By 2050, it’s predicted that our planet will be home to 9.9 billion people. The potential increase of more than two billion people requires us to find new and sustainable food solutions to save our planet. Novel food is the answer to this issue, and it helps create new food sources that cause less harm to the planet. As well as offering the food needed to feed our growing population, it can also help to offer a solution for pets and animals worldwide.
Novel food is defined as food that was not consumed by people in the EU before 15 May 1997. This was when the first regulation in regards to novel food came into place, and it’s usually innovative foods that are created using new technology and production processes. This often includes food that is normally consumed outside of the EU, which is now being considered worldwide.
Classification of Novel Food
Novel food in the EU must be safe for consumers and properly identified. It must not mislead consumers in any way and should not replace food sources. Novel food should only be consumed when it offers benefits to the consumer and should not put them at any disadvantage nutritionally. In order for novel food to be sold and marketed in the EU, it will be evaluated with these principles in mind.
5 Novel Food Sources to Save Our Planet
Insects are a rich source of protein which could replace our need for beef, poultry, and fish. They require much less land for production, and the environmental benefits of switching to insects are extensive. The land and water resources needed are much lower when compared to raising cattle, which may have to solve the issue of feeding our growing population. Insects can be used as a source of food for both humans and animals and can either be eaten whole or ground into a powder. With almost double the protein of a typical serving of meat, this novel food is likely to be one of the key protein sources of the future.
Algae provide consumers with an excellent source of many of the vital nutrients and minerals needed for humans to thrive. It’s a plant-based food source, which is an excellent replacement for fish and fish oil for vegans and vegetarians. Algae can be grown quickly and on a large scale, requiring minimal resources when compared to other plants. It also has the advantage of growing almost anywhere in the world. As well as being consumed in its natural form, algae oil can be used within food production and added to supplements.
3. Single-Cell Protein
When discussing single-cell protein sources, these come from microalgae, growing yeast, or bacteria. This is one of the most heavily researched solutions for livestock feed, as it is rich in protein and offers a healthy source of fat. At the current time, large-scale production is still under development, so there are concerns surrounding the price point of this novel food. However, in time, we can expect this solution to be used to feed our growing population.
4. In-Vitro Meat
Lab-grown meat is composed of the cells of living animals but doesn’t involve the meat of the animal itself. This will help to resolve our current issues surrounding the land and resources needed to feed animals for human consumption. While this novel food is still in its early stages of research, feedback so far has been resoundingly positive from consumers and businesses alike. With many consumers also considering a way to reduce their meat consumption, in-vitro meat might be the answer to many of the issues the population is facing today.
5. 3D Printed Food
Novel food can be produced in a unique manner, and 3D printed food is a great example of this. Printing food instead of growing food is a way to save resources and land in the future. 3D printed food is already on offer today, primarily in the form of supplements and candy. In the future, expect almost any type of food to be produced in this way.