Nikita Richardson
November 30, 2015 6:25 am

It was in the labs of the University of Florida that wildly-popular sports drink Gatorade was first developed, so leave it to the university’s chief scientists to predict how and what we’re going to eat come 2016.

In a press release, scientists at the school’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences shared their takes on the future of food. Here’s what we can expect:

Food will have to look as good as it tastes and smells

“Smart food manufacturers now appreciate that flavor and aroma alone are not enough for many consumers, and that visual and textural stimuli are also important to the consumer,” notes Doug Archer, a professor and an associate dean for research the Institute. “Foods incorporating innovative approaches to a blending of sensory attributes will likely win the consumer’s’ dollar. Scientific studies show that people shown a picture of a high-calorie food, such as pizza or pastry before experiencing an unfamiliar taste will find that taste more enjoyable than if they were shown a picture of a low-calorie food, such as watermelon or green beans. Thus, the appearance of a food is a critical part of the eating experience.”

Goodbye grill, hello oven

In the wake of the World Health Organization’s declaration that processed and red meat are carcinogenic, or cause cancer, scientists at UF predict that grilling will go the way of juicing.

“[N]ewly rekindled concerns about the safety of red meats and meats and poultry cooked in conditions that may char or add smoke may cause consumers to return to recipes that call for baking in the good old oven,” writes Archer. “A contributor to this trend is the explosion of recipe sharing on social media for mixed meat and vegetable meals prepared easily in the oven.”

Easy enough. Most of the people we know don’t own grills anyway.

Pre- and probiotics will continue to grow in popularity

Treat your tummy right and the rest will follow.

“Pre- and probiotics continue to be important to our health, including brain health and mood,” writes Sue Percival, a professor of food science and human nutrition at UF, citing their positive effect on mood and stress reduction. “Consumers need to understand how diet impacts their health by way of their microbiota. People can tackle inflammation by consuming foods and nutrients that include pre- and probiotics.”

In particular, try out cranberries, which have been shown to help with immune functioning and get along very well with the bacteria in your gut.

Waste not, want not—especially if the food is really good

As John Oliver pointed out over the summer, food waste in the U.S. is a huge problem, with Americans throwing out at least one-third of the food they purchase at a rate that is 50 percent higher than it was in the 1970s. UF scientists predict that Americans are getting fed up with food waste.

“Food waste is an important emerging issue and it can affect sustainability, not to mention consumers’ pocket books. Most wastage of fresh produce occurs in consumers’ homes because they think it doesn’t look or taste good,” states Amy Simonne, a professor of food safety and quality at UF. “For many produce items, proper storage plays a key role in preserving better taste and appearance. Consumers can save money and help preserve the environment by learning best practices for storing produce properly.”

‘Sustainable’ will be the new ‘organic’ if we’re talking fish

That desire to have food that tastes and looks good for longer may very well extend to the arena of fish consumption.

“We’ll see more fish products that emphasize product origin or that highlight fishery sustainability,” claims George Baker, an assistant professor in the department of food science and human nutrition at the university. “For example, fish might be labeled, ‘sustainable, small-batch salmon.’”

Hey, change is good, and we couldn’t be more ready (or hungrier) for the new year.

(Image via ABC)

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