What should be that of "The new food"? I asked this question on more than one occasion (and that I devote myself to accompany new concepts and professionalize hoteliers brands, bringing innovation and trends are part of my acerbic and obligations). I get it, so, will be many restaurateurs professionals make the same question and reflect about how they can affect them and their businesses catering short term.
First What is new food? And because?
Sometime in the year 2050 (a little more or less) we will 9.000 million people on the planet -according to some sources even 9.800 millions-. This will mean an increase of about one 30% of the world population in just over 30 years and multiply by 5 IN JUST A CENTURY.
Clearly it increases by 30% food production (already deficient in many regions of the world today) Not to mention multiplied by 5 in less than a century, It is a formidable task and that is a tremendous effort our ecosystems and our current technology. The ecological cost is phenomenal and the ability to sustainably produce that amount of food as a challenge humanity has ever seen.
In addition that food will need to be transported if it occurs intensively -and no other remedy-be, bringing logistics and cost channels also represent another feat to overcome in a short time.
Movements such as SlowFood internacional, with its side KM.0 what promotes local production, recovery of biodiverse agriculture, sustainable and at the corner of your house (small farms in all environments, with respect for the natural environment and recovery, including urban and homegardens) They are key to solving some of the problems we face, but insufficient. Proximity agriculture, including micro production staff will be relevant and useful and will cover part of the needs, but much of the food will have to come from intensive and industrial processes.
further, food production for this huge world population is one of the main culprits of climate change -both agriculture and the cattle breeding. In fact, among the most ecologically unsustainable aspects of meat production is (especially large cattle) the huge expenditure on drinking water, investment in cereal per kilogram of meat produced and waste management.
But how will this affect our restaurants? Long and soon. In a world where getting food and calories for all will be a challenge, the cost structure of the raw material and the type of food will change and already doing. Some things are already clear, We need eat vegetable protein production and efficiency -of great- and less protein Animal-very inefficient and consumes most resources for agricultural production-. And even that seems to be enough, We need to create new foods and take advantage of new protein sources. In fact there part the need to improve crop production and less fragile to pests or climate research or algae, insects or synthetic laboratory production.
See some examples of changes that we are already living because of the ecological situation and the challenges of food, arable land and water:
Let's talk about water table, affected by two fundamental ecological aspects: On the one hand the carbon footprint of transport, when in Western societies we have recourse to reach and tap, on the other hand, plastic packaging -and become a very serious problem reaching worldwide-. Social awareness of both problems continues to increase and consumers started to prefer both water without plastic as water kilometer 0, ie refined on the premises. In cities like Madrid (with good quality tap water) the issue has transcended much that it has generated a lively debate and, for me, it is obvious that the coin will land on the water side kilometer 0 -tap or treated- and water to avoid premium plastic.
Returning to the food, social movements make vegetarianism and veganism grow much and steadily. Many people come to veganism for animal treatment issues but, either way, meat consumption should be modified by production issues as we said. The most important is the growth of flexiterianismo which almost all part: Awareness of eating less meat and more vegetables or cereals (NO eating something like a piece of meat with garnish and instead if eating a plate of vegetables with some meat). When food crises and arreones of population growth will drive up the prices of many products, reducing consumption and alternative products not only be part of a Western social movement, if not of an urgent and real need: We need new foods, already they are created.
This change of habits, currently by social consciousness in the West and soon by reducing the supply and demographic and migratory pressure, They are already changing restaurant menus today: vegan and vegetarian dishes, dishes with less meat and more vegetables, interest in new food and product care for the territory. Similarly grow monothematic concepts of meat, for example: as we reduce their presence in our diet, when we do eat in large quantity and quality.
Among many members of the generation millennial y centennial It is establishing the habit of replacing some food for milkshakes protein They are feeding quickly without wasting time on gastronomy or slower consumption in hours not interested. It is a phenomenon very USA and Northern Europe, but palpable. These protein shakes are new foods.
They are appearing new cereals proximity and / or high annual production or not. This leads associated growth (and in my opinion it is imperative) the presence of Transgenic crops and / or genetically modified by CRISP-CAS9 techniques that increase production per hectare exceed pests, drought, etc… We may not realize it but already part of our diet (Where does such soybeans to feed livestock or be present in all food and beverage?).
there is no bar or restaurant without his "milk" alternative, its "horchata" cereal or legumes that require mass production thereof, but reduce the size of the dairy herd (and reducing ecological cost if the carbon footprint of the transport is controlled)
Worldwide are experimenting, and they are occurring, flours insects that are already part of some food prepared, smoothies, energy bars for athletes or snacks and food for livestock or fish farms. These flours insects could be the solution to basic food needs in areas with strong needs and famine.
The most spectacular examples of new media and food represents “The Impossible Burger” the similar: Meat producing plant; all the organoleptic qualities of the meat (texture, odor, flavor, appearance, indented…) but made with vegetable. It also has a lot of press another increasingly tangible reality, laboratory meat: The animal cell culture to produce wholesale animal meat…but without animal sacrifice and consumption raise them.
There are already companies, some Spanish, commercializing products for catering vegetable beef perfectly viable Gastronomically and now cover the spectrum of innovative customers, modern or environmental commitment and they will soon be required by costs or pieces of meat substitutes economically inaccessible.
Productions algae to create new everyday food products are another important center of study, and the use of plants or forage plants currently considered weeds, etc…
And 9000 millions of people have to be fed within a few years, the whole structure of food production will have to be modified and thus find products in retail chains and restaurants incorporated soon (or customer demand or necessity many of them)
Let me share one last thought: How long will it take McDonalds, Burger King, Five Guys, KFC… to start testing hamburgers or pieces of meat synthesized from products or meat or vegetable origin but industrially produced by cell culture? They are the main consumers, diffusers and are in the spotlight of all. Little bit. They take little to try.
And the rest, slowly, we will incorporate new products, because customers ask us or necessity. If they enter into the production and distribution chain, the need.