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We ate some weird stuff in 2017.

Loaded milkshakes topped with whole pieces of cake went viral, dessert shops that sold raw cookie dough and nothing else were hot topics, and Kalettes made their way into mainstream supermarkets – because apparently there’s a market for a kale-Brussel-sprout hybrid.

Unicorn-themed food hijacked our social media, and so did healthy alternatives to foods that really shouldn’t be healthy (read: zucchini pasta, because we’re all about that low carb life, and cauliflower pizza crusts, because society likes to ruin a good thing). We live in a time where superfoods have taken over our lives, and where serving blended fruit in a bowl costs twice as much as blended fruit in a cup.

But as the price of our food steadily rises, it comes time to reconsider what we consume. As a global population we’ll grow by approximately 83 million individuals annually, meaning our food production will need to double by 2050 if we intend to feed every mouth in the developed world.

If you thought paying an hour’s wage for coffee art resembling your own face was extreme, global organisations such as the United Nations are investing in alternative ways to fill our protein quota that don’t involve raising animal livestock.

But time fries when you’re eating good food – so what will fill the gaps in our stomach, when today’s produce can’t keep up?

MIND THE CRUNCH

Insects (or mini-livestock, to conceal the cringe factor) is expected to become a staple in our diet, as prices of meat skyrocket in coming years with rise in demand. Believe it or not, mini-livestock boast as much nutritional value as ordinary meat, and are a great source of protein, costing less to raise in comparison to cattle. They’ll consume less water, meaning a smaller carbon footprint, with a variety of 1,400 insect species that are cleared for human consumption. But don’t worry about having to bite into a meaty witchetty grub bush tucker-style – it’s likely creepy crawlies like crickets and grasshoppers will be ground down and made into familiar patties and sausages for munch-able meals.

LABAAA-RATORY MEAT

There’s rarely a time when sci-fi fans and animal rights activists unite, but the creation of the world’s first test-tube burger was one of those times. It’s hard to imagine that meat created in a petri dish using stem cell technology could be hitting our dinner plates anytime soon, but the reality is frighteningly close. While some companies claim they’ll be bringing cultured meat to market within the next year at costs comparable to conventional animal products, there’s restaurants in the health food capital Los Angeles already boasting faux fillets. Beef burger without the beef, anyone?

JUST HIT PRINT

Think bigger than edible homework – 3D-printed food saves cooking time, limits food waste, and converts alternative ingredients (like algae or insects) into delightfully delicious delicacies. It opens the door to food customisation, and there’s even prototypes for commercial 3D food prints hitting the markets, and production of personal printers is underway. Plus, it solves the age-old problem: my food doesn’t grow in a cool shape.

HYDROGEN WATER

This may not be a genetically modified nutrition-packed super meal, but it’s a trend expected to rise that we could not leave off this list. Now, we know what you’re thinking: isn’t hydrogen…water? Health buffs bored of the same old H20 are obsessing over the supposed energy-charged benefits of Hydrogen Water. While its mainly gold medal athletes preaching that they feel a boost in mood, greater intake of antioxidants and quick removal of lactic acid, for the every-man, Hydrogen Water is said to lighten your hangover. You’re welcome.

While food trends seem to be getting stranger and stranger, just remember that a person born circa 1000 AD would knit their brows at the thought of serving a coffee in a cone, a trend that has become as mainstream as sliced bread. No, wait… Coffee in a cone is still pretty weird.