Visualizing The Future Of Food

Tyler Durden's picture

The urban population is exploding around the globe, and, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins explains below, yesterday’s food systems will soon be sub-optimal for many of the megacities swelling with tens of millions of people.

Further, issues like wasted food, poor working conditions, polluted ecosystems, mistreated animals, and greenhouse gases are just some of the concerns that people have about our current supply chains.

Today’s infographic from Futurism shows how food systems are evolving – and that the future of food depends on technologies that enable us to get more food out of fewer resources.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist


Here are four technologies that may have a profound effect on how we eat in the future:

1. Automated Vertical Farms

It’s already clear that vertical farming is incredibly effective. By stacking farms on top of another and using automation, vertical farms can produce 100x more effectively per acre than conventional agricultural techniques.

They grow crops at twice the speed as usual, while using 40% less power, having 80% less food waste, and using 99% less water than outdoor fields. However, the problem for vertical farms is still cost – and it is not clear when they will be viable on a commercial basis.

2. Aquaponics

Another technology that has promise for the future of food is a unique combination of fish farming (aquaculture) with hydroponics.

In short, fish convert their food into nutrients that plants can absorb, while the plants clean the water for the fish. Compared to conventional farming, this technology uses about half of the water, while increasing the yield of the crops grown. As a bonus, it also can raise a significant amount of fish.

3. In Vitro Meats

Meat is costly and extremely resource intensive to produce. As just one example, to produce one pound of beef, it takes 1,847 gallons of water.

In vitro meats are one way to solve this. These self-replicating muscle tissue cultures are grown and fed nutrients in a broth, and bypass the need for having living animals altogether. Interestingly enough, market demand seems to be there: one recent study found that 70.6% of consumers are interested in trying lab grown beef.

4. Artificial Animal Products

One other route to get artificial meat is to use machine learning to grasp the complex chemistry and textures behind these products, and to find ways to replicate them. This has already been done for mayonnaise – and it’s in the works for eggs, milk, and cheese as well.


As these new technologies scale and hit markets, the future of food could change drastically. Many products will flop, but others will take a firm hold in our supply chains and become culturally acceptable and commercially viable. Certainly, food will be grown locally in massive skyscrapers, and there will be decent alternatives to be found for both meat or animal products in the market.

With the global population rising by more than a million people each week, finding and testing new solutions around food will be essential to make the most out of limited resources.

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TeamDepends's picture

Um yes, I'll have the in vitro tartar....

bamawatson's picture

.... enhances a succulent duck butter sauce

Billy the Poet's picture

To be blunt the future of food is crap.

Oh regional Indian's picture

The dystopian future of food is pills.

Who needs the mess of cooking, oil, flames and clean-up.

Two pills in the AM, two in the PM and perhaps a limited RATion of a chewable in between (just so your teeth don't fall off).

Sounds delicious....

It's a mechanical future people, machines are writing this dystopia and people are lapping it UP!

BuddyEffed's picture

Need GMO company to splice some photosynthesis genes into human gene pool.
Then eating is as easy as dropping a root in a wet and muddy and sunny place.
Bypass the corn and instead head straight for where the cornfield used to be.
Bonus if you can find some manure droppings to root into. /s

TBT or not TBT's picture

You had me at " mistreated animals"

EddieLomax's picture

Eat recycled food, its good for the enviroment and okay for you.

Not Too Important's picture

Do you want walnut sauce with that in vitro pizza?

JimmyJones's picture

For the spirit cooking  session? 

SWRichmond's picture

The future of urban food:

  1. Raise a white flag
  2. Walk from your city to the boundary zone
  3. Get on your hands and knees and beg the rural food growers for today's meal
  4. Don't forget to praise the rural electricity producers
  5. Give someting of value to the armed men
  6. Perform the ritual spitting on (or the optional tea-bagging of) Obama's picture,
  7. Be allowed to get in the food line
Bill_Brasky_69er's picture

I'm just going to keep buying farmland instead. Yeah its overpriced, but seems to have more value than those condos in Florida and Texas right now. 

