Food & Diet
What Will Our Kids Be Eating in 50 Years Time?
In less than fifty years, our children and grandchildren will have to eat in a completely different way than we eat today if they want to prevent the irreversible destruction of the environment. Real meat coming from a previously alive animal will be extremely rare, and people will be using a cheaper synthetic meet made chemically or by extracting proteins from insects.
More and more scientists are realizing that our current system of food production, particularly meat, is not sustainable and by 2050 the meat production will not be able to provide enough meat for the people, as the meat production will decrease, while the number of people is expected to grow significantly. Furthermore, farming has been shown to have a negative effect on the environment and things are only worsening.
For these reasons, as well as for the reasons of animal welfare, the billionaire co-founder of Google, Sergey Brin, invested a quarter of a million dollars into the production of the first ‘meat’ hamburger made in a laboratory. Although this all sounds as science fiction or something you would normally see in a futuristic movie, this project has been well thought through. Brin allowed scientists to grow the amount of meat needed to make one hamburger in the lab, in order to test the process and the result.
As meat has been the best source of protein as well as several minerals and vitamins, giving it up completely is unthinkable for the human race. Besides, everyone, except vegetarians and vegans, can’t imagine spending a week without eating meat at least once or twice.
Throughout the past two centuries, the human population has been increasingly growing, while families started producing less of their food on their own farms. This is why food industry became an essential part of human nutrition. But in 50 years, even these industries won’t be able to produce as much meat as the human race will demand. That’s why scientists believe that producing a replacement for the times when we (or our grandchildren) won’t be able to choose and eat the meat that comes from a real animal. For the same reason, in vitro meat is being produced, currently only on a trial basis, but in a year or two, this process will probably be fully established.
Brin’s money was used by Dr Mark Post from the Maastricht University who grew twenty thousand muscle fibers from cow stems in three months time. These fibers were then pressed together and formed into a hamburger. Post’s goal is to produce ‘meat’ that will be similar, or according to his words ‘identical’ to real meat in a biological sense, with one difference- this meat will be grown in a lab in isolation.
Before this trial version of a hamburger was given to the people for testing in 2013, Dr Post told the Guardian “Cows are very inefficient, they require 100g of vegetable protein to produce only 15g of edible animal protein”. Cows need feeding in order to grow and become food for us, and Post believes that a lot of food is lost in the process. He claims that in vitro meat is more efficient and no cows need to be killed in order to feed us.
Although more research needs to be done in order to get accurate data, Dr Post assumes that cultured meat could reduce overall energy use by a maximum of 70 percent. Finally, even though our grandchildren will probably not know how real meat tastes, they are likely to have a worthy replacement which will feed them, help in energy conservation as well as decrease the level of pollution.