Big Food Data: The answer to a more sufficient, sustainable food supply?

This information provided by Smart Cities Council Compassionate Cities.
Mon, 2016-04-25 15:19 -- Liz Enbysk

An interesting read on the Food+Tech Connect website looks at the future of food and suggests the key to food sustainability is learning to eat what the land and sea already supply.

It's a compelling point given the number of people around the world who go to bed hungry or under-nourished every night.

The article is by Bernard Lahousse, co-founder of the Foodpairing Company, which describes itself as a creative food tech firm "that utilizes chemistry, physics and data science as a launching pad for the future of food." The company works with chefs and brands and as a goal, Lahousse writes, wants to fill its database with aromatic profiles of every ingredient in the world for pairing purposes.

New foods for the future
Why this is intriguing from a Compassionate Cities perspective is that in the company's quest to analyze ingredients, it is including many that most of us have never heard of much less eaten. Lahousse says there is a lot of food that the land and sea provide that is wasted because it's unfamiliar.

One example: Foodpairing used its technology while working with a Belgian-based chefs' group aiming to minimize food waste at sea. "Until recently," Lahousse writes, "50% of the bycatch fish caught in Europe’s North Sea alone were left to die before being discarded at sea, in favor of more popular species to meet consumer demand."

Now the Foodpairing database has profiles of 30 of those North Sea fish and suggestions on how to create tasty meals with them.

"Rather than industrializing our food systems to coax anything and everything out of (sometimes) nothing, or depleting our current food sources to extinction, we need to embrace the whole world of ingredient options already surrounding us," Lahousse writes. In addition to fish he suggests there are opportunities in seaweed, insects and wild, foraged foods.

He quotes award-winning Blue Hill chef and The Third Plate author Dan Barber: “If we just eat what the land gives us, there is food enough for everybody.”

Related topics…
5 ways out-of-the-box thinking, compassion and tech are reducing hunger

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This article is from the Council's Compassionate Cities initiative which highlights how city leaders and other stakeholders can leverage smart technologies to end suffering in their communities and give all citizens a route out of poverty. Click the Compassionate Cities box on our registration page to receive our weekly newsletter.

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