Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Food of the future: What will we be eating in 2063?

Ben Spalding - 30 ingredient salad
30 ingredient salad

What will food look like 50 years from now?
That is the question that top appliance aficionado Miele attempts to explore, in their recently launched 2063 Dining, an exhibition held at the London Design Festival, that cast an eye ahead to 2063 dining experiences.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary in the UK, Miele, along with leading online fashion and trend forecasting agency, Trendstop, commissioned a report revealing the kitchen of the future will be a fully interactive and multi-functional space, featuring a range of new systems and technologies.

Trendstop CEO, Jaana Jatyri, comments: "There will be dramatic changes in the way we source food and even in what we eat in the next 50 years. For example, the way we are used to transporting food from the farm to store to the home as well as storing it in each stage wastes vast amount of energy and resources. Future consumers will be growing more of their food fresh right in their kitchens. We also suspect they will be able to take advantage of advanced technologies that work on cellular and atomic rather than mechanical levels."

To illustrate the concept, Miele partnered with critically acclaimed chef Ben Spalding, to create a "Feast to the Future".  Ben, 26, who has worked at Heston Blumenthal's three-star Fat Duck and Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir, designed a range of dishes anticipated to be popular in 2063, based upon the themes of home grown, "hyper-local" produce and health conscious food preparation methods.

Chef Ben Spalding creating his "30 ingredient salad"
Chef Ben Spalding creating his "30 ingredient salad"

It is predicted that in fifty years, as the demands for fresh, locally produced organic food increases, we will all, to some degree, grow our own food.  Pioneering technology will allow those of us living in the smallest of spaces, to grow their own vegetables, like this micro cress that Ben grew indoors, using Farmino prototype technology, which combines LED lighting, hydroponics and smart cloud software to control the speed at which vegetables grow.

Ben comments, "Consumers will also have a much wider range of flavours available to them as people will rediscover plants that aren't suitable for commercial food storage or transport, but which suit home growing."

Miele also predicts that kitchens of the future will be equipped with plant walls for water storage and in order to bolster the amount of fresh oxygen available in the home.  The kitchen will also be fully equipped with hydro-nutrition technology to grow delicious fruit, vegetables, herbs and other plants in these growing pods. 

Farmino prototype
Selection of micro cress grown in a Farmino prototype machine

Full of superfoods and jam packed with antioxidants, 10-a-day juices will be the norm.     And it won't just be fruit in your smoothie, just as "green" juices and have become all the rage, it is envisaged that there will be a shift toward "functional food cocktails" where according to Ben, "the idea is to create meals that will contain all the essential vitamins, minerals and macro-nutrients people need to survive."  Ben's creation included a range of ingredients from your everyday Bramley apple juice and lemon zest, to more exotic ones like matcha green tea powder, powdered Tonka Bean, Shiso dressing and tuna mayonaise puree.

Ben also spoke passionately about the carrots that he used in his cocktail, which had been "clamped" - a traditional farming method used to preserve and store root vegetables without the need for refrigeration.  Storing them in sand allows them to stay fresh for months, and maintains that freshly-dug-out-of-the-ground carrot taste.

Ben Spalding - Dumpling & 10-a-day cocktail
Steamed dumpling (not with insects!) and 10-a-day cocktail

As our desire for protein continues and supplies wane, we might start to lean toward more sustainable food sources, like insects.  And although this may not sound appetising, it is likely that by the time manufacturer's are done with re-branding and packaging these critters, insect derived foods will probably look no different to everyday processed foods like ham or fish fingers, and be completely delicious (and of course, unrecognisable, like carmine, which is a red food colouring made from bugs).  Now, doesn't this steamed dumpling look tasty - filled with a paste made from insects and beans, perhaps?  Maybe, not today.

Ben's take on salads of the future was a "raw and cooked 30-ingredient salad" (pictured above), with fruit, vegetables and herbs sourced locally.  Ben used traditional vegetables that we know of today like finely sliced baby beetroot, vine ripened tomatoes and celery leaf, but also more unusual ingredients like squid ink croutons, sea kale berries, liquorice, sweet peach, aniseed and cress that had been grown indoors in a Farmino prototype machine.

In 2063, he comments, "consumers will also have a much wider range of flavours available to them as people will rediscover plants that aren't suitable for commercial food storage or transport, but which suit home growing."

Once grown, it will be a case of "steaming is believing", as steam cooking becomes the food preparation of choice for the health conscious.  Although, you don't have to wait fifty years for technology to catch-up, Miele has released steam oven technology with it's new Generation 6000 range, which effectively combines a fully fledged steam oven, conventional oven and steam combination oven all in one oven.  So, you too, can steam your way to your own feast to the future!

I was invited along with other food bloggers and journalists to "Feast to the Future" at the Miele showroom in London.  View a video of  "Miele - Kitchen of the Future exhibition" here.
You can follow Miele on Twitter at @Miele_GB and Ben Spalding at @chefbenspalding 

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