Task two enabled our group to further explore the way we eat and pose potential alternatives to this in our future. As previously discussed through our initial blog post we looked at the impact our diet has on the environment. Focusing on the depletion of natural resources, additional stress to issue such as climate change and the overwhelming sense of inequality through the distribution and attitudes to food culture. We imagined a future where these factors had lead to a change in the fundamental understanding and values of food. This saw a movement away from traditional foods and farming into a chemical based diet supported by technological developments in nutraceuticals. We imagined a future where optimal health and solutions to the problematic results of our diet held priority to traditional ideals intrinsic to how we eat such as taste or experience.
Food scarcity is posing a growing threat in both our current society and imagined future (Fox, K. 2013). While our future scenario was based on a yet to exist chemical substance I decided to use this blog post to explore projects aimed to create real life food alternatives for our future.
Eating insects is widely accepted and practiced in Southeast Asia and Africa (Martin, D. 2014). The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation released a list in 2012 of over 1900 edible species of insects, including locusts, grasshopers, spiders, wasps and ants (Fox, K. 2013). Insects as a food source are rich in protein, iron and calcium with low fat, salt and cholesterol levels. They are far more sustainable in comparison to livestock or fish farming as they require less land and water and release fewer greenhouse gas emissions (Fox, K. 2013). In addition to this they are widely available with over thirty six thousand kilograms currently existing for every single human on earth. As explored in my first blog post ‘Veganism and Our Future’ the western diet offers a shockingly low feed conversion. Insects require far less in terms of sustenance to produce the same amount of meat as livestock such as cattle (Martin, D. 2014).
I decided to explore the idea of eating insects as a possible food future as I saw parallels in the problems faced here and that of our imagined future. During our STEEP analysis I focused on the political agenda positioning the government as a driving force behind the changing attitudes towards food. It is evident that much of our movement towards a sustainable food future is hinder by pre existing attitudes and stigmas. Despite the clear benefits of adopting insects into our global diet there is a very real ‘ick’ factor for most western societies (Martin, D. 2014).
Design has long been used as a tool to create dialogue and shift consumer behavior. Julia Plevin and Lucy Knops are two designers from New York changing our attitude towards insects through there soon to be launched ‘Critter Bitter’. This is an alternative option to traditional bitters used in cocktails and drinks. The ‘Critter Bitter’ slogan is ‘Cocktails won’t save the world, but eating bugs could’ (Knops, L. & Plevin, J. 2014). The products aims to reposition insects from the disgusting to the desirable through their cleverly crafted and market bitters. The products value is found in the offer of a food alternative, opening consumers minds and creating conversation around what we eat and why. Products such as this allow people to become excited by forward thinking design, appose to frightened. This is hugely powerful and essential in imagining a more sustainable food future (Zaringhalam, M. 2014).
Fox, K. 2013, The Future of Food, online paper, The Guardian, Australia, viewed 18th October 2014 <http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/jun/16/future-of-food-insects-gm-rice-on-the-menu>
Knops, L. & Plevin, J. 2014, Critter Bitters, product websight, New York City, vewed 18th October, <https://critterbitters.squarespace.com/#about>
Martin, D. 2014, Edible: An Adventure into the World of Eating Insects and the Last Great Hope to Save the Planet, Amazon Publishing, New York, pg 51-54.
Zaringhalam, M. 2014, Future Foods, online article, Artlab, viewed 18th October, <http://thisisartlab.com/2014/05/25/futurefoods/>