In 2018, What the Future asked Americans if they wished their families had more time to eat together at home and 43% said yes. Well, they got what they wished for. Eating is one of the most fundamental things we do each day but how we eat, where we eat, what we eat, and how we prepare it have all changed.
So, we asked people from throughout the food industry what the future might look like for eating and dining. To set the table for the discussion, we served up a set of master vignettes: one hopeful, one woeful and one somewhere in between.
They’re not formal forecasts, but they serve as a narrative starting point for a discussion about the near-term future. Our in-house futurists have deemed them “scary but plausible.” Since they were written, we can already see parts of each of them playing out.
We also surveyed Americans for their opinions on food costs, meat alternatives, delivery, convenience and the now over-stated joys of eating with your family. Every. Single. Meal. Of. Every. Day.Then we’ve asked our virtual panel of experts to send us some “postcards from the future.”
The first postcard comes to us from a future we might try to aim for, with smart investment and bold moves to get the economy back on track. The second represents a future where missteps were made along the way and those play out with drawn-out consequences. The final presents us with a path which is both avoidable and dire.
The data might hint at a tough future for large sectors within the food industry. But business-model pivots, perhaps more government support, supply chain and delivery revamps and accelerated R&D might keep us pointed toward the more hopeful outcomes. We’ve served up a filling issue loaded with thought-provoking ideas and much-needed data. Bon appétit.