One day, all things made will be better than all things grown. This trend is already happening in many industries where computed systems have superseded natural systems. For agriculture, the next frontier is the molecular reconstruction of food.
How do we know? Because it’s been happening for decades. Vanilla is a delicious example: more than 99% of vanilla used globally does not come from vanilla beans and nearly 85% is synthesized by the petrochemical industry.
Vanilla is simply too difficult to grow and too expensive to meet global demand. Synthetic vanilla can be produced for less than 10% of the price of natural vanilla. At nearly $200 per kilogram, vanilla would be reserved only for elites if we couldn’t make it without the bean.
But is it safe? Absolutely. Man-made vanillin (the primary flavor molecule) is 100% identical to the natural version. Of the billions of cookies, cakes, and desserts consumed each year, the real worry isn’t the safety of petrochemical-derived vanillin. The real worry is the sugar and fat content.
Our global food demands, even in luxury foods, often lead to unsustainable farming and harvest practices. Many crops are resource-intensive or limited in the geographic regions where they can be grown. All of these factor into the quality, affordability, and sustainability of many of the foods we love.
The future of food is engineered – for food safety, consistency, and accessibility. Join us and #SipTheFuture