Thought for Food Blog

Edible Insects – The Food of the Future?

Posted by Naomi McGrath

10-May-2017 08:30:00

The eating of insects, or entomophagy, is not a new concept. In fact, insects have been eaten around the world since prehistoric times.

 

A history of insect consumption

Stable carbon isotope analysis of the bones and dental enamel of australopithecines, for example, has shown that they were significantly enriched in isotope 13C, suggesting that the diet of these people was largely composed of animals feeding on grasses, including insects. Termites are reported to have been included into the Plio-Pleistocene hominin diet, and an analysis of fossils from caves in the USA and Mexico showed that coprolites from caves in Mexico contained ants, beetle larvae, lice, ticks and mites, providing further evidence for entomophagy in human history. 

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Topics: zinc, texture, food safety, food security, nutrition, protein, allergies and allergens, pesticides, cholesterol, nutrients, magnesium, amino acids, fatty acids, calcium, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, environment and sustainability, Asia, Africa, consumer behaviour, insect foods, novel foods

Dieting: is it Really Worth the Sacrifice?

Posted by Chris Cattini

04-Feb-2016 14:22:21

Christmas is a distant memory. For some of us, the annual mission undertaken by chocolate, mince pies, brandy butter and yule log to convert themselves into excess body fat has been a success. Once again we find ourselves in post-yuletide gloom, with weight to lose and fitness to gain.

We all know that New Year resolutions are made to be broken. As the fireworks break out and we blow up what is definitely our last supersized bag of crisps of the season with a salty bang, it’s all too easy to go online and sign up to membership of the local gym. It’s also not that difficult to declare that alcohol will not touch our lips for the foreseeable future and filling up our supermarket trolleys with healthy stuff, including items disregarded in the approach to Christmas (and possibly at most other times of the year too), such as celery and low fat cottage cheese, requires little in the way of moral fibre when we’re still feeling bloated and slightly nauseous due to our recent excesses.

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Topics: omega-3, cancer, protein, cholesterol, diabetes, nutrients, obesity, cardiovascular health, carbohydrates, dieting, appetite and satiety, metabolism

Are Seed Vaults the Key to Food Security?

Posted by Tom Payne

17-Nov-2015 12:00:00

The Doomsday Seed Vaults

The idea of an impending Doomsday has existed in our collective conscious for centuries.

Whether approached from a religious or cultural bent (for example, 2012’s misunderstood Mayan calendar) or a more ‘worldly’ perspective (for instance, concerns over biotechnologies or nuclear warfare), the notion is by no means uncommon.

While the possibility of a global catastrophic event today appears distant, climate change and food insecurity – both imminent causes for concern – already have contingency plans in place. For over a decade, agricultural and food scientists worldwide have been establishing what many call the Doomsday Seed Vaults.

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Topics: genetic modification (GM), food security, cereals, protein, wheat, agriculture, food production, environment and sustainability

Reducing Meat Consumption for Sustainability

Posted by Naomi McGrath

05-May-2015 16:30:00

What changes could we make to “meat” the need for more sustainable food choices?

Meat often dominates the dinner plate. Whether it’s a juicy steak, a roast on a Sunday, or some sizzling sausages served up with a mountain of mash, meat regularly forms the central part of the meal, and for many people it is something they would certainly not want to go without. Unfortunately, though, while our enthusiasm for digging into meat-filled meals might leave our stomachs satisfied, it is having rather less positive consequences for the environment.

Meat production and the environment

Meat production is one of the main sources of human pressure on the environment, and its consumption accounts for a significant proportion of the ecological footprint of those who eat it. As well as being a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (it is claimed that the global livestock industry generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trains, ships and planes put together), raising animals for food is inefficient. It requires vast areas of land – not just for grazing, but for growing crops for feeds too, as well as large amounts of energy and water, all to produce only a relatively small amount of meat.

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Topics: food security, cancer, animal welfare, protein, diabetes, grains, obesity, agriculture, meat, cardiovascular health, food production, environment and sustainability, consumer behaviour, plant-based diets

3D Printing: Shaping the Future of Food

Posted by Naomi McGrath

05-Jan-2015 11:33:00

Imagine a world where you could have any food you liked in any shape you desired at the touch of a button. Rocket-shaped pasta? Easy. A bowl of dinosaur-shaped cereal? No problem. Or how about some chocolate, sculpted into an assortment of intricately shaped snowflakes? Well, with 3D food printing this could be a reality. And, as the technology has started to make some real progress in recent times, it could happen sooner than you might think. Its potential does not end at just printing individual foods like pasta and breakfast cereal, though. Scientists envision a future where entire meals could be printed using a 3D printer.

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Topics: texture, nutrition, flavour, 3D printing, protein, nutrients, chocolate, sugar and substitutes, environment and sustainability, confectionery

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