For an everyday consumer, the idea of a global food system is a relatively abstract and complex phenomenon An increasing number of people are becoming more aware of the environmental and social consequences of their food choices. However, it is difficult to identify the most sustainable food as there are so many dimensions products can be measured on. Maybe it's important for you that the pig you are eating has led a comfortable life. However, a nice, solid and flat floor in the pigsty makes it more difficult for the farmer to quickly remove manure and, therefore, increases greenhouse gas impact compared to other stall forms. Maybe, you want to decrease your climate impact by not drinking regular milk and therefore change to the popular almond milk. But by increasing demand for almonds, you put further pressure on water consumption in California, which may hit poor farmers with more sustainable products the hardest. Or another example: you might have heard that from an environmental viewpoint, it's better to buy non-organic strawberries as these have a higher yield, and therefore are more effectively produced when measured in CO2-emissions; however, non-organic strawberries are also one of the major sources of pesticides being released to the environment and ultimately accumulating in our bodies. Food, of course, is something your body needs and is ultimately related to your health. Non-communicable diseases kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71% of all of deaths globally. 18 million of these deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases many of which have a clear connection to what we eat. In addition, it is now clear that we are not just feeding ourselves An exciting new research field explores how our eating influences special gut microbiota, which in turn influences our immune systems. Luckily, even though food choices are difficult, there are still simple, straightforward and general guidelines. For many people in developed countries, these guidelines include the consumption of less meat. Feeding livestock with good food is an ineffective use of our sources. Reducing or eliminating meat from your diet causes less environmental damage in terms of water use, pollution, deforestation and climate change and if you make sure to get important protein and vitamins from other sources, then it's also better for your health. For the majority of the population, changing eating habits is, however, not easy. Therefore, in order to start eating smarter, we have to crack the nut of behavioral change. For many, eating less meat is difficult; however, considerable innovation is occurring, which is designed to make it easier to eat less meat. Artificial meat that is to say meat produced from the culture of animal cells is attracting a lot of funding for research and promises to revolutionise the price of meat. Presently, however, this process is extremely energy-consuming; therefore, it is unclear how important such products will be in transitioning to sustainable food systems. Meat alternatives based on plant material are already on supermarket shelves in many European countries. NATURLI' has introduced plant-based products in a range of markets including Scandinavia, Great Britain and Germany. Jan Lund, the chief of innovation for NATURLI' Danmark, introduces the company: At NATURLI', it is important to adjust the balance between animals and humans that solution is through plants. At NATURLI', we believe that using plants is the way towards a greener future. We are also engaging in more climate-friendly solutions, that is, while soy beans are more commonly used around the world, we use peas. For Danish farmers, peas are our primary commodity. We believe that it is our commodities that will become a local source towards a greener future. In this way, we will offset carbon footprint. NATURLI' has operated in the market since 1988, but it is within the last 5 years that demand has suddenly increased, and Jan views the values and choices of the future consumer with optimism: Ultimately, it is all about future consumers. Who are the future consumers? Who are they as human beings? What are their believes and disbelieves? At NATURLI', we believe that future consumers are consumers who take responsibility; people who act responsibly and behave properly. We believe that there is a great future for what we work with, and that we will be the preferred choice as we have been since 1988, and not because of commercial causes but because our hearts are in it. We believe in making this a better place for our children to be in. It is a basic tenet of NATURLI' that they make products that remind the consumers of food they already know. This, they believe, is critical to deliberately changing behaviours. In order to create a greener climate, we, as consumers, need to make more climate-friendly food, and how does one make food climate-friendly? It is important to know how to do this. In a fast-paced world, we need to have products that are easier to decode i.e. they should resemble the products we usually buy. We shouldn't doubt what these commodities should be used for. If we produced a series of products that looked different and had another name than what we are used to, no one would ever buy them, and consequently we would never create a greener world. So for NATURLI', it is important that the products we produce taste, look and behave the same as the ones we want them to resemble; in this way we will be able to make that shift as consumers to create a greener world. The meat alternatives that NATURLI' produces contain less protein than actual meat, and they also have a higher percentage of fat. Therefore, Jan looks at new and better ingredients, which could have potential to improve the nutritional quality of the products. At NATURLI', we believe that commodities should constantly be challenged. Presently, we work with soy beans a lot and peas as well, but the future could be in grass. For that reason, NATURLI' is part of the InnoGrass project that is developed by GUDP (the Danish Agricultural Agency) in cooperation with DTU (Technical University of Copenhagen). The purpose is to determine whether grass could replace the current commodities we use, and grass is an interesting case to look at, because grass is a crop that grows 9 months in a year, and it has greater yield when it comes to protein compared to soy beans. The only disadvantage is that it's only the cow that can digest grass because of its four stomachs, but that is one of the focuses of the project, namely: if we as humans can digest grass. It would be a much more climate-friendly solution, if we could live from the grass in our garden. It sounds crazy, but let's see what the future brings. Meat alternatives based on plants are easy for the consumer to accept, but they lack nutritional quality compared to actual meat. The opposite is true of another protein source, namely insects. Associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, Michael Bom Frøst, has carried out research on insects as a source of food. Yes, so the first question you can ask yourself is why do we need to eat insects? and there are many good reasons for that. It is estimated that up to about 2 billion people around the world eat insects to a greater or lesser extent already, which means if we look at different cultures and count the population, then up to 2 billion people have insects as not necessarily part of their daily diet but as part of the repertoire of food products they would want to eat. In Northern Europe, Denmark, the Nordic countries, we don't have many examples of having eaten insects traditionally, we have few cases: in Sameland, that is Sápmi in northern Finland, some insects get under the skin of reindeer, so when these are slaughtered the insects are in the meat and thus eaten. Besides that, we don't have any tradition in regards to eating insects in the Nordic countries. However, there is a great interest in cultivating the use of insects as a source of food around the world, because they are high on protein; it is a composition of fatty acids that can be found in many insects. And there are various vitamins that is otherwise hard to obtain from only a vegetarian diet, and that can be obtained in ample amounts from only eating a carnivore diet in which insects is a good example. In recent years, there have been many environmental reasoning as to why we should eat insects we should eat insects, because insects have an incredibly efficient nutrient turnover compared to i.e. cows and pigs. Insects are also more efficient when it comes to turning feed into weight. This means that we need less space and resources in producing the same amount of energy into food and that's a good thing. When compared to animal food production, then we usually need a lot of space and resources. The case for insects as a food source is clear, but conceptions of insects as a potential food source vary greatly around the world. The likeliness of eating insects is greater closer to Equator on a worldwide basis. More insects live in the wild and for that reason it is easier to just eat insects when foraging, when gathering food or while hunting. In many cultures, insects have often functioned as snacks to eat while on these sort of outings. It is also a very seasonal food product in some places such as Uganda. When the season comes for winged termites comes on the market, everyone will want their hands on them during that period as winged termites are a fine delicacy. In that way, it is a very seasonal food product. My colleague who has done some field research in countries that eat insects asked questions like the following: if you could choose between a kg of chicken or a kg of the insect they eat in that specific culture, which one would you choose? And most people would choose the insects; so in many cultures, they are highly valued and people would pay a lot for them. Hence, there is a cultural aspect as well. Accordingly, insects are not only viewed as emergency food for survival, but they are actually a valued delicacy in many countries. That isn't the case for the Nordic countries, and not in Denmark. Traditionally, we have often regarded eating insects as something children would do or something disgusting. It can also be seen in the way we, in the west, have regarded the act of eating insects; it was referred to as "entomofagi", "fagi" meaning something you eat, and "entomo" meaning insects, thus "entofomagi" eating insects. And so if we look at other uses of "-fagi", we typically deal with things that are linked to abnormal behavior or highly unhealthy behavior or even as something primitive groups would do. Hence, it has been always looked down on and estranged it, and it hasn't been part of our culture. But if we change that and refer to it as eating insects instead of "entomofagi", it would change the way we look at it, because we've normalised the action. Similarly, just because I'm omnivorous, it doesn't mean I eat all kinds of mammals, i.e. rats are regarded as being something very unpleasant to eat; and the same goes for people who eat fish, they don't eat all kinds of fish. Similarly, we can't refer to insects as one big group, it's a highly diverse group and there are different taste, functions, and nutritional properties in them. Some places around the world have chosen to classify it such as Thailand. They suggested cultivating insects to create livelihood for poor farmers seeing that they ate insects in parts of Thailand traditionally which is why, Thailand currently has thousands of grasshopper and cricket farmers that make a living of that. The production is on a small scale, but they deliver to the market and it is an integrated part of the culture to eat insects in the country, but that is not to say that those were the same types of insects that were traditionally used these were first developed about 20-30 years ago. For insects to become a relevant source of food globally, their production needs to be up-scaled. This necessitates ethical, economic and health-related considerations: One of the biggest challenges that comes with developing a system, a food system, that can produce insects is to up-scale the production; and for us to do that, we need some knowledge about animal welfare, it's said that many insects thrive in being close to each other especially, meal worms thrive in being dark and tightly packed spaces; so, it is an advantage to have many of them in one place in the production system. Also, we have to figure out how to automate the process because labouring this production would be expensive, so automating the insect production with i.e. robotics would result in greater success in the west, because of how expensive labour is. Another challenge would be to find out which diseases that can occur in the insects once we up-scale the production, and if those diseases are transferable to humans as we know from other production systems. Some say that one of the advantages in regards to insects is the fact they differ from us greatly which would mean a smaller chance of diseases being transferred when eating them, zoonoses so to say. We need to figure these things out in order to produce food products; currently, the insects that we have here are very expensive, because they are still produced on a small scale compared to pork and chicken; it's still on a different scale. The EU, also, only recently agreed on allowing the consumption of insects, and the production of insects as animal feed in all EU-countries has been approved as well. Some places still have to figure out how to produce insects for people to consume, which requirements should there be. Looking back at when we worked on developing insects as food, it was very early on, and we would, more than once, experience events being stopped, because we wanted to serve insects. Local authorities would simply say it was illegal to do so and that we couldn't serve insects. That served as a challenge, and shows that the law needs to be adjusted as we progress. However, there are many aspects concerning the production of insects that is generally regarded as safe; so, it is possible to get an approval on producing and eating them. Although, some of the societal benefits of eating insects seem clear, the challenge when it comes to eating smarter is always the question of behavior. That is the primary reason why Michael and his colleagues have focused on how food containing insects can develop from being a gimmick to actually making gastronomical sense and be introduced into everyday cooking. When teaching school children, oatmeal balls make a convincing case. We have chosen to work with the insects in a way in which we each time have to figure out whether it makes sense, how the taste of the insect makes sense in these foods. So, in these oatmeal balls, they add a toasted and meat like, sort of umami-like, and it complements the food in which we have used them. In that way, if it makes sense tastewise, people would be more willing to accept it. When making these gimmicks, the reaction is always why do we need insects in this? But, we want to create food, where it is not just used for fun but where the insects have actual purpose.