Future of food researcher Marco Springmann and neuroscientist Rachel Williams  joined us at StreetLife October to teleport our taste buds to a meal table of tomorrow. They tell us about the environmental importance of food and share their ideal futuristic feasts.

GS: Why is it so important for us to consider our food choices?

Marco: The food we eat impacts both our personal health and the health of the planet. For example, imbalanced diets are responsible for the greatest health burden in the world, and at the same time the way we produce food generates all kinds of environmental impacts, from creating greenhouse gas emission to impacting land and water use.

Rachel: I think sometimes when people think about the future and the environment, they say “we have to save the planet, we have to think of the planet!” The truth is, the planet is going to be here whether we are or not – we have to save ourselves! One of the cool things Marco said was that what we eat can make a real difference to the environment and to the survival of everything on the planet, not us alone.

GS: What new foods are you excited about?

Marco: The foods I’m most excited about are actually the more traditional ethnic foods that we might not have here in the West. So, if you think that eating more plant-based foods is important, what plant-based foods can we get here at the moment in the supermarket? Maybe only the odd falafel. The moment I see a greater variety of plant-based foods in the supermarket the more excited I am!

Rachel: I’m really excited about seitan because I think it tastes great. I’ve started learning how to make it myself. If you crumble it up and and fry it you can make meat-free mini chicken nuggets or chicken poppers, and that is the future that I’m trying to live in!

GS: Can you describe your ideal Meal of Tomorrow?

Marco: So, as a starter I might have oat porridge with some fresh fruits and non-dairy milk… Then maybe, as a second breakfast, I might have whole grain bread with some avocado on top and a bit of soy sauce. Then as a main, sweet potato daal with some seaweed sprinkled on top, together with a veggie curry containing plenty of greens, a bit of tofu and some red rice. And to finish off, dessert is plenty of fruits!

Rachel: My ideal meal of tomorrow is a meal that I already eat. I’m Jamaican, and we have a red pea soup that’s absolutely delicious! It demonstrates all the great things that beans can do. I think that having a stew that is filling, hearty and well seasoned is essential, but, it must come with a side of plantain. Plantain is the best food in the world! If you don’t know what it is, it’s like a savoury banana. You fry it and eat it with a savoury meal; its a staple food, and honestly, I don’t want to live in a future without plantain.