Curing the Language of the Food 2.0 Era

The global food system is undergoing tectonic changes involving health, economics, sustainability, and scientific advancement. Emerging innovations target major environmental and global health challenges. Following Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, such innovative solutions are held back by lack of consumer trust and acceptance including: (i) the intrinsic friction between conservative traditional food choices and the disruptive nature of food innovation and (ii) the confusion caused by competitor ads, less successful past innovation attempts, primordial fear of synthetic biology, and consumer groups that oppose innovation. Ensuring that food innovations improve food systems requires an integrated effort of all stakeholders. First, a new lexicon that accurately describes food choices must be agreed upon. Second, following Popper’s Paradox of Tolerance, a U.S. interagency regulatory framework must provide crystal-clear prescriptive (rather than responsive and narrative-based) national safety guidelines on new food innovation as to the regulatory clearance path and labeling. Third, a non-partisan organization should focus on consumer research and education at all levels so as to not leave the stage to ‘fake-news’ on the one hand, and to commercial and potentially less consumer trusted entities on the other. The focus should be translating the language of technological and consumer-beneficial innovation into Rousseau’s emotional language rather than solely to the Chomsky’s logical ‘internal’ language lacking the ‘external’ language aspect. Hence, an array of practically applicable policy adaptations can improve the language in the Food 2.0 Era to help both consumers and the planet enjoy a healthy future through cost-effective food innovation made available via a safe, sustainable, healthy, and trusted process.