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Mexico’s Quinasa develops foods for world coping with climate change

Quinasa director Dimas Jimenez poses for a photo during an interview with EFE on March 1, 2019, in Mexico City, Mexico, where the company is developing the foods of the future - products designed to provide humans with the nutrients necessary for survival in a world plagued by crop failures caused by climate change. EPA-EFE/Jose Mendez

Quinasa director Dimas Jimenez poses for a photo during an interview with EFE on March 1, 2019, in Mexico City, Mexico, where the company is developing the foods of the future - products designed to provide humans with the nutrients necessary for survival in a world plagued by crop failures caused by climate change. EPA-EFE/Jose Mendez

EFE

A Mexican company is developing the foods of the future - products designed to provide humans with the nutrients necessary for survival in a world plagued by crop failures caused by climate change.

Quinasa hopes to have these nutritious food products on the market by 2030, when humans may have to start dealing with the problem of crop failures.

Some of the products being developed by Quinasa take the form of tablets, while others resemble delicious chocolate bonbons.

Quinasa’s products do not look appetizing at first glance, but in a world dealing with climate change and food security problems, survival may trump appearances when it comes to eating.

The Mexican company’s products contain ingredients such as mango, prickly pear cactus, avocado and oats.

Quinasa chief Dimas Jimenez described himself in an interview with EFE as a visionary who was ahead of his time.

Jimenez has created several machines for making the company’s food tablets, but the most fascinating is Astron, a robot that performs a variety of tasks, including making the portable nutrient capsules.

Astron has metallic hands, a helmeted head and eyes like those of a human, thanks to an iPad.

The robot hears through the magic of artificial intelligence and can convert dehydrated fruit into nutritious tablets.

Astron - whose name was inspired by the astronauts who eat dehydrated food in space - can answer questions while preparing the foods that may save humanity.

Jimenez came up with the idea for Astron many years ago while pondering the effects of climate change.

“Those of us who remain alive will have to survive, we’re going to have to eat. What foods are we going to have if there are no large farms, if there are going to be problems with agriculture, if there are going to be problems with cattle?” Jimenez asked.

The Quinasa chief said the answer was clear to him.

“We have to create tablets,” Jimenez said, noting that NASA had already done this for astronauts.

Nutrition tablets are already being using in some places, such as Dubai, where the products are used to feed camels, and in the United States, where long-haul truckers eat them.

“They contain all the nutrients that the human body needs to survive 60 days without having to eat anything else but the tablets,” the biochemical engineer said.

In the world that is coming, crops in low-lying areas will likely be wiped out by sea level rise caused by climate change, Jimenez said.

“The coasts will all be completely destroyed,” as well as “what’s around the coast,” Jimenez said, citing studies that concluded that hurricanes will be more frequent and powerful due to climate change.

“I believe that everything that’s grown in higher regions, such as apples, pears, avocados, all the fruits and vegetables that grow at higher altitudes, will be the foundation of what we can use (to feed ourselves),” the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) researcher said.

Meat production as we know it will drop and cattle and hogs will likely also be converted into food tablets, Jimenez said.


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