Diversity in the diet

One of the key challenges for future food security is meeting the demands for sustainable sourcing of food while a demographic increase is expected. One way to obtain food is to increase the diversity of food sources using new raw materials. Examples of this are new products with high productivity/low environmental impact, like marine sources (algae) and insects. Other ways  might be the fermentation of side-streams or cultivating animal cells in a laboratory.


New sources not fully exploited: There are diverse varieties of animal, plant and fungi species which are not fully exploited. One example could be the use of legumes, which some cultures use in their daily diets. There is still space for full exploitation of such already available sources. Also, food production and processing produces large quantities of unused side-streams which frequently end up composted or combusted. Those could be converted to food using fermentation processes, incorporating biotechnology, novel fungi, food bacteria and yeasts, or using refining processes.
Full exploitation of marine resources: The sea provides algae, seaweed and krill which are produced in abundance with a low impact on the environment. Harvesting those resources in a controlled manner and educating consumers to encourage acceptance of many of these resources could provide new raw materials with a low environmental impact.
Full exploitation of insects: The non-cordate phyla of arthropods, which includes insects, crustaceans, myriapods, and others, are a good source of protein. They provide very fast protein production under supposedly low environmental costs. Although used by some cultures, they are not mainstream. Consumer acceptance, environmental impact, and food safety are still challenging in this research.
Cultured meat and cellular aquaculture: Cultured meat is the name of laboratory meat, or in-vitro cell culture. Animal cells are replicated through a laboratory process. Theoretically, there is less environmental impact and no issues of animal welfare. Large investments are already ongoing in those technologies, but consumer acceptance and sustainability parameters are still under research.

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