Food For Thought - May 2024

Spotting interesting trends and finding noteworthy food facts and figures is a big part of what we do at Ceres. Here are 10 recent articles, reports and long reads that made us stop and think.

Farmers required to grow more fruit and vegetables

This comes after a new national food index found that only 17% of fruit and 55% of vegetables are grown in the UK. According to critics, the new £80m scheme, announced at the Downing Street food supply summit, is not enough for farmers due to increasing extreme weather and rising costs. [Source: BBC News]

Open AI lauches GPT-4o

GPT-4o new features including emotional recognition, language translation and improved recall of previous conversations. The introduction of its new chatty and flirty personality offers an insight into the future development of future AI digital assistants. [Source:]

Rival discovered for Ozempic and Wegovy

Scientists discover new weight loss shot that could double the amount of fat they would loose on popular medications like Ozempic and Wegovy. Pharmaceutical companies rush to cash in on this weight loss market boom with a predicted value of $44 billion by 2030. [Source: Daily Mail]

New vertical farm replicates real environments

A £3.7 million plant lab opened by researchers at the University of Essex, aims to replicate real environments anywhere on the globe. This vertical farm serves as a hub to lead critical research into how we can help plants adapt to the ever-changing climate. [Source: New Food Magazine]

Children manipulated in buying junk food

The unethical use of bright colours and cartoon characters has been revealed as a trick to manipulate children into buying junk food. Bite Back analysed 262 sweet food products that were aesthetically attractive to children and found that 78% of those products were deemed unhealthy due to their fat, salt or sugar content. [Source: The Guardian]

AI used to create turtle soup

NotCo, Chilean plant-based food firm, has used AI to create a sought- after turtle soup without the turtles to raise awareness for endangered animals used in food. The presence of an AI program helped NotCo by analysing 300,000 plants and 260 quintillion combinations to find a mixture of proteins that closely resembled turtle meat. [Source: Reuters]

M&S dismisses self checkout reliance

M&S sticks to its roots as it dismisses the idea of total reliance upon self- checkouts in an attempt to save human interaction and avoid a robotic like feel within their stores. [Source: Grocery Gazette

GenZ scale back on non essentials

With the rise of living costs, Gen Z have begun sacrificing non- essential luxuries like streaming services and tech to prioritise healthy eating. 62% of Gen Z have shared that they would cut back on fashion purchases to indulge in healthier food and lifestyle choices. [Source: New Food]

Salt target exceeded in 1/3 of children’s meals

Over a third of children’s meals sold in high street restaurants exceed the governments maximum salt target of 1.71g per meal.  Research into 29 restaurants highlighted that only 6 of them had their entire menu below the salt target. Following this study, Dr Pauline Swift has stated that it is contributing to the rising obesity and high blood pressure risk in children. [Source: The Independent]

Soup and shake diet rolled out to reduce diabetes impact

900 calorie a day soup and shake diet to be rolled out across the UK after successful trial found it was able to reverse and reduce impacts of type 2 diabetes. Health officials aim to sign up 50,000 patients over the next 5 years. [Source: The Sun]