CONCEPT CUISINE

Photos: What your food will look like in 2035, told through meatballs

The world of food is changing, whether we like it or not.

Solving problems like food waste, climate change and the world’s declining health are going to require major shifts in how we eat. To visualize those shifts, Space10—a “future-living lab” supported by IKEA—presents “Tomorrow’s Meatball.”

The meatball, says Space10’s Kaave Pour, is the perfect canvas because of how universal it is across cultures. “There’s hardly any culture that does not cook meatballs—from the Swedish meatball, to Italian/American spaghetti meatballs to spiced up Middle Eastern kofta,” he said in a press release. Pour and designer Bas Van de Poel created “Tomorrow’s Meatball” with chef and food designer Simon Perez, photographer Lukas Renlund, graphic designer Karin Borring and storyteller Simon Caspersen.

While many people may recoil now at some of the exhibit’s ideas (see the Crispy Bug Ball above), they may want to start acquainting themselves with a new kind of dinner. (Hat tip to Grist and CityLab.)

The Artificial Meat Ball

06-Artificialball-(c)-Lukas-Renlund
(Space10 / Lukas Renlund)

Lab grown meat is no longer science fiction. Researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands have figured out how to culture a few animal cells into an entire burger, and they’re predicting it will be available for sale in just five years.

The Lean Green Algae Ball

02-Algaeball-(c)-Lukas-Renlund
(Space10 / Lukas Renlund)

Think sea plants are just for fish? Think again. In July, scientists at Oregon State University announced the discovery of a seaweed that tastes like bacon, but is healthier than kale. It’s not on the market yet, but as Space10 notes, algae are “the fastest growing plant organisms in nature,” making them a perfect replacement for animals that can take months or years to fatten for slaughter.

The Crispy Bug Ball

08-Bugball-(c)-Lukas-Renlund
(Space10 / Lukas Renlund)

Bugs are nutritious, environmentally friendly, cheap and abundant, making them a nearly perfect food. Two billion of the earth’s humans are already eating them, but they’re mostly in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Maybe the best way to get Westerners to catch on is to bread and fry the little buggers into a ball.

The 3D-Printed Ball

05-3Dball-(c)-Lukas-Renlund
(Space10 / Lukas Renlund)

The world has already seen a 3D-printed sneaker, drug and even a ribcage, so why not a meatball? Oh wait, NASA’s already researching the idea.

The Mighty Powder Ball

04-Powderball-(c)-Lukas-Renlund
(Space10 / Lukas Renlund)

Thank Soylent for the idea of replacing meals with nearly inedible amalgamations of nutrients.

The Wonderful Waste Ball

01-Wasteball-(c)-Lukas-Renlund
(Space10 / Lukas Renlund)

There are a lot of ideas about how to solve the world’s food waste problem—an estimated third of all food gets trashed. Turning would-be-waste into a meatball is actually one of the simpler solutions.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search