Last Night’s TV – The Future of Food

george alagiah
You know how the ‘experts’ keep giving us differing advice about what food we should eat and how we keep reading alarming headlines such as ‘Coffee can cause leg cancer’ or ‘Bananas cause baldness’? Well, fear no more, because according to last night’s BBC2 offering, The Future of Food, there is no future for food, so we’re all most likely going to starve to death.

With the immensely likeable George Alagiah holding our hands throughout a show dedicated to pointing out the imminence of the food equivalent of Armageddon, it perhaps didn’t have the impact that someone more stern of voice and facial expression could’ve conjured up, but nonetheless, it was scary stuff…

There were more facts and statistics than you could shake a stick at in this show, so I won’t even attempt to recount them, but I did have to wonder at the prudence of tipping tons of lard and sugar onto a floor somewhere to demonstrate a point. Given that the point was that we’re effectively facing a future of rationing and/or death from starvation, was there really any need to waste that sugar and lard? Or maybe they’ll just truck it over to the studios where Celebrity Fit Camp is produced for them to do a similar stunt.

Or maybe they’ll just cut out the middleman and courier it over to Anne Diamond’s house. Sorry Anne, but I couldn’t resist.

On a more serious note though, we heard one alarming fact after another; for instance, within about 15 years, the global water shortage is predicted to decimate crops and over a billion people don’t have access to safe drinking water. Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment ruminated upon the fact that while a billion of us are obese, another billion are starving, quite literally, to death.

We in the UK now import around 40-50% of our food which is double the figure from 20 years ago and, as George eloquently put it, in food terms, “the party’s over”. Isn’t that always the way? By the time you get to the buffet table, there’s a stray sausage roll and a Scotch egg, all the good stuff’s gone already.

Another worrying fact was that in order to keep metaphorical buffet tables laden, we – and by we, I mean everyone in the world – are going to have to double our production of food to ensure that we’re not left with just that symbolic and withered sausage roll. And with global warming actively fighting against doing just that, it’s going to be a tall order. Taller than a Skinny Latte and a Whopper in fact.

In Kenya, we saw and heard from a farmer who’s seen his herd of cattle depleted from 900 to just 50 as a direct result of global warming and all the environmental horrors it bestows upon the poorest in the world. We also heard that in the Punjab, farmers are bankrupting themselves because they’re forced to hire heavy plant to dig deeper and deeper for a water source.

Depressing stuff for sure, but somehow, with George’s Dead Donkey style of delivery, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it didn’t have quite the punch that it could, or perhaps, should, have had. However, had it been presented by someone infinitely more serious and straight-faced, most of us would probably have turned over in short order. And that would’ve been a shame, because for me, shows of this ilk certainly do make me think a little bit more seriously about growing my own everything…

I quite fancy myself doing the Good Life…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.