A lot of strange things have happened in the food business in the last seven years. First, we saw the improbable runaway success of Impossible Foods – burgers and chicken made from plants, that taste just like the real thing. And their stock price soared!
Then came a major global health scare, the novel coronavirus of 2019, and never-confirmed rumors that it made the leap from wildlife food markets in China, quickly mutating to human contagion. Everyone knows that bird flu and swine flu infected humans in a similar way, through the animal food chain.
Which made everyone a little more suspicious of ‘fresh’ meat, rather than processed and plant-based meals. To say nothing of the benefits of balanced, nutritionally complete, healthy, manufactured, alternatives. There’s a risk to going organic; you never know just which organisms are included in your crop!
Now engineered food is all the rage. They don’t call it artificial anymore, rather ‘scientifically formulated’ and ‘clinically complete’; and of course, ‘better for you’. But at its heart all this new cuisine is lab developed and designed on computer, rather than grown in earthy, composted soil.
Not that there isn’t room in the market for old school produce, still picked by hand, with grains of real soil clinging to the roots and stems. That’s very much a niche these days, and scarcity does command a premium.
But as my Uncle Jake likes to say at mealtimes: “It may be fake food and all, but it sure tastes real good!” And he’s 96, so he should know.