Blurring the Line(s) Between Food Innovation and Tradition
When it comes to food, everything is personal. Whether it’s a quick and simple lunch or dining out for a special occasion, what we eat holds meaning in our lives. Keeping us alive and well is only a small part of what food does for us. It gives us joy, connects us to others, allows us to honor the past, and so much more.
But as we continue to move into the future, much of what we eat could be (and already is in some cases) under threat. Environmental pressures — namely deforestation — affect the likelihood that we’ll be able to enjoy our favorite food and drink, like chocolate and coffee, in the future. And for those who suffer from food allergies, the inability to enjoy other classics such as peanut butter is a problem here and now.
So, if we want to keep enjoying these and other foods, it seems pretty clear that something needs to change. But that’s where so many of us freeze in our tracks, because we know it’s not just something that has to change: it’s us. And with something as personal as food, the fear of giving up what we know and love can be enough to keep us from taking that step in the first place.
Current “Alternatives” Often Miss the Mark
For quite some time, advancements in the world of food that seek to solve these problems — from the social to the environmental — have tended to position themselves as “alternatives” to their traditional counterparts, options that may vaguely resemble what they seek to emulate but most likely leave us wanting more. And with issues such as climate change and environmental sustainability that often feel distant and inapplicable (for those of us fortunate enough not to be immediately impacted by them), it’s easy enough to kick the can down the road a bit, so to speak.
It’s no surprise that the most crucial element in re-creating new versions of our favorite foods is taste. For the majority of folks out there, doing right by the environment, animals, or others simply isn’t a strong enough motivator if it doesn’t excite our tastebuds.
Take this recent tweet from Cardi B. The singer’s sentiments echo what the majority of us wonder if we’re to adopt a new way of eating. Taste (closely followed by price) is so important to us as humans that we’d much rather sacrifice for it than sacrifice it itself. And in the history of these alternatives, most offerings haven’t crossed that threshold. Those that have gotten remarkably close in recent years, the Impossible and Beyond burgers of the world, face another obstacle in the minds (and wallets) of consumers: cost.
Taste isn’t the only familiarity we tend to associate with the foods we love. For many of us, affordability is just as important as flavor when it comes to enjoying what we eat. And unfortunately, in the minds of many, innovations and alternatives in the food space have become synonymous with high price tags.
Food Innovation Doesn’t Have to Reject Tradition
With all that in mind, it’s not so hard to appreciate why the adoption of new foods into our lives can be seen as scary, providing little value, and for many, simply inaccessible. But here at Voyage Foods, we know that innovations and advancements in what (and how) we eat don’t have to go against everything we know. All of the foods we hold dear in our hearts were new to us at one point or another, yet we cherish them nonetheless. We love them for how they taste and what they make us feel.
If there were replacements for our favorite food and drink that rivaled the “traditional” in taste, cost, and experience, wouldn’t you want to try? We think so. And that’s why we’re creating new versions of our same old favorites. Because we believe that for the vast majority of us, it isn’t necessary that the foods we love be made in the way they have been, ways that simply aren’t sustainable for us or our planet. They just need to be reminiscent of those that are.