U4 eee aaa's picture

Unless someone drops a dirty bomb on the area

Common_Law's picture

As an alternative to those who have considered soylent I'd highly recommend Living Fuel instead. Great people and a great company.

And watch The Truth About Cancer a Global Quest for a real health documentary series. And it's about alot more than just cancer.

Dane Bramage's picture

"Not Mayo", "Not Yogurt", "Not Milk"  = Not Food.


More vegetarian mythos..  What the hell else can convert all that useless grass into yummy protein?  

TylerDurden6mil's picture

So living fuel is made out of great people, or great people run the operation?

Not Too Important's picture

The Truth About Cancer - all anyone needs to know is 'failing nuclear power plants'.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

HRClinton's picture

Soylent Green. Isn't that In-Vitro SPAM?


Let it Go's picture

For those who don't remember Soylent Green is the name of an American science fiction film made in 1973 starring Charlton Heston. It is also the name of the food people ate in the film.

The term is still used on occasion to create images of the kind of world in which none of us ever want to live. A world where much of the population in this future world survives on processed food rations, including one named "soylent green". For a short information blip as to the secret used to create this food and why the movie became iconic see below.

Buck Johnson's picture

Thinking the same thing, "tell everybody we have to tell them, SOYLENT GREEN IS MADE OF PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!".



Amicus Curiae's picture

there actually IS a Soylent named product for sale now.

im old enough to have seen the movie and be stuffed if Id eat it  !


the HUGE push now is recycling  waste from procesing to"value add" profits...never mind the customer

and also BUGS!

mainly in snackfood and things like  mueslibarss

however cricket flour is a product they plant to sneak into general widely eaten food like flour biscuits etc.

Label reading will be even more important than just GMO crap!

and there might be a million extra born per yr

the death toll would be as many if not more surely?

ageing pops and all that?

Deathrips's picture

Healthy reliable food source is a necesity for growth. These franken foods arent natural. Aquaponics is a solution so is verticle farming.



OverTheHedge's picture

Using urban roof space to grow food is an outstandingly good idea. Clever hydroponics and fish culture is helpful, but aquaponics is a bit hit and miss (this guy knows his onions:

I can see a cultural shift towards in vitro meat cultivation, because megacorps will profit, and vegans are mad, but what this means for the 50% of the entire land surface of the planet that is currently under cultivation, I don't know. Standard farming practices are mad, mostly because of government policy and subsidies, and mixed arable/animal farming is the most efficient, but not in our current squewed system. So, vegans for the win, long term, with fruitarians taking over as mad food Nazi weirdo extremists.

I'll be keeping my bacon, if that's all right with you. Direct from a pig, until it becomes illegal. Bootlegged pork products, under the counter, no questions asked. Nudge,nudge,wink,wink.

stinkypinky's picture

This civilization will attempt to do whatever it can to stay afloat, and two of the biggest issues staring it in the face are a lack of food and water security. Aquaponics is one of the late-stage solutions to buy some more time. It will work ... for a while more, but each of these farming technologies has its inconvenient little details, and the devil is always in the details. The picture isn't as rosy as the ag-technocrats would like to believe.

Any system, as it becomes more efficient and specilalized, also becomes more brittle and prone to breakage. These farms will operate on a thin margin of hope and luck until they are out of business, like most other farms, despite their high technology.

Eventually it always comes back to the fact that nature is already doing all it can to try and be abundant: animals do a great job of trying to put on weight and stay alive in the wild, and plants proliferate and are great food sources, all ready for the taking... and without the artificial energy sources and complex infrastructure that we currently have, the earth's carrying capacity will snap right back to where it's supposed to be, and humans will come along for the ride.

Deathrips's picture

What is a reliable stable food source worth?

If you have no food you only have on problem.



HRClinton's picture

I'd just stick to eating Beaver, if it were me.

Not Too Important's picture

What, seven days without protein and it starts? Lots of it in Africa now, probably in Venezuela, too. Just don't eat any spinal products, and you won't get kuru. Any big city with no protein and little to no law enforcement...

Duc888's picture



I'm pretty sure I'd eat the fat fucking banker who lives a few houses down before I'd eat "lab grown meat".  Having said that I've been looking into Aquaponics... sounds pretty interesting.


White Devil's picture

Aquaponics hooked on phonics, it's all a zionist NWO scam.

Not Too Important's picture

You'd need a lot to feed a family of four. Takes about an acre per person, so translate that to aquaponics.

quasi_verbatim's picture

Making flesh, the one thing Homo Erectus is good at.

MD's picture

Lab-grown meat could be the thing that turns me into a vegetarian. If real meat becomes too expensive, that is.

khnum's picture

Bought a sandwich from 7-11 recently ingredients white bread wheat flour water maize starch yeast soy fibrewheat gluten,vingerar,iodised salt,vegetable gum,soy flour,canola oil,emulsifier 418,emulsifier 471,322acidity regulator 330,natural colur 160a,margarine Oh and Egg 33 percent,lettuce 10 percent and eggmayonnaise 9 percent.


Not Too Important's picture

And boatloads of Round-Up in almost every ingredient. And more in the medicine they give you when you get sick.

And in the vaccines that kids get 70+ of by 18...

OverTheHedge's picture

I make bread occasionally: water, flour, salt, yeast (or starter culture, which is just gone-off flour). So, three, or four ingredients if you include the yeast. How many ingredients listed on a pack from the supermarket?

khnum's picture

In Australia all grain is now gmo so I couldn't tell you I no longer eat too many bakery products or much grain fed anything.

waspwench's picture

Have you tried to get imported flour?

1800Vindication's picture

Er? No. Plenty of organic grain being grown here, including barley for beer malt. I source both for bread and beer. 

Current methods are insane. Soil microbiology is everything. Glyphosate fucks shit up. 

Agriculture subsidized via an abundance of cheap energy and petro based fertilizers cannot last for ever.

REAL animals are part of sustainable agricultural systems producing nutrient rich, quality food.

Food systems, along with a few other things, need decentralization as well. But im not holding my breath. ..


Beyond Organics's picture

You may find this of interest.


 MOE Farms



Knox County, Texas, USA




Amicus Curiae's picture

youre daft!

we grow only GMO canola and cotton and  SA and NT and tassie  are gmo free

no one grows GMO wheat except ussa whewere it was carefully allowed "accidentallly" to get into the planting wheat supply...and was found.

if anyone planted canadian flaxseeed from health stores  here there is a risk of

a gmo variant appearing it WAS refused approval but again..magically got into the food chain it was found by germany testing imported grains.

the strain was called Triffid funnily enough and grown by a candian uni.

i will allow you that Clearfield products are sold as non gmo but are avery fine line on that, as theyre chem altered seed or irradiated to mutate and withstand chemicals.

we DO have plenty of good organic options available.

4leafclover company in Tarlee in SA will post or sell you bulk for home use.

DEMIZEN's picture

eat that shit only in case of an absolute emergency. 

cheech_wizard's picture

20 undeveloped acres down the road about 10 miles from me . $100K

Better price for land...

42 undeveloped acres - $118K

75 acres farmland w/house. $490K

No reason to eat lab-grown meat, or become a vegetarian...



Site's picture

This is exactly what we did, moved 100 miles out from the nearest metropolitan area, bought some acreage raise our own vegtables, bought a few dexters, have our own milk, have 20 or so layers, our own eggs. We rarely go to the nearest "town" fuck the city, fuck big ag!

NoWayJose's picture

The shift will just be from all-meat hot dogs to 'you don't want to know' hot dogs! Taste will be the same.

Erek's picture

Never ask what's in the sausage.