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Tomorrow’s Meatball – What We All Could Be Eating in 20 Years


Space10 reveals Tomorrow’s Meatball, a visual exploration of the future of food – exploring the many ways we could be eating in 10 to 20 years. The project combines scientific research, food design and photography to visualise alternative ingredients, technological innovations and uncharted gastronomic territories, that we as humans need to consider to combat our unsustainable appetite for meat and the explosive demand for more food in the future. 

We used the meatball’s shape and size as a canvas for future foods scenarios, because we wanted to visualise complicated research in a simple, fun and familiar way. There’s hardly any culture that does not cook meatballs – from the Swedish meatball, to Italian/American spaghetti meatballs to spiced up Middle Eastern kofta,” says Kaave Pour from Space10. 

Like it or not, meat-eating and our increasing demand for food is becoming a problem for everyone on the planet. Our meat production is impacting global warming significantly, uses dwindling supplies of fresh water, destroys forests and grasslands, and causes soil erosion, while pollution and animal waste create dead zones in coastal areas and smother coral reefs. In addition to this, our demand for food will increase with 70% within the next 35 years according to the UN. We need to be smarter and more efficient about the way weproduce our food and be more open minded about food diversity, as our global population grows and climate change cuts into the water and land that’s available for farming.  

So while world leaders from over 190 nations are meeting in Paris to negotiate resolutions on dealing with the climate change, the future-living lab, Space10, set out to explore how we can produce more food with less and in a more sustainable way then today.

It’s quite difficult to picture that in the near future we will be eating insects or artificial meat. But, with the increasing demand for food, we need to start considering adding alternative ingredients to our daily menu. You could say that Tomorrow’s Meatball gets people a little more familiar with the unfamiliar.” – says Bas van de Poel, who was creative in residence at Space10, where he worked closely together with Space10-creative Kaave Pour to create the Tomorrow’s Meatball project.

Space10 lab worked with food designer Simon Perez, photographer Lukas Renlund, graphic designer Karin Borring and storyteller Simon Caspersen to propose eight alternatives to this food.

The Artificial Meatball – Artificial meat is an animal-flesh product, grown inside a laboratory.  The first lab grown beef burger was presented in 2013 and cost $325,000. Today, that very same burger costs only $10. Artificial meat is a viable near-future alternative to the increasingly unsustainable practice of cattle farming.


The Wonderful Waste Ball – Up to one third of all food is spoiled or squandered before it is consumed by people according to UN Food and Agricultural Organisation. Food waste is prominent in the efforts to combat hunger, improve food security in the world’s poorest countries and preserving the environment. Reducing this loss is a critical step towards securing enough food for a fast growing world population.


The Urban Farmer’s Ball – Urban farming is booming. More and more people nowadays are growing food as local as possible. Local food represents a serious alternative to the global food model. It reduces “food miles”, offers fresh products all-year-round, generates employments, creates greenbelts, and strengthens cities’ resilience to climate change.


The Mighty Powder Ball – Powdered food has been gathering traction lately. The meal replacement is available in both liquid and powdered forms and includes all the elements of a healthy diet: protein, carbs, unsaturated fats, alongside all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Today already, nutrient-dense products have become game changers for treating severe malnutrition in developing countries.


The Lean Green Algae Ball – Algae are the fastest growing plant organisms in nature and is a great alternative source of vitamins, protein and minerals. Because of this, the mean and green aquatic plant has a lot of potential as a scalable food source, as it can be grown anywhere – often in vertical fermentation tanks – without using large amounts of land or water.


The 3D Printed Ball– 3D food printing has the potential to save the environment, while revolutionizing food production  – converting alternative ingredients such as proteins from algae, beet leaves, or insects into delicious meals. In addition, 3D foot printing opens the door to food customization and personalized nutrition.


The Nutty Ball – Grains, legumes and nuts continue to gain in health reputation for providing abundant protein and micronutrients. In the near future, more and more local farmers will breed new varieties of grains to thrive in their regions, marrying classic seed selection with modern technology.


The Crispy Bug Ball – Insect eating is common to cultures in most part of the world. Over 1,000 different insect species are eaten in 80% of the world’s nations. Insects generally contain more protein and are lower in fat than traditional meats and have about 20 times higher food conversion efficiency – making it a viable addition to our current menu.


all images courtesy of Space10