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Embassy of Food

Landless Food

Regeneration of extinct flavour spectra via microalgae

Crab Flavor by red algae — © Paul Cochrane

We are in the year 2050. The loss of agro-biodiversity endangers human health, but also the spirituality and cultural importance of culinary traditions. The project, Landless Food, proposes a regeneration of humanity’s food system by introducing a new family of timely flavors based on microalgae.

The necessity of flavor regeneration

In 2050 Agriculture, as we used to know it, barely exists anymore. Former biodiversity has deteriorated with human consumerism and the impacts of climate change. Further crisis arose after overfishing depleted fish stocks, and the extinction of bees caused the disappearance of many flowering plants and herbs. Our spectrum of natural flavors has been significantly reduced. This loss of agro-biodiversity not only endangers human health, but also the spirituality and cultural importance of culinary traditions.

The project, Landless Food, proposes a regeneration of humanity’s food system by introducing a new family of timely flavors that bring our culinary memories back on the table. These are based on microalgae, which have come into focus of research for the variety of tastes that can be further diversified and refined through manipulation of their metabolism. The first outcomes are a line of seafood flavors and a floral spice. 

Local strains of microalgae have been cultivated on edible gel-like objects. After a period of two weeks the algae can be harvested and consumed freshly. Landless Food presents six food objects as reincarnations of three types of lost flavors. While the shapes of the food remain partly unfamiliar, the tools that are designed to eat these objects relate back to the long extinct resources of the taste.

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About Malu Lücking

Malu Luecking is a designer with a strong focus on speculative design futures and Biomaterial research. In her work she explores the potential of both, microalgae and macroalgae as a regenerative aquaculture for today’s material world and and the future of food.

Flavor collection — © Paul Cochrane

Prawn flavor made by green algae — © Paul Cochrane

Algae harvest from the curing chamber