Finance, food security

Food of the world: 10 years from today

  • BY Adhip Wagle

The world as we know today is changing at a rapid rate and current human capabilities combined with recent technological advances make it possible for new ground-breaking ideas and creations to come to life every hour of the day. However, the food sector is one area of change that doesn’t get as much attention as perhaps Elon Musk’s self-driving cars do. One reason for that maybe because we are comfortable with the food we have. The hit of dopamine we receive by chomping on a picturesque block of steak lathered with rich buttery taste and aromatised by the finest herbs is unrivalled. Yet, the story doesn’t quite go like that for the billions that helplessly close their eyes at night with a growling stomach. Is the future anything to look forward to for these people? Not in their lifetime, research would suggest.

The handling of nutrients seems to be different in each individual due to genetics and physiology of organs shown by a study where some individuals blood sugar levels spiked and others dropped after intaking sugary ice cream. To cater for this, by 2028, nutrition scientists, namely Dr Jeffery Blumberg of Tufts University will “be able to tell you what kinds of fruits, what kinds of vegetables and what kinds of whole grains you should be choosing, or exactly how often.” For over 2 billion people in the world, this is an unnecessary luxury, and this number is rising every day. It’s estimated that there will be 30% more people to feed globally and 90% more in the rural area by 2050, people who still to this day lack basic vitamins and minerals to support normal growth and development. Shouldn’t the focus be more towards putting any form of nutrients in the starved rather than spending billions on tailoring macros for millennials that feel bloated after a lunchtime snack?

“…if the 10 richest people in the world gave up all their wealth for the hunger cause today, we’d still only have just over $700 billion, 6 times less the required amount to meet the SDG.”

Presenting food on a plate in an appetising manner can also be the difference between a good meal and a bad meal but it’s quite frankly disturbing when predictions suggest that restaurants of 2028 will control the aromas, the lighting and sound effects to make that fried chicken taste that little bit better. As for at home, you can use augmented reality for digital imagery on the real world and pretend as if you’re on top of the Shard while you tuck into you homemade casserole. It’s bad enough table manners for kids being glued to their phone screens at dinner time let alone escaping reality completely with VR headsets.

Designer Penelope Kupfer displays a biscuit made from insect flour at the Wellcome Collection in London, Tuesday, April 23, 2013. The exhibition of Illuminated room-high insect traps, dramatic Iight projections of creepy crawlies and 3D printing of food made from bugs is a new installation called “Insects au Gratin” which explores the benefits of eating bugs, as part of a new season called Who’s the Pest? organised with Pestival – the cultural organisation dedicated to our relationship with insects and the natural world. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Food is developing at a rapid rate for the people who can afford it but what about the other half of the world? According to World Bank Group, $4.5 trillion is needed to meet the SDG’s but only $144 billion is obtained, with just $4 billion of that coming from philanthropists. That is 31.25 times below the requirement. To put this into perspective, if the 10 richest people in the world gave up all their wealth for the hunger cause today, we’d still only have just over $700 billion, 6 times less the required amount to meet the SDG. With there being so many more people to feed in 10 years, development at this rate is simply not enough. It’s very possible for the food crisis in the world to spiral out of control, if it hasn’t already.

If predictions are anything to go by, food will start becoming a luxury when in fact it’s a basic human requirement. Yes, research is being done to come up with more sustainable sources of food such as algaculture however, the rate of development is not keeping up with the rate of increase in the hungry and this can have extremely damaging effects on the world.

Simply put, the world just doesn’t care enough about the poor. A lot of in-private investments are required to meet the SDG’s but when you consider the scale of which it’s needed in, it’s easy to conclude that the hunger of the world is unlikely to improve significantly, not in our lifetime.

Feature Image is taken from Gizmodo

References:

The Future of Food: Maximizing Finance for Development in Agricultural Value Chains | World Bank

FUTURE of FOOD Maximizing Finance for Development in Agricultural Value Chains PDF | World Bank

Impact investment to close the SDG funding gap | Mara Niculescu, UNDP

The future of food: what we’ll eat in 2028 |  Dr Stuart Farrimond, Science Focus

Eight Futuristic Foods You’ll Be Eating in 30 Years |Ryan F. Mandelbaum, Gizmodo

Algaculture | Wikipedia

Hunger Statistics | Food Aid

Is algae the food of the future? | CNN Business, Youtube

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