Flavor Tripping And The Miracle Berry

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Have you ever heard of the miracle berry? It’s a real berry grown in certain parts of the world that, when eaten, can trick your tastebuds into thinking something – like a lemon wedge – is sweet as candy. This taste hallucination, “flavor tripping” to those working on ways to create the future of food, was just part of an exclusive first look we got at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) FutureFood 2050 program.




By 2050, there will be as many as 9.6 billion people on this planet. The question becomes, how are we going to feed everyone?  Climate change and other issues loom large. FutureFood 2050 is the IFT’s response, and it is a fascinating one. Their newly launched website will be publishing relevant stories, interviews with innovators and people from around the world seeking answers and bringing attention to these issues.

But it’s not just for scientists and technologists.  FutureFood2050 will connect to us regular folks in meaningful ways through a variety of media, including an upcoming documentary helmed by director Scott Hamilton Kennedy, whom you might know from his Academy Award-nominated documentary feature The Garden.

Homaro Cantu discussing FutureFood 2050

Homaro Cantu discussing FutureFood 2050


Josh Schonwald, FutureFood 2050 Contributing Editor and best-selling author of The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food talked about the exciting and collaborative nature of the program. And Homaro Cantu, acclaimed Head Chef of Chicago’s moto Restaurant, and American inventor, entrepreneur, and molecular gastronomer wowed us with his miracle berry taste test – for a start.

Flavor Tripping

Flavor Tripping


Flavor tripping with Chef Cantu consisted of  dissolving a small tablet (a freeze-dried version of the mberry) on our tongues.  We tested the “turns everything sweet” theory by licking a wedge of  lemon. It was sweet, like, candy sweet! We also mixed the juice of the lemon into a small bit of non-fat sour cream and suddenly it was like we were having lemon yogurt or cheesecake. Our minds were racing with the possibilities!

Chef Cantu, who has spent years innovating food growth efficiency models also displayed numerous examples of technology breakthroughs that will help us work toward true sustainability – watermelon that is transformed into tuna, ingredients that cows eat being turned into “beef” itself (without the need for the cow), deconstructing energy bars to create ketchup and French fries that taste so much like the originals no one believes there’s no potato invovled!

If you want to learn more about the miracle berry and ways it will impact food and healthcare please watch Chef Cantu’s TedTalk below. And keep an eye on Food Travelist, as we plan to do some deeper investigating with Chef Cantu, IFT and the FutureFood2050 team.


If you are interested in sustainability, health, food safety and the question of how we will feed ourselves in the future, please check out the FutureFood 2050 website to learn more. We would love your feedback on this post, so please do post comments on the Food Travelist website.

THE QUICK BITE: FutureFood 2050 is an initiative from the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) that will showcase interviews, articles and a documentary that will provide information on how foods, flavors and science will feed us in the future.


One Response to Flavor Tripping And The Miracle Berry

  1. Stacie Marshall Reply

    April 19, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I found this article very interesting. I get finding new ways to substitute flavors, but will be curious to see the advancements as it relates to maintaining a nutritional balance. Looking forward to reading more as you continue to explore this topic.

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