If you want to spot where society is going, you could do worse than look at the potential trends of the food industry’s future. When you think about the enormous changes that have taken place in the past decade or so, you can see how much it is linked to public opinion.
Take McDonald’s, for example. Only ten years ago they were viewed as one of the evils of corporate America. They still have that reputation in some sectors of society, of course, but they have worked hard to improve their image. It’s clear, then, that public opinion has a lot to do with food – and vice versa.
New developments in the food industry are often hamstrung by ethical issues, such as the furor around GM products or animal welfare. With all this in mind, we thought we would take a look at some of the trends we can expect in the next decade or so.
We firmly expect meat to become a lot more expensive in the years to come. There are a good few reasons why. First of all, farm animals need to eat a lot of grain and cereal before slaughter. In fact, almost a third of the world’s grains are used for feeding livestock. While choice will always remain, we expect people to become more ethical in the type of meat they eat – and the amount they consume. Not only will it help free up resources, but it also helps reduce our carbon footprint and stops the needless destruction of rainforests.
Expect large scale food manufacturers to embrace the appeal of ethical food production to consumers. As ethics and morals about the industry come more into focus, people will start to make lifestyle changes. It’s already happening now. Head into your local grocery store and you will see dozens of ethically responsible food items on every shelf. There will always be a market for mass production – it’s cheap and essential to feed many populations. The trick is to combine new ethical practices with large scale production.
Over a third of all food rots before it is consumed. Much of it occurs during the processing, transport and storage phases of delivery. It’s something that fresh, modern companies are trying to find a solution for. It’s one thing producing a small volume of product and selling it at farmers markets. But, when you scale up, it’s a different story altogether. You can see in this Forbes piece here Hampton Creek face up to their distribution issues while scaling. There’s a real focus on delivery and getting their food out as quick as possible. If anything can help the enormous amount of wasted food on the planet, it’s going to start with more efficient distribution.
Food is fuel – and few people think anything else. But, there has been an enormous amount of research in recent years revealing that it is much more than that. In the not-too-distant future, expect to see food’s benefits extending beyond pure nutrition. Beauty benefits and mood enhancements are both likely to feature if current trends continue.
Let us know your thoughts on the future of odd in the comments section below.