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Industry Insight: Future 50 Foods Report
Team Offbeat | 18 Dec

Earlier this year, Unilever and the WWF released a report revealing 50 super foods of the future. Addressing issues of sustainability, health, accessibility and affordability, the report highlights key foods that can both boost the nutritional value of our meals and also promote a more sustainable food system.

Since 1900 a staggering 75 percent of plant diversity has been lost. Thailand, for example, once cultivated approximately 16,000 varieties of rice as opposed to just 37 today! This type of monoculture farming and over-reliance on animal-based foods are threatening food security.

“Diversified diets not only improve human health but benefit the environment through diversified production systems that encourage wildlife and more sustainable use of recourses.”

  • Peter Gregory, Research, Research Advisor, Crops For the Future

Here are three food groups we should be consuming more of:

  1. Algae

Responsible for half of all oxygen production on the planet, algae or seaweed is nutrient-rich, and high in protein. Harvested all year round and without requiring pesticides or fertiliser, algae can be added to soups and salads, making for a perfect meat alternative.

  1. Cacti

Also known as succulents, cacti have the ability to store water allowing them to grow in arid climates and tolerate drought. High in vitamin C and E, carotenoids, fibre and amino acids, edible cacti have long been used in Mexican cuisine. Owing to its low calorie and high fibre content, the Prickly Pear variety has been linked to weight loss and can even cure a hangover!

  1. Fungi

With more than 2,000 edible varieties, mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, Vitamin D, protein and fibre. Cultivated all year round, they can also grow on by-products recycled from other plants. Their texture and umami flavour make them a perfect substitute for meat.

So, what’s stopping you? As a casual dining operator, let 2020 be the year you make a positive change and introduce more of these super foods. The future is our hands!

By Charlotte Phillips

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