for a major overhaul of current agricultural practice. The next few years are set to give rise to a new generation of farmers- the ‘radical farmers’, who are already finding bright, innovative ways to restructure our food industry and conserve our precious resources.

On the menu for 2050:

  • Insects

Ray Mears eat your heart out- spiders, worms, ants, wasps, beetles, grasshoppers and locusts are predicted to rise in popularity over the next few years and experts are viewing insect farms as a high possibility. Bugs are rich in protein, low in fat and cholesterol, high in calcium and iron and above all- plentiful. They require little space for farming and emit fewer greenhouse gases than conventional livestock. And as if it couldn’t get any better- they can live on our waste products- paper, algae and industrial waste.

The UN and EU have both backed the insect farm concept and are keen to see if the practice is feasible. The EU is currently offering €3 million to its member states to promote the use of insects in cooking.

The Dutch government is already researching ways of insect farming, and have considered ways to extract insect protein without forcing squeamish westerners to eat creepy crawlies.

  • Artificial meat

Artificial, or ‘cultured’ meat is grown in giant vats from stem cells. Western eating habits are spreading across the world and causing havoc for livestock farmers. More land is needed to support livestock, meaning that more woodland needs to be destroyed. Experts believe we could produce the first artificial hamburger by next year, although it might be tasteless due to having no fat or blood.

If you would like to know which foods offer the highest nutritional benefit for the least ecological impact, a nutritionist may be able to help. To find out more about how eating healthily can benefit your health, please visit Nutrition Topics. Alternatively, search for a nutritionist.

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Zoe Thomas

Written by Zoe Thomas

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