The Future 50 Foods concept has been around for a few years now - this report was first published in 2019 - but its existence had passed me by until I saw it mentioned in a Vegan Food And Living recipe post yesterday. A combination of efforts by various organisations led by WWF and Knorr, the idea is to increase the biodiversity of staple human foods and to move towards greater plantbased ingredients instead of wasting such a large proportion of the nutrients we farm by feeding them to livestock and then to people. The Future 50 Foods Report itself includes an overview of the project's aims and explanations of the criteria the determined selection, as well as descriptions of the history, cultivation and nutrition of each of the 50 chosen foods.
I recognised the majority of the Future 50 Foods which range from sea algae to spelt grains, beet greens to cacti. I've also already eaten quite a few but, interestingly, pretty much only since having become vegan myself. I have noticed my being drawn to eat a more adventurous diet as a vegan than I did as an omnivore which very much goes against anti-vegan perceptions of us perpetually missing out! Having just been reading in a different book, After Meat by Karthik Sekar which I will be reviewing here next week, about the incredibly recent adoption of many of our staple foods such as potatoes and tomatoes, each of which only became common across the globe within the last few hundred years, I appreciated how the Future 50 Foods actually look back across thousands of years for several of the chosen foodstuffs. Where industrial farming has reduced, say, thousands of former rice varieties down to a few dozen now, this project seeks to reverse that decline in order to increase our potential food security and the basic nutritional content of our meals.
All in all, I found this an interesting booklet to read and it has given me lots of inspiration for foods to look out for, some new to me and others - like spelt - being foods I previously tried, but had thought of as occasional purchases whereas they would be to my benefit to buy regularly in place of their blander counterparts. I admit I was uncomfortable at seeing the Knorr brand so prominently linked with the Future 50 Foods concept because I don't think particularly well of their parent corporation, Unilever. More research is required on my part on that score, but in the meantime this report does contain good information and it is free to download!
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