Editor’s note: We kicked off our first annual Food Loves Tech event last summer in Chelsea—here’s a recap. We’re bringing a taste of the food and farming future back this year, but just across the East River at Industry City. Leading up to the event, this story is part of an ongoing series about technology’s effects on our food supply.
Browsing the products at The Future Market, a conceptual grocery store stocked with potential products from the future, it’s hard to not want the year 2042 to hurry up and get here (at least until I remember how old I’ll be then). From devices that facilitate food as medicine to food that demonstrates how sustainable practices such as crop rotation could go mainstream, the pop-up store both imagines and seeks to influence the future of food and agriculture.
“We want to inspire the food industry to think more ambitiously and think about what we could and should be doing around food,” Future Market founder Mike Lee said.
The Future Market recently showcased several products at the summer Fancy Food Show by looking at early stage technology and trends happening today. They envisioned what they would look like in 25 years, considered sustainable food practices and attempted to give them a mass product face.
Here are five products we wish were already real:
POLYCULTURE POLENTA BY THREE SISTERS
How do we scale the things that people are already doing like rotational agriculture but into mass consumer product? “If you can sell a product that is accessible to anyone you can change the system,” Lee said. This line of polenta products made from corn, beans and squash (known as the “three sisters” in some Native American agricultural traditions) sounds like a tasty, plant-based way to start.
City dwellers everywhere would appreciate this mini countertop farm. Using aeroponics and AI growing it would allow consumers to always have fresh fruit and vegetables at the fingertips incredibly fast. The growing system would allow for fruits, vegetables and herbs to grow within 12-24 hours. SproutsIO and Smallhold are close to releasing a similar consumer products)
ANALYZEME AND CUSTOM CULTURE
“The idea that we can get to precision nutrition is a really interesting concept and that what these are playing at,” Lee said.
The AnalyzeMe product is a pill that after you swallow it analyzes and maps the bacteria strains in your gut, and sends the data to a food profile that creates custom nutritional recommendations. Custom Culture is a line of yogurts made to benefit you based on your microbiome.
“It’s exciting because that kind of thing is the missing link between food is medicine and engineering food that is restorative to our health is hard to do with one size fits all food, so if we can automate that it makes it easier and everyone’s health is better off” Lee said.
Seaweed is already growing in popularity as food source but what would it look like years from now. The Future Market sees it being farmed and transformed into a line of pasta products that look like traditional pasta but have a firmer texture and a mild-sea taste. Seamore’s already makes similar products.