Hungry for something new

Two hands in blue gloves peeling an orange on a blue background

Bloody, meatless burgers grown in a lab and 3D-printed dinners sound like the culinary imaginings of a Ridley Scott movie. But advancements in technology and an ever-growing need to rethink our supply chains are catapulting us into the future of food

By Anastasia Miari    Above image by Zachary Zavislak

According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, climate change is among the leading causes of rising global hunger (the number of people across the world affected by hunger has been on the rise since 2014). Extreme weather events, land degradation, water scarcity and rising sea levels – and now the COVID-19 pandemic – are exacerbating the problems we face in tackling the issue.

So, there’s no better time for a load of food-loving innovators to get creative with solutions to the problems we’re all facing. Here are eight of the most exciting companies and people paving the way for the future of food, from production to waste management.

Upprinting Food

Twenty-three-year-old Elzelinde van Doleweerd – a graduate of Eindhoven University of Technology – has cooked up an ingenious way of putting old food that might otherwise end up in landfill to good use. Using 3D printing technology, she started ‘upprinting’ old banana skins, stale bread and carrots in the form of a paste. She then created elegant baked pastry and pie bases that are now being used in a number of restaurants.

‘People often throw away food because of their appearance. By printing it, we can turn it into something really beautiful. This way, chefs reduce their own food waste and inspire their guests. They’re creating something tasty and it makes them become more creative with the food they normally would have thrown away,’ says van Doleweerd.

Stylish food on a plate
Pastries being printed


Above: Upprinting Food

Toast Ale

Raise a glass to British innovators, Toast, who are keen to see stale bread go to your local, rather than in the bin. Powered by the desire to reduce the amount of stale loaves that find their way into landfill (one million are thrown away daily in the UK), the company has replaced the virgin barley used to make ale with old bread. By doing so, it reduces the demand for land space to grow the crop, water, and energy. Try the craft lager, pale ale, session IPA or American pale ale, and feel that little bit better about quenching your thirst with a beverage from Toast.


Promising to let you ‘grow mushrooms anywhere, without being a farmer’, New York company Smallhold is doing its bit to cut down on energy used in refrigeration, transportation and supermarket storage by kick-starting the growing process for those wanting homegrown mushrooms. Having created kits for people to grow the vegetable as COVID-19 took hold, the pioneering company is now delivering them nationwide. The idea is that we can all be ‘mini farmers’ and produce what we can at home in a bid to be increasingly sustainable as global supply chains become more strained.

Chloé Rutzerveld

Self-titled ‘food futurist’ Chloé Rutzerveld has used 3D printing technology to develop ‘edible ecosystems’ in which a mini garden (and we mean, super mini) is 3D printed. After being left to grow on a windowsill for a few days, it then becomes a healthy snack, featuring mushrooms and microgreens in a pastry casing. Using additive manufacturing, usually reserved for making intricately shaped chocolate and desserts, Rutzerveld wanted to manipulate the technology to create something healthy and functional. 

A mushroom on a black background
Colourful sushi on a plate
Small plates being plated up by a chef
Above, clockwise from top left: Sushi Singularity, Smallholds and Chloe Rutzerveld



Freaked out by the estimates that by 2050 there’ll be more plastic in the ocean than fish? So were the founders of Indonesian company, Evoware. Working towards finding a solution to the plastic problem, Evoware has designed completely edible food packaging made from seaweed. A natural product that’s abundant and, of course, biodegradable, seaweed has been relatively overlooked until now. The company has created an edible cup and crisp seaweed food wrappers, designed to eat along with the sandwich or vegan burger nestled inside.




Rich in protein, insect powders could provide a more sustainable alternative to the protein we get from livestock. Cue Crické, the perfect snack made entirely out of ground crickets. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – they taste quite nutty. ‘Crickets have two times more protein than beef, more iron than spinach, and more calcium than milk. They also require drastically less land, water, feed and energy than traditional protein sources,’ says Crické’s Francesco Majo.


Producing a kilo of beef takes about 22,000 litres of water, compared to only 10 litres for the same quantity of farmed crickets. Majo adds that the best way to convince people to eat insects is to powder them down and present them in a more digestible (read: less insect-like) form. The Ginger & Chilli Cricket Crackers might just surprise you.

Producing a kilo of beef takes about 22,000 litres of water, compared to only 10 litres for the same quantity of farmed crickets. Majo adds that the best way to convince people to eat insects is to powder them down and present them in a more digestible (read: less insect-like) form. The Ginger & Chilli Cricket Crackers might just surprise you.


Sushi Singularity


All hail the era of personalised dinners. The Sushi Singularity restaurant concept due to open in Tokyo this year requires that you submit information in advance of your attendance so that a biologically bespoke meal is curated especially for you. The idea is that the meal you’re given serves more than just your taste buds – it’s crafted for your body’s specific nutritional requirements. Not just this, but the sushi here is 3D printed and plated using robotic arms, giving an insight into what restaurants of the future could look like. It may seem far-fetched, but as the western world continues to struggle with obesity, ideas like this where meals are tailored to the diner could become increasingly popular.




Making packaging-free shopping ‘the new normal’, this Czech company aims to eliminate the need for packaging in supermarkets by making the containers in which food is stored in, transported in and then dispensed from part of a closed loop cycle. ‘Smart’ dispensers are filled with goods by the producers themselves, then they are transported to the markets where shoppers collect what they need in ‘smart’ cups (that also double up as storage once you take them home). Finally, the dispensers are cleaned and refilled, making single-use plastic packaging completely redundant. Our oceans will thank us for it.

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