Tomorrow’s meatball

16 Dec

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Even if you’d know what they are made of, these meatballs still look quite tasty. And that is exactly the idea. The Danish designlab Space10, also known as the “external Innovation Center” by Ikea, wants to examine whether it’s possible to make sustainable food like algae and insects more attractive by putting them in a familiar form. In this case, the form of a meatball, which makes it no surprise that the project is called: Tomorrow’s Meatball.

Many people have noticed that our current eating habits aren’t very sustainable. Our meat production consumes huge amounts of clean drinking water. It also significantly contributes to global warming. Combine this with the strong growing world population in the coming decades and we can conclude that the future probably won’t be that bright. Therefore, the Space10 team questioned itself: what kind of meatballs will we be eating in about twenty years?

However, the team is aware that some creations might not look very appetizing. Still, Kaave Pour, the creative brains behind the initiative, is convinced that effective design can help to overcome the first thresholds. Take sushi. That’s a good example of how design can encourage people to get to know certain foods. Since sushi has become popular, we think it’s perfectly normal to eat seaweed, algae or raw fish, and I think the design of sushi has played a crucial role in there. Inspired to this, Space10 designed a series of design meatballs where you probably would like to take a bite out of, even if you would know what’s actually in it.

meatball 1The first meatball is made of artificial meat that’s grown in a laboratory. That may not sound so tasty, but there won’t be many people complaining about anymore if half of our planet will be under water as a result of climate change.


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The Wonderful Waste Ball is designed as a response to the large amount of food that is thrown away, even though it’s still good to consume.



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The Mighty Powdered glove Ball is so rich in nutrients that you can almost replace it with an entire meal. It contains vitamins, minerals, proteins and unsaturated fats.



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This nutty meatball is full of proteins and looks delicious. It seems to be completely ready to be packed some environmentally friendly wrap to put it on the shelf of an organic grocery store.



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Algae are very nutritious and can grow almost anywhere, without using too many resources.



meatball 6This meatball looks almost too good to eat. Thanks to the 3D printer, we can now get protein from food that initially doesn’t looks so delicious – such as insects – and turn that into a delectable meal.


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In 80% of all countries it’s normal to eat insects, so it seems only a matter of time before the other 20% (read: the Western world) follows.


I think these meatballs might not improve people’s quality of life at first sight, but it will definitely affect it. I do think that people find the new kinds of meatballs interesting, but they might react a little shocked when they hear what’s really inside. Maybe, if you wouldn’t tell them, they’d just try it.

One time I saw an experiment on TV where they gave 2 guys a bonbon. For them it was just a delicious white chocolate sweet, but what they didn’t know was that it was made of something else than chocolate. I don’t really remember what it was, but I think something like mashed potatoes could be an alternative for the inside of a white chocolate bonbon. So, they put the sweet in their mouth, expecting the taste of the chocolate. Unfortunately for them, they didn’t see this one coming. When they tasted ‘the other thing’ instead of the chocolate, they were pretty shocked. Afterwards they told the host of the show that if they had known it was something else than chocolate, they could’ve been prepared to this and wouldn’t have found it as disgusting as they thought now. This shows that food that looks like something else, misleads people. This can ward off their trust in the new kinds of food that looks like food they already know. On one hand I can see why Space10 wanted to create something that looks familiar to people, but on the other hand I think, by misleading them, they wouldn’t give them their trust in the future when it comes to ‘new food’.

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