By 2050 the world’s population is estimated to reach over 9 billion, 30% larger than it currently is. If we continue to farm and eat the way we do today, we’d potentially need an additional landmass the size of Europe to produce enough food to meet the growing demand. So what does the future of food look like and how will we grow enough food for us all to eat in the years to come? Tonight investigates.
Here in Britain we have got used to a varied and rich diet but we currently produce less than two-thirds of the foods we eat. Complex international supply chains keep our shelves stocked but serious global events and the exploding world population, mean that our food security is at risk.
In Tonight’s programme we visit some of the urban ventures that are maximising the use of public space to grow fruit and vegetables and teach the next generation how to farm. We speak to the owner of an indoor miniature farm housed inside a small shop about the new aquaponic technology he uses, and we go 100 feet below ground to see how one entrepreneur is growing high-value salad crops in old WWII bomb shelters, four storeys beneath the London Underground!
But it’s not all about how we grow our food. One of the biggest challenges we’ll face by 2050 will be maintaining the high levels of protein we are used to in our Western diet. As the world’s appetite for meat increases we might have to turn to some pretty unusual sources for our protein in the next 50 years… insects anyone?
We hold a dinner party to try out some tasty insect dishes (these are farmed especially for human consumption, not your common or garden worm!) and see whether we are ready to incorporate them into our diets or will the ‘yuck factor’ get in the way.
But if this type of protein fix doesn’t quite do it for you, how about a burger grown in a lab? The World’s first in-vitro beef burger made from stem cells from living cows was cooked and tasted in London last year. We speak to the man behind the prototype, Professor Post and ask him if lab-grown beef is going to be hitting our shelves any time soon.
And we fast forward to a World without solid food… as two willing professional participants test out a drink that claims to contain all the nutrients we need to survive so we won’t have to eat at all.
Tonight: Future Foods is on ITV at 8.00pm