Changes in the food system

Changes in the food system

The experts of the Future Trends Forum of the Bankinter Innovation Foundation detect the main changes that will occur in the Food System in the next 10 years

The greatest changes Bankinter Innovation Foundation’s Future Trends Forum experts foresee to the food system in the next ten years will be, ranked by impact factor, the following:

  • Climate change pressure: It will determine what can be grown and where. It will accelerate the need to reduce food waste or to reuse it with other nutritional properties. Food quality will be affected, and we will try to be more energy-efficient across the supply chain.
  • Automation of the food production chain: High impact on the labor market.
  • Exponential use of cutting-edge technologies: New technologies such as Cloud Computing, IoT, Blockchain and Artificial intelligence will become widespread thanks to digitalization. These technologies will offer more transparency, therefore allowing us to optimize production, reduce food waste and redesign business models.
  • Food will be the preventive medicine of the future: We will observe an increase in demand for healthy food, and personalized nutrition will be a driving force. Consumers will look for food with high nutritional value that match their living status in order to live more years or to prevent and treat chronic diseases.
  • Food quality linked to consumers’ socioeconomic status: High-income earners will have personalized nutrition and diets based on their genetics; low-income earners will consume non-personalized food of worse nutritional value. In some regions of the world, we expect to see a reduction in animal meat consumption, while in others the demand for it is expected to increase.
  • Cultivated animal proteins and affordable, accessible 3D-printed food: This alternative must be democratized by offering consumers new proteins at prices that they can afford; also, by giving another chance to underused food through 3D-printed recipes, for instance.
  • Millennials that engage in change. We will observe a global change in the way in which different generations think about food. By 2030, people over the age of 50 will be the largest consumer demographic and will have the highest purchasing power. FTF experts believe that these generations might not follow the foodie movement boosted by millennials. Millennials are concerned with their personal health and the planet’s well-being and therefore are conscious consumers of organic, gluten-free, cruelty-free products.
  • From the field to your table, directly to the consumer. Will people keep cooking? Technologies such as robotics or IoT will revolutionize the food industry and will facilitate food’s distribution and storage processes. They will change the way in which food reaches the end consumer. Additionally, