Welcome to the fourth installment of our What the Future series.
Matt Carmichael // WTF FOOD
Over the past year, we have talked about the trends impacting changes to three of the top areas of consumer spending: housing, transportation and health care. This issue is focused on a fourth key sector: food. Specifically, we have conversations with the difference-makers about how our food gets to us, where that food comes from today and will come from tomorrow. The answers to these seemingly straightforward questions are in a surprising amount of flux.
As part of those discussions, we have asked thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of citizens from around the globe about the role of food in their lives and how that is changing. All of that exclusive data is presented here for the first time as well as other explorations from Ipsos into packaging, food culture, delivery, convenience and the ever-evolving tools and methods we use to understand the human aspects of these areas.
But we start, as we should, with a look at the role food plays in nurturing our families, our society and our culture as well as filling our bellies.
So head to your pantry and grab a snack. Snag a drink, get a coaster and put your feet up and enjoy this issue of What the Future.
More than half of home cooks think their dinner routines could improve. Yet consumers are reluctant to add these options to their dinner planning. Today, just one in 10 of these consumers is planning to use a meal kit in the next three months. So how can emerging alternatives play a bigger role with dinner?
The plastic drinking straw has become a symbol of society’s growing concern over packaging convenience at the expense of our planet’s health. Already, four in 10 consumers report they have started using fewer plastic straws due to recent attention on the issue, according to a recent Ipsos/Buzzfeed poll. Nearly half of those polled support local governments banning their use.
Slightly more than half of Americans say they consume more sugar than the recommended limit, according to the Ipsos Global Trends report. The Canadian Food Service Monitor study by Ipsos showed that reducing sugar is a top concern for diners who are generally trying to reduce processed and unhealthy ingredients and replace them with more natural choices. But people do still like their sweets. So how can brands lower sugar content without alienating consumers or forcing them to change their behaviors to benefit from less sugar? Should companies go stealth when tweaking their formulas or be up front about it?
In Douglas Adams’ sci-fi classic, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” diners are invited to meet the meat. The main course introduces itself before the meal: “I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in the parts of my body? Something off the shoulder perhaps? Braised in a white wine sauce...”
Your competition just released a new product. It was starting to get buzz on social media and then a celebrity plugged it unprompted on Instagram and the mentions lit up. Is this the Next Big Thing, or is it the next Not a Thing Anymore? Will this have sustained scale? To put it another way, will this product “tip” from niche to mainstream and should you be developing an equivalent?
As populations expand and the effects of climate change grow in severity, nothing short of our ability to feed the world’s people is at stake. Ronald’s book, “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food,” co-authored with Raoul W. Adamchak, her husband and an organic farmer, seeks to bridge a divide between her community of scientists and his of organic farmers. Each group must work together to create a more sustainable landscape for farming. When Ronald thinks What the Future, she’s wondering if people realize what’s at stake and understand the benefitss of genome-editing technologies such as CRISPR.
Multiple James Beard Award-winning chef Rick Bayless will feed you in his Chicago restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Topolobampo. He’ll teach you how to cook with help from his cookbooks and TV shows, such as “Mexico–One Plate at a Time.” He’ll help you out in the kitchen with his line of craft Mexican foods produced by ConAgra. But wherever and however you eat, he doesn’t want you to eat alone. When he thinks What the Future, chef Bayless is concerned about the future of the family dinner. But he’s excited by what he sees in our survey results.