Food Technology

Bizarre Retro-Futuristic Visions of Meat

Turns out that people have been concerned about the realities of meat consumption for quite a while. This is an illustration produced in 1899 by Jean-Marc Cote. The illustrations were made for a company that went out of  business before they could be circulated, but a set was discovered much later and reproduced in a book with commentary by Isaac Asimov. Cote envisioned the kitchen of the year 2000, where food is produced in a chemistry lab rather than in a traditional kitchen.

Click through to see more retro-futuristic predictions, including a miniature factory farm and fields sprouting with “fat plants” and “meat beets”.

Another illustration by Jean-Marc Cote produced in 1899 shows his prediction of a “breeding machine.” Little is known about the true nature of these images as the company that commissioned them went out of business before they could be widely circulated, but the machine pictured seems to be intended to accelerate the breeding cycle to increase the yield of meat production, a forebear to the entire factory farming industry.

Jean-Marc Cote illustration 1899 uncirculated, breeding machine in 2000, published in Isaac Asimov's Futuredays 1986

In January 1950 Redbook magazine interviewed Aldous Huxley, famous author of the dystopian novel “Brave New World.” They asked him to predict what the world would look like in the year 2000. The illustration is supplied by George Englert and was printed alongside the interview. Huxley predicted that in the future, the farming industry would have to switch to a chemical industry producing synthetic products for the kitchen of the future.

George Englert illustration January 1950, housewife of 2000, published Redbook magazine

This was published for the comic strip “Closer Than We Think” on Sunday September 28, 1958 by Arthur Radebaugh. The comic envisions the future of farming, where “fat plants” and “meat beets” are used to cut down on the massive amounts of farmland devoted to cattle pasture.

Arthur Radebaugh comic September 29, 1958, undated future with 'fat plants and meat beet' plants published as 'closer than we think' comic

This comic was published on November 14, 1965. By Athelstan Spilhaus (illustrated by Gene Fawcett,) it proclaimed the need for synthetic food products to feed an ever-growing population. A little tongue-in-cheek, such items as Petro Pizza and Baloney Bologna were proposed as a potential solution to a looming crisis.

Athelstan Spilhaus comic November 14 1965, undated future prediction published as 'our new age' comic strip

You can read more here at Paleofuture.

Welcome back!

We have noticed you are a frequent visitor to our website. Do you think we are doing a good job? Support us by becoming a member.

Join