Digital Food

Can technology and smart distribution processes provide the answer to a more sustainable food cycle? A generation of smart start-up companies is looking for ways to feed the 9 billion people that will walk on this planet by 2050.

It stands without reason that our current food production system and food philosophy is not for the long run. A good 2000 years ago a farmer burnt 1 calorie of energy in food production for every 10 calories of food. The current agriculture system has flipped this scale upside down: it takes about 10 calories to produce every 1 calorie of food that we consume in the West. A simple quote of food activist-writer Michael Pollan striving for a change in our food philosophy makes it clear:

“For the production of one cheeseburger, you need almost 1 liter of crude oil…on a long term this is an unsustainable situation!”

In this Dutch documentary on Digital Food, food activist-writer Michael Pollan, influential chef Dan Barber and philosopher Julian Baggini draw a sketch of our future food. From Silicon Valley to Belgium and the Dutch polders, a new generation of food companies including Foodpairing shows how their technology can be key. Are their methods and techniques enough to feed our planet in 2050?

Digital Food @VRPO Tegenlicht

Start-up Hampton Creek is analyzing plant-based proteins to create alternatives to meat. Food scanners are developed by Sensor Labs to measure gluten or even pesticides and calories in food. In Limburg genuine ‘green’ lettuce is cultivated with the help of LED lighting.

Chef Dan Barber hits the nail on the head when saying that we need to change our food philosophy and what we eat. As he explains, while preparing a carrot steak at Blue Hill Farm Restaurant:

“We have to eat a diverse diet with local food and that’s the real challenge. Look more at what the land wants to produce. This has to become part of our culture of eating.”

The secret herein lies in working with local ingredients and in looking for interesting variations. We need to flip the architecture of our daily dishes. The Foodpairing technology becomes relevant in this sustainable story by empowering chefs and consumers to make better choices.

Foodpairing analyses the aromas of local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients. After this analysis, our algorithm calculates endless possible food combinations based on aroma connections. This way the culinary world, from chefs to companies, is supported in creating those recipes of tomorrow. An example is our bycatch project, inspiring chefs to work with unknown fish. (If you only want to see the part about Foodpairing, watch from 38:30min)

Turning North sea bycatch fish into a delicacy

foodpairing vrpo digital food

The North Sea has a broad diversity of fish species, although it’s only the well-known, fashionable fish that have commercial value. Other unfamiliar fish — half of what the fishermen catch — is destined to become undervalued bycatch. That is why we added these fish to our Foodpairing database. Read more here.

An example is the pout whiting, a delicious cod fish. Learn more about its aromas and flavour pairings!

pout whiting

source vrpo

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