food tags

Bull Session

The Future of Food

June 14, 2018          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week, we take another look at the future of food, in particular, meat. Because the agriculture industry is the source of about 15% of greenhouse gas emissions, there are serious environmental concerns about the consequences of producing meat for a growing global population. The UN predicts that the number of people on the planet will grow to 9.8 billion by 2050, from 7.6 billion today. Compared to vegetable protein, raising animals for food is highly inefficient, using more land, water, fertilizer, and pesticides. This won’t work for a population of nearly 10 billion people.

While replicating meat in a convincing way is difficult, companies like Impossible Foods are now selling well-reviewed substitutes for ground beef. To see what the future of food might hold, we try out some meatball sandwiches made of Impossible Foods’ product for lunch. Join us as we discuss the results of our experiment, and the evolution of food tech in general.

Resources:
The Race to Make a Great Fake Steak

Bull Session

Food Tech

June 2, 2017          

Episode Summary

On The Digital Life this week we explore trends in food tech and the variety of ways we can address the problem of feeding a growing global population. According to the UN report “World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision” the current world population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030. To feed such a population, we’ll need to change the way we eat. For starters, with such a large population, there will be a high demand for protein. However, there are significant environmental and nutritional limitations for our current animal and plant-based sources. Cultured meat — meat that’s grown in a lab rather than in an animal—is one option for producing protein to meet this demand. So far, however, it is expensive to produce, and as a result, has a long path to commercialization.

Other options include alternative protein sources like insects, such as grasshoppers. However, in Western societies, insect protein generally, is viewed with skepticism. To circumvent this aversion, grasshopper protein could be used in a powdered format as an additive for foods like protein shakes, energy bars, pasta sauces, and baked goods.

Lastly, we’ll need to manage our existing food supplies more proactively, so that surplus is not wasted. Food waste is an issue that costs the US $218B on a yearly basis. Software for managing the logistics of food surplus is another developing area of food tech.

Resources:
SuperMeat Wants You to Try Its Lab Grown Chicken Breast
Feeding the World with Grasshopper Protein
The Modern Agriculture Foundation
Spoiler Alert

Bull Session

Urban Agriculture

June 9, 2016          

Episode Summary

On this episode of The Digital Life, we chat about urban agriculture and its importance to the cities of the future. We’re quickly approaching 8 billion people on the planet. More than half of them live in cities, and this number will continue to grow. The agriculture industry is resource intensive, especially when it comes to water and energy usage. Around the world, as they plan for the cities of the future, people are looking at urban agriculture.

Urban agriculture has many benefits.Because food is grown locally, near where we live, it reduces the cost and environmental impact of long supply chains. Locally grown also means we always get fresh produce.

Cities benefit from the increased greenery of urban agriculture which, importantly, reduces the “heat island” effect, caused by impermeable city surfaces are and dry which make urban regions warmer than nearby rural areas. Additionally, urban farming can bring healthy food as well as jobs to underserved urban areas.

In this episode we discuss the current state of urban agriculture and its future, including vertical farms and products like the Grove Ecosystem.

Resources:
Why Chicago is Becoming the Country’s Urban Farming Capital
Grove Labs

Bull Session

The Future of Food

August 6, 2015          

Episode Summary

This week on The Digital Life, we explore the future of food. There are few things more personal, more intimate, more important than what we put in our bodies every day. We’ll touch on a few areas at the intersections of food, science, and technology — from food as fuel where optimizing nutrition is key, to new food delivery technology like 3D printing, to the molecular gastronomy movement.

Resources
Soylent
truBrain
Impossible Foods
Foodini, the 3D food printer
The Bazaar by Jose Andres