The food of the future – Professor Karin Wendin explains

In addition to all the exciting exhibitors with new products, GastroNord will also contribute knowledge through lectures from different actors in the industry. Karin Wendin, Professor of Food and Meal Sciences, explains how research on the food of the future works in a lecture at GastroNord on April 6th.

Karin Wendin works at the college in Kristianstad and at the University of Copenhagen. Her research, which is mostly about scents and smells, has increasingly moved to more sustainable food for the future. The food production of the world contributes to emissions of 6 billion tons of greenhouse gasses per year and accounts for just over one-fifth of the whole world’s emissions, something that Karin believes will be exacerbated if we don’t change our consumption patterns.

– We need to decrease our meat consumption, there is a great deal of consensus on this. Our planet will be hosting nearly 10 billion people in 2050, and we expect that the total food production would have to be increased by 70 per cent to cater for the entire population of the Earth. That is not sustainable and we need to find alternative paths, says Karin Wendin.

‘We will be forced to change’
Cattle contribute to increased emissions of the greenhouse gas methane due to their ruminant system. In addition, they mostly eat food that people could have used and graze usable lands. Despite this, the animals are needed and contribute greatly to functioning ecosystems, but to increase livestock farming to that degree will be very harmful to our environment, Karin Wendin deems.

– We must find alternatives to how we are eating today, use our resources differently and not eat as much from the top of the food chains. We will more or less be forced to change unless we do it voluntarily. Here, insects may be an important source of nutrition in the future. It is not the only way, but they are a good source of proteins, vitamins and minerals that we need, and they are also climate-smart, Karin Wendin asserts.

Insects as food
There are more people in the world who do include insects in their diet than who do not, says Karin Wendin. She and her colleagues have carried out tests to examine the different textures of insects and their impact on the taste experience, and have also been part of writing a cookery book focussing on insects.

– There is obviously a barrier that we must cross to get over the feeling that insects are disgusting. We in the Western World don’t have this habit, but you can easily grind them down to avoid a certain resistance. Insects do not taste strange as such, but they taste very differently from one another, just as different pieces of meat and fish taste differently, Karin Wendin closes.

Karin Wendin comes to GastroNord on April 6th to give a lecture on the sustainable food of the future.