- protein rich plant products (e.g. pulses);
- microbial protein from mushrooms, bacterial and spirulina;
- insect protein;
- protein grown from animal cell lab cultures, or in vitro meat (several new companies, Memphis meats, have been established in California);
- but lets not discount animal protein meat. Still an excellent source of protein, minerals and iron. There are a range of options from beef through to chicken and supporting native Australian meat harvest, such as kangaroo, is also an option. The potential to eat less, better quality meat is open to us all. In addition the reputation of Australian meat means that premium international markets should be keen to take up any production excess from national markets.
With all the changes and pressures afoot in the food industry, and with international targets clearly defined through several of the United Nations Sustainability Goals, what can we expect our food to look like in the future? Some advances will be to the products we eat, some will be to the packaging they come in and some will be not so obvious, but will be major changes to the way food is produced. Here are my top 10 predictions for trending food changes to watch out in for the near future. 1. Functional food diversity We have seen new food crops such as chia and quinoa come into our diets in the last 5 years. This food diversity trend is likely to increase in the future. We are also likely to see new ‘healthier’ varieties of existing foods bred for specific health functions. For example new lutein-rich wheat strains that can help prevent blindness. We have only scratched the surface of the potential of new crops and particularly here in Australia with native foods – some of these are naturally very high in vitamins and antioxidants (e.g. Kakadu plum). We have 35,000 plants in Australia, and estimates are that up to 4500 have been used by indigenous communities for food over a period of 50,000 years. Yet the macadamia nut is the only Australian native to have been domesticated – and it doesn’t even make it onto the list of the top 150 global crop plants! Driving forces – improved dietary and health understanding, more adventurous consumers Technological advances – ability to rapidly breed new varieties including precision editing of plant genomes to improve crops 2. New protein sources Protein is the new black. We are likely to see an increasing diversity of animal protein snacks (not just jerky). But we are also likely to see other protein sources coming online: