25/10/23 Obsol-Eat?

New research released by LNER names the foods we think will have disappeared from our plates within 100 years - including beef, chocolate and avocados.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of London North Eastern Railway (LNER), and the evolution of its iconic onboard menu over the years, research has been commissioned into the future of food, looking at how we may be dining one hundred years from now.

The research reveals that one in five Brits expect avocados to have disappeared from our diets in entirety by 2123, along with seafood (36 per cent) and chicken nuggets (32 per cent). In fact, one in 10 even predict that chocolate will cease to exist.

More than one in seven (13 per cent) anticipate that our meals will all be plant-based by 2123, with 60 per cent per cent of those claiming it is because we will have even more understanding of the environmental impact of eating animal products. A further 52 per cent of people say by this time vegan food will continue to be tastier, healthier, and more affordable, making it the more desirable option.

More than two fifths (43 per cent) of those who claimed avocados would be cancelled put it down to climate change, and the adverse weather conditions that would make the ingredients difficult to grow. Meanwhile, one in five (20 per cent) thought chocolate would be too expensive. In addition, a further 20 per cent thought in the future we would shun large supermarkets in favour of farm shops and growing our own food, and not consume produce that had been imported from far-flung destinations, racking up the food miles and carbon footprint.

LNER conducted the research in advance of the launch of ‘The LNER 1923 Restaurant’, which opens from the 6th November 2023 at The Cookery School at The Grand in York. The building was once the former headquarters of LNER, providing the perfect historic backdrop for the unique, pop-up.

The specially designed restaurant will serve guests a delicious three-course meal taking diners on a tasting journey through the past century and beyond. The menu will consist of a 1920s-style starter, a main course inspired by LNER’s present day onboard menu and a futuristic dessert that imagines a sweet treat from 2123.

Food futurologist, Robin Fegen, alongside the LNER chef team, have created the ‘pudding from the future’ - designed to reflect the potential onboard cuisine 100 years from now.

Offering a taste of what may feature on menus of the future, the special dessert is infused with unusual ingredients such as spirulina, mushroom, and amaranth - all predicted to be popular staples in our future diet.

Robin Fegen said: “Sustainability, ethics, and nutrition are becoming increasingly important when it comes to food. High in protein, spirulina and other types of algae are healthy and easy to produce, but currently have an acquired  taste  – which is why they aren’t as popular right now. However, genetic modification could mean we can make these ingredients taste just as good as the likes of chocolate, allowing us to indulge in a tasty dessert, while also reaping the health benefits.”

While 59 per cent of Brits claim they couldn’t imagine their lives without chocolate, according to Fegen, who is collaborating with LNER, the much-loved treat could very well be extinct by 2123.

“During the next century, we predict that society will be incredibly conscious about its carbon footprint. As well as being difficult to source, cocoa trees need very specific conditions in order to survive, so rather than exporting ingredients like cocoa beans, we will be turning to foods we can produce closer to home to limit our carbon footprint as much as possible. Thanks to climate change, we are already seeing a dramatic reduction in cocoa trees, so it is very possible that chocolate will naturally filter out of our diet - gradually substituted by easily produced, more sustainable alternatives.”

Bug burgers, cricket cakes and mealworm macarons may well become menu mainstays, as insects are also set to become a regularly-used ingredient in the food of the future, according to Robin.  More than a quarter (26 per cent) of those surveyed said they’d be open to trying a bug-based dish, with 52 per cent agreeing food will become more daring and imaginative in the future.

However, many Brits are open to reducing the amount of animal products they consume with 38 per cent saying they would consider becoming vegetarian or vegan.

Highlighting the growing appetite for a healthier, more organic lifestyle, more than a third (33 per cent) predict that by 2123, there will be no such thing as an ‘unhealthy food’, thanks to genetic modification and food substitutes, while 36 per cent believe artificial intelligence will play a large role in the food we consume, tailoring our meal plans to meet our individual dietary needs. 

Food futurologist Robin says, they’re not far off the mark as “By 2123, we may even have microchips in our bodies that monitors our blood, informing us when we need more or less of particular nutrients in our system, and how much we actually require, making sure we don’t undereat or overeat.”

Top five food trends of 2123 

  1. Sustainability: “By 2123, food sustainability will likely be more than just fashionable, but a way of life. This means people growing their own foods and more city farms, with people determined to know where their food has come from, and how far its travelled.”
  2. Personalisation: In the future, we will be looking at multiple elements of personalisation, tailoring each meal to the individual’s health, based on their genetics and gut bacteria for example and enjoyment by linking with technology implemented within our bodies. With edible 3D printing, diners will be able to choose the taste, shape, colour and even texture of their food, as well as the nutritional value.”                                
  1. AI: “There will be no more stressing over what to eat tonight, when your fridge can think for itself – ordering and preparing your meals based on what it knows about you, your mood and your health. It can even come up with new recipes. What is more, it will never forget to bake a cake on your birthday.”                                    
  1. Plant-based: It is highly unlikely vegans will become meat eaters, but undoubtedly, we will see more meat eaters become vegans, even after meat has started to be created in labs and insect protein has become more prevalent. We are looking at a plant based future with more plants fungi, algae and more.”
  1. Genetic modification Genetic modification will become much easier and practical and the solution to many issues we currently have. This will open the doors to producing foods that are genetically modified to be healthier, tastier, and grown in adverse conditions.”

The LNER 1923 Restaurant will be found at The Cookery School at The Grand in York on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th November 2023 at 7pm. Diners can make reservations for the exclusive event via Eventbrite here. The experience is likely to prove popular so booking early is advised.


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