Source: Co-op

Locusts, grasshoppers and crickets could all become a staple in Brits’ diets, either as snacks or as the protein element of a main meal

Cricket salads and lab-grown steaks could replace traditional meals like Sunday roasts or fish & chips, according to the Co-op’s annual ‘Responsible Retailing Report’.

The supermarket released never-before-seen artificial intelligence images showing what mealtimes could look like in 2054, based on the country’s changing views on food ethics and sustainability over the coming decades.

More climate-friendly dishes like azolla burgers, lab-cultivated steaks and even protein-heavy insect salads are all expected to make it to menus in the next 30 years.

The report predicted techniques like lab-grown meat and seafood cultivated from animal tissues to produce steaks, burgers, and tuna would become mainstream – meaning a “drastic change to many of the traditional dishes currently eaten in the UK such as the Sunday roast”.

Similarly, consumers are set to continue looking for flexitarian alternatives, including locusts, grasshoppers and crickets, either as snacks or as the protein element of a main meal.

The impact of climate change would see the likes of avocados and olives being grown in Surrey by 2054, experts from FixOurFood and the University of York also predicted, with less reliance on imported vegetables and an increased preference for locally sourced produce.

And plant breeding would bring new varieties to people’s plates, such as the fast-growing freshwater fern azolla used for soups, salads and even burgers, they said.

Traditional preserving methods such as vegetable pickling and fermenting are also set to grow in popularity to help Brits tackle food waste, according to the experts.

“The last 30 years we have seen scientific leaps into more sustainable produce which were unimaginable to most back in 1994,” said Bob Doherty, director of FixOurFood and dean of the School for Business & Society at the University of York.

“From lab-grown meat to vertical farming, the future of food is set to revolutionise how we eat. By 2054, British people will have edible insects on their dinner plate, and we may see the crushing up of crickets quicker than wholegrains.

2054 - lab grown meat

Source: Co-op

Lab-grown meat has been rising in popularity in recent years

“As climate change continues to impact our planet, we’ll also see a shift towards locally grown produce, with avocados grown in Surrey becoming a reality.

“We may even see the introduction of 3D-printed food. As we navigate the challenges of climate change, we’ll need to embrace these innovations to ensure that we can feed a growing population sustainably.”

In addition to an increased diversity in the goods sold at supermarkets and restaurants, consumers will also be able to sharpen their cooking skills as they will have more leisure time to cook at home following the introduction of the four-day work week brought in by 2054, according to the report’s predictions.

A rise in urban indoor farming and vertical farming is also to be expected. Meanwhile, as awareness grows around food security, farmers and other producers are set to become even “more valued” in society.

The Co-op’s Responsible Retailing Report has been looking at consumer views on transparency in food production and its impact on people, animals and the environment.

The retailer’s latest figures reveal that two-thirds of consumers have become increasingly more concerned about ethical and sustainable food than in recent years – a sharp increase since 1994.

2054 - Azollo

Source: Co-op

Freshwater fern azolla is used for soups, salads and even burgers

The impact of climate change, animal welfare, plastic pollution and fair wages for global workers were among the top reasons driving this increased concern.

Food waste at home remains a key concern, with more consumers saying they now only buy the food they need (61%).

Locally sourced stamps and recyclable packaging have also become some of the top priorities for Brits when choosing what to buy.

Cathryn Higgs, head of ethics, sustainability and policy at Co-op, said: “As a food industry we’ve made a lot of progress, but rightly shoppers are calling on us to do more, with honesty and integrity at the core of our decision making.”