Crazy Christmas food from the future might be closer than you think

Laboratory-grown ham with a side of 3D printed vegetables, washed down with a glass of non-alcoholic alcohol. This could be the future of Christmas lunches to come.

Only, it is not decades, if not years, these foods are available now, as consumption trends continue to be influenced by changing technologies.

Food futurist Tony Hunter says everything from alternative proteins to cell farming and synthetic biology is changing the food landscape.

Mr Hunter says it is difficult to predict food trends, making it difficult for farmers to respond.

But he assures primary producers that they have more power than they realize when it comes to the future of food.

“No matter what technology we use, we’re going to need farmers to produce these raw materials in order to produce the food stocks to make the food, whatever the technology, so that’s the bottom line, it all comes down to farmers in the end, ”Hunter said.

“I think technology provides opportunities for consumers; consumers choose the opportunities they want and then adopt… technology that meets an unknown need that they have, then it comes back to technologies again and it becomes a circle. “

Mr Hunter says if he brushes his crystal ball he can see cultured meat like steak, lobster and shrimp on the Christmas table in 2030.

3D printed plant-based steak may soon be an option for Christmas dinner(Provided: Redefining Meat)

The alcohol-free drink

One of the biggest growing trends in food and drink circles is the rise of non-alcoholic drinks.

In the heart of Western Australia’s wine country, Margaret River-based distiller Tom Streitberg is celebrating his first year of business as the state’s only non-alcoholic spirits producer.

It was a market he and his business partners – sommelier Christopher Bothwell and winemaker Elizabeth Reed – saw as an opportunity to explore, as consumers began to seek healthier choices.

“The culture of drinking in Australia is changing,” Streitberg said.

“The idea of ​​you going out and having a huge session, you slam a bunch of drinks; that really changes,” Mr. Streitberg said.

He said that with the health crowd, target consumers included pregnant women, people with young children, designated drivers and those who choose not to drink alcoholic beverages.

“It’s not about saying don’t drink at all,” he said.

“So we don’t really see any limits in the market, or the sky is the limit. “

Man in a distillery measuring ingredients
Margaret River based distiller Tom Streitberg(Provided: Paris Hawken Photography)

Ancient grains for the future

Some future food trends are as far removed from modern technology as you can imagine.

Black barley is an ancient cereal from Ethiopia with a vegetable protein composition of 19%.

Roger Duggan started growing black barley five years ago from a sample of seeds small enough to fit in and wrap around.

This year, it will produce up to a hundred tonnes for the home and restaurant market.

He expects ancient grains as well as regenerative and organic farming practices to become more important in future food production.

“Soil health is essential; much of the Asian market is asking for things like testing for glyphosate residues, ”Duggan said.

“They want to hear a story that we really care for the land we live on.”

Black barley in a bag.
Black barley is an ancient cereal from Ethiopia that is high in protein.

Buzzing protein food source

As you walked down the meat aisle at the supermarket looking for your Chrissie lunch, you may have seen the terms grass-fed or grain-fed, but what about fly-fed?

Things like barramundi or fly-fed chicken might be something you will see more of in the future and it’s something that Lauren Bell of Northwest WA has been at the forefront with her flies. black soldiers.

“It’s about creating a more sustainable protein that can be used by the animal industry,” she said.

“So I think there will definitely be a shift towards using a lot more insect protein in poultry feed to make it more sustainable.

Hermetia illucens larvae
Could this be the raw material for the cattle of the future?(Provided: Bryan Lessard / CSIRO)

Alternative routes to the market

It’s not just the new foods that consumers see coming to supermarket shelves, it’s how food is available to consumers in the first place.

On the south coast of WA, Dirty Clean Food sells regeneratively grown free-range hams as a flagship product this Christmas.

And they deliver meat direct to Western Australians in just days, without the hassle of a checkout line.

Managing Director Jay Albany said it was the pandemic that sparked the initial change in their business model, but is now here to stay.

“Our world completely changed during COVID. We looked at drop shipping and probably added 1,500 customers in six weeks,” Mr. Albany said.

“We’ve gone from 75 percent business commerce to 90 percent delivery.”

“The flagship product for this holiday season is Christmas ham.”

Two men on a farm in hot weather with pigsty in the background
Jay Albany, CEO of Dirty Clean Food, at a free range pig farm(Rural ABC; Angus mackintosh)

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