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The Future of Cooking

What we eat and how we cook are evolving

The year is 2030, and dinner’s almost ready. Your frying pan texts you that the burger you’re cooking is seared to perfection. You start making a salad, using some greens from the growing pods on your windowsill. Then the screen on your pantry lets you know your avocado is perfectly ripe. Your health monitor sensed you were low in omega-3 fatty acids and potassium when it did your morning scan, but this meal should fix that. 

This is what cooking in the future could look like, according to Morgaine Gaye, a food futurologist in London. As technology evolves, our kitchens and appliances will get increasingly “smarter,” capable of delivering nutrition customized to your needs. Everything will be connected, says Gaye, who advises companies on food trends.

In addition to cooking gadgets and sensors, the way food is stored will get smarter too. High-tech pantries and refrigerators will have smart containers that keep track of their contents so they can automatically order more when food is running low or about to expire.

Courtesy of Pantelligent (frying pan); Courtesy of the Territorial Seed Company (TomTato plant); Courtesy of Home To Nature (seed grower); Smarter Fridge Cam (phone); Courtesy of Family Hub Refrigerator/Samsung Electronics America (fridge)

The types of food we eat will also change. “One of the things that will really be commonplace in the future is insects and insect powder,” says Gaye. Insects are plentiful, cheap, and full of protein. The United Nations—which advocates eating insects—says there are more than 1,900 edible species of bugs. Fried moth larva taste like cheese puffs, and crickets have a satisfying crunch, Gaye says. 

But you don’t have to wait until 2030 for futuristic foods and cooking devices. Today, you can buy smart cooking and storage devices, 3-D food printers, and more (see "High-Tech Food and Gadgets").

Despite these changes, what will certainly stand the test of time is how important food is to us. “Food is the one thing we all have in common,” says Gaye. “It shows a lot about who we are, who we were, and where we’re going.”

Determine if these futuristic foods and gadgets are worth the investment.

Suppose it costs $48 for a family of four to go out to dinner, and $20 for the family to eat a meal at home. The Pantelligent pan costs $199. How many meals would you need to make using the Pantelligent before you saw a return on your investment?

Each year, Americans throw out about $2,000 worth of food. The Samsung Family Hub fridge, which costs $4,800, could help reduce this amount to $400 per year. How many years would you need to have the Samsung Family Hub fridge before you saw a return on your investment?  

One TomTato plant costs $13 and can yield 500 cherry tomatoes and 4.5 pounds of potatoes, which is enough for 8 servings of french fries (and ketchup!). A serving of fries from a fast-food restaurant is $1.80. Which is the better investment? 

It costs $1 to buy 1 pound of wheat flour, and $15 for 1 pound of flour made from ground-up crickets. If the price of cricket flour falls by $2 each year, after what year will the price of the two types of flour be about equal? 

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