Food does more than nourish the body; it feeds the mind and awakens the senses. In fact, food is one of the only things that can appeal to all five senses in its most natural state. From home-made comfort food and questionably delicious street food to high class cuisine using cutting edge culinary techniques like sous vide, it has become a universal symbol for plenty and for satisfaction.
Unfortunately, not everyone has enough or even the very minimal required to survive. Hunger and food waste are the defining characteristics of our global food system, both of which are exacerbated by a climate changing planet. By 2050 there will be more than nine billion people to feed, in a hotter and less predictable world. Rather than be daunted by the scale of the problem, here are ten solutions people have found to ensure future generations continue to experience the wholesome goodness of food in very innovative ways.
1. Coffee Fruit to Coffee Flour
Some people cannot start the day without a cup of strong coffee. However, the process of making the coffee bean is one that accumulates quite a lot of waste. Coffee Flour is made from the coffee cherries that hold the beans, which would otherwise be discarded in early coffee-production. Now farmers have the opportunity to rely on more than just the coffee itself, as the nutritious flour can go into bread, sauces and many other dishes.
2. Cricket Flour Chips
Crickets… as in the insect?
Yes! By combining corn, beans, chia seeds, peas and cricket flour, Six Foods has created a healthy, low-fat snack. Crickets are rich in protein, calcium and iron and have low environmental impact. The chips also help promote insects as an acceptable foodstuff in western society.
3. Meatless Meat
We covered this story in our July-September magazine issue but it deserves another mention because it seems so incredible. Impossible Foods’ mission is to replicate the taste and texture of meat to convince people to eat fewer animal-based products. By using the protein heme, found in plants, the company’s technology can make plant-based burgers taste like the real deal.
4. Ugly Duckling Vegetables
As humans, we like things to be aesthetics, never mind the fact that beautifully symmetrical and slightly disfigured tomatoes will both look the same after they’ve been made into chutney. But to keep up with the trend, supermarkets discard piles of two-legged carrots and discolored tomatoes every year because of the way they look. French supermarket chains Intermarché and Marcel are changing this wasteful practice by selling cosmetically unusual fruits and vegetables at a lower price.
5. Urban farming in Singapore
Anyone who has been to Singapore will heap praises on the man-made marvels that are the city-nation. But, how do you secure fresh vegetables in densely populated Singapore? SkyGreens has the answer. In its vertical farming system, plants are stacked in rows and watered by a closed-loop irrigation system that requires minimum water, fertilizer, and most importantly, space. This is also encourages home owners to grow their own small vegetable patch.
6. Solar-Powered Drip Irrigation
Even in countries like England where they rarely see the sun, there are water bans during the summer to reduce the risk of running out of it. So you can imagine that for a hot country like Kenya, every drop of water counts. That’s why SunCulture has created an affordable sun-powered irrigation system, which saves up to 80 percent water by dripping directly onto the plant. The system can increase yield gains of up to 300%.
7. Solar-powered Coolers
The sun plays an important role in determining what crops can be planted and how long they will last in countries like Nigeria. This is why they devised a method to turn the heat into cold by inventing a walk-in cooler. ColdHubs battles food waste in sunbaked Nigeria as it provides farmers with solar-powered walk-in coolers for their perishable food. The farmer stacks his produce in a clean crate inside the cooler and pays only a small daily fee of $0.50.
8. Small Tractors For Small Farmers
One of the most heartbreaking scenarios for a farmer is not having the mean to plough their land and plant their seeds. To take care of this very important aspect of agriculture, Hello Tractor rents and sells low-cost tractors to smallholder farmers. The company relies on a smart SMS system in which farmers can request, schedule, and prepay for tractor services. Low-income farmers avoid having to invest in expensive tractors and can increase their yields by up to 200%.
9. Food Preservation Tent
Preservation is the largest energy-consumer for any large or small scale food industry. Another take on the aforementioned walk-in cooler is a portable tent that keeps perishables fresh for up to a week without cooling designed by Wakati. The tent produces a sterilized microclimate through a small solar-powered ventilator.
10. Leftovers For Less
Ever wondered what restaurants do with excess food after they shut down? They throw them away, which is a waste of good food and of money that should have been earned. The Too Good To Go app connects late-night diners to restaurants that wish to sell their daily leftovers at a lower rate to avoid food waste. Customers can pre-order on the app and grab their meal before closing time for as little as $2.50. Unfortunately, the app has yet to hit India, but those in favour of dialing up a late snack for less are awaiting eagerly.
Leave your ideas and comments below and let us know what your favourite food/ food idea is.