by Bob Benenson, FamilyFarmed.org
The New York Times on Sunday (Aug. 24) ran an article by journalist Kate Murphy titled “Rethinking Eating.” It described what it called “Food 2.0,” technology-driven efforts to isolate nutrients and flavor elements, mainly from plants, to produce alternatives to naturally grown foods — particularly meats and eggs.
We at Good Food on Every Table hope you will share your opinions on Food 2.0 in the comments section below. Our goal is to compile comments into a subsequent post that will advance the conversation.
To get a sense of what this is all about … Murphy wrote, “Instead of the go-to ingredients previously used in animal protein substitutes — soy, wheat gluten, vegetable starches — Food 2.0 companies are using computer algorithms to analyze hundreds of thousands of plant species to find out what compounds can be stripped out and recombined to create what they say are more delicious and sustainable sources of protein.”
She added, “Meanwhile, in vitro meat producers … and researchers in Europe are using tissue engineering technology developed for medical purposes like growing skin and organs.”
The article notes that many people — and we’re guessing some of our readers would be among them — react to this better-eating-through-technology approach with horror. “This, of course, flies in the face of an entrenched local and artisanal food movement that has restaurant servers waxing romantic about where items on the menu come from and how they are prepared — the more natural and less processed the better,” Murphy wrote.
She quotes Good Food movement pioneer Marion Nestle — a New York University professor and author of Food Politics — as asking, “Why not just eat the vegetables?” instead of centrifuging out plant proteins for recombination into new types of food products. To the suggestion that preparing a balanced diet is complicated and labor-intensive, Nestle responded colorfully, ““Sex is messy and a lot of trouble, too.”
So — what do you think? Your comments would be greatly valued.