With an estimated population increase of about 40% (about 2.7 billion more people) in 2050, the growing climate change concern, and unethical harvesting methods, it's time to start looking for better solutions, starting with your plate. Here are five future foods that provide legitimate solutions to what we face today.

But first, something to note: despite general misconceptions and cultural taboos, a lot of efficient food sources already exist. Because of negative connotations, these sources have struggled to take off. Finding better ways is undermined by fear of the unknown.

A word of advice from Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt: "You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face." In summary, fear not for the future dear reader, fear not.

1. Lab-Grown Meat

meat, pork, beef, sausage, bacon
Andrea Leelike

Science and food: where manifold frontiers meat. Skeptics might be thrown off by the idea of anything lab-grown, but the benefits of this product immensely outweigh any detriments. Lab-grown meats have many positives including but not limited to un-cruel animal treatment and minimizing the dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases being released. 

At its current stage, this future-food is a pricy product to create, providing a challenge for those who want to globalize it (which is the ultimate goal).

To find out more about how the meat is actually grown, check out this article

2. Cricket Flour

Bugs are a huge part of many cuisines around the world and have been for a while. Nutritionally, they have similar benefits to the "normal" foods Westerners eat. Unfortunately, a huge part of the Western world is prejudice to the idea of bugs for dinner. As the world population increases, space and resources will become scarcer, and it will become deadly to ignore the economic and health benefits of crickets and other bug-based foods.

Cricket-nutrient can cut costs by about 33%, eliminate about 18% greenhouse gases, and use about 2500x less gallons of water than cows. A few select companies and bakeries in America, such as Exo and Bitty Foods, have started incorporating cricket flour into their products. Learn more about bug nutrients in America in Megan Miller's (one of the owner of Bitty Food) Ted talk above.

3. Algae-Eats

Becky Hughes

Algae, like crickets and other insects, are easily raised, easy to sustain, and additionally are part of many different diets around the world. Algae-nutrient can be taken in different forms and as a lab at Sheffield Hallam University found, can be used as a replacement for salt in processed foods.

Algae, which thrives in water, is also extremely convenient for raising and harvesting since about 96% of the Earth is made up water. Historically, algae supports many diets, particularly in Asian countries, serving as broth-bases, soup-components (my favorite being miyeokguk), and wraps (think sushi). 

4. Sonic-Enhanced Food

tea, coffee, beer
Rachel Schonbaum

As many foodies know, environment plays a huge part in one's dining experience. At a fast food diner, you can expect a well-lit room filled with bright colored chairs and tables and loud upbeat songs blasting over head. Or, perhaps at a fancy dinner party, ambient songs play in the dimmed room, a mahogany-theme going for the wood walls, tables, and chairs.

It has been proven that listening to different tempos alters eating patterns. A more unusual find being Bittersweet's connection between taste and sound. They found that one's perception of freshness, sweetness, and bitterness can be altered by playing different frequencies. In a country of mass food waste and obesity, this find could be potentially life-changing and start a healthier culture where simply choosing a different song can make eating more satisfying.

5. Soylent

Known as the food of Silicon Valley (where it all began), this product became creator Rhinehart's solution to getting the most out of a meal. Between costly produce and cheap fast food, Rhinehart looked and failed to find anything that suited his needs.

Out of his dilemma came Soylent: a portable and convenient nutrient-packed drink (which has a powder form also available). For many, Soylent is considered a culinary disgrace, but in a world where some 795 million people cannot lead healthy sustainable lives, Soylent and products like it could be just what we need.

Looking ahead

A lot of these future-foods bring up importance discussions. Of course they won't keep the sun from exploding, but they're a much-needed start. As I'm sure many bloggers, life coaches, and sources of inspiration will tell you, the next step starts with you. Looking toward 2017 and all the years to follow, it is crucial that we reflect on our impact on the world, even if it is as simple as restocking your shelves.