Solve For Food had the opportunity to sponsor and participate in the reThink Food conference at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia, in Napa, California at the beginning of November. As the food industry continues to see a convergence between food, information, and tech we’re excited at what the future holds for our industry—and have these emerging trends to share with you.
Food Industry Shifts
Humanity will reach the apex of greatest change within the next 20 years, not the next 300. Companies should be focused on shifts right now. That said, the “Internet of Food” is coming. Transparency, predictability, and traceability are key focus elements of future food systems. A common language across platforms is the critical component.
Big Food will focus on venture capital, and leave R&D to more nimble food entrepreneurs. Innovation will come from these small businesses, and scale will be achieved through strategic investments and mergers and acquisitions. Big Food brands will refine their brand portfolios aligning with customer and company values.
Future food solutions will require strong collaboration across multiple disciplines, culinary scientists, academics, manufacturers, governments, NGO’s, agro-businesses, small local farmers, the investment community, and others.
An abundance of information and choices have created hyper-informed consumers, spanning generations. This abundance of information drives industry demand for food safety and accountability, and consumers are focused on what is in their food, not what isn’t—label and market accordingly.
Although all generations have significant access to information, millennials have a grip on major purchase-power, and lead disconnected and chaotic lives. Millennials will prioritize spending on (responsibly produced) food more than any other consumer category as a means of comfort and control over their lives.
As consumers see food’s role as part of a 360-degree approach to health and wellness, they are more concerned about what food “does” for them—mind, body, beauty, and mood. A digital-bio convergence—an increase in personalization of and control over food-for-health—will emerge (ingredients, allergies, blood-typing, and peak-performance nutrition).
There is a hyper-focus on “what’s in my food”, “how was it processed”, “how was it sourced” across generational consumers. Sustainability of solutions and reduction of food waste are top of mind issues.
Food as the Curator of Togetherness
The aspiration for work-life balance is driving food—and mealtime—to take the center stage as curator of family togetherness.
Although families have less time to prepare meals, they will not compromise nutritious options and will continue to trend towards healthier options, be those packaged or prepared, semi-homemade, or meal kits during busy weeks, leaving the weekend for family preparation and a lengthy meal as a way to bring everyone together.
Even with so many factors predicting and shaping the future of our industry it’s clear: the future of food is still food. That simple fact drives our mission every day—to create better food for everyone, everywhere. We’re focused on innovating a better food product right from the start, by changing how food is made, processed, and delivered globally. Join us.
Use the following links to learn more about the reThink Food Conference: