We need to start thinking about how the future of food
has to be different from now on
By Mirko Stanic*
Is it organic? Or vegan? No, I thought it is GMO- free, right? Many labels many questions. But how can we solve our current food crisis with these approaches? Many now raise their eyebrows and may think: what kind of food crisis?
Yes, I am talking about a current food crisis. And, no, I am not saying we have a shortage of food in the developed parts in this world. It is the opposite. We have too much of it and we are doing bad. Really bad. We waste a lot of it, we consume too much of it and eat the wrong ones. Not enough, we need more. So much more, that our enviroment starts to cough.
But where are the labels that solve users problems?
Coming back to the question above, can these labels solve our food crisis? I don’t think so. Every label is covering a certain problem, focusing on sustainable trade, social standards or agriculture, trying to improve the negative impact of consumerism. But do these labels solve users’ problems? Many struggle with their weight control. Obesity and diabetes are widespread, causing many problems in people’s lives. The problems of the extensive carb intake remain unchanged. Our current nutrition is not balanced and something has to change.
This imbalance leads to the next problem. Why should we farm the wrong ingredients? Why do we farm so much sugar and other carbs if we know that it does not add any value to humans’ wellbeing and the planet? Some are even saying we just need to increase the output to meet the further demand. But have you ever considered that we may be farming not the right ingredients?
Another problem is the huge packaging waste and I am not talking about plastic bottles only. No, you can indeed see in every supermarket how often things are overpacked. The food manufacturers are often unaware that if they reduce, they also can save money. As Michael Porter once said: competitiveness and sustainability is not contradicting itself. Packaging engineers play a major role here.
Recipes and processes
The solutions lie not in ideology, but in the way how the food industry develops their recipes and processes. They are the ones that preserve the raw ingredients, design, pack and ship them to the supermarkets. They are the ones that can change the way we eat. They can design healthy food for the users, source sustainable ingredients, and reduce packaging where possible. This industry spends only few percentage for R&D, but it should be considering more the challenges that lay ahead.
Sustainability with its three pillars, such as ecology, economy and ethics, has to be applied as well as for consumers. Not just for the suppliers’ side. But this seems to be currently more wishful thinking. Many food companies can hardly innovate in their core business and now, we are demanding to innovate even harder, which is no easy task.
I have worked many years in the food industry and I can assure you: we often create useless products that don’t add any value to people’s health or mother nature. Politicians often say that it is not the role of the state to rule what people should eat. People are mature enough to decide that. My point is that this very liberal approach is leading to one of the biggest mass poisonings that has ever happened in human history. And we need to start thinking about this.
I am currently working on the creative method of how to create new food recipes that should solve all these issues. It is a process for people who cook at home. It is straightforward and easy to use.
*Mirko Stanic is food engineer, innovator and writer based in Switzerland. He has been traveling to Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East to discover new food markets and flavors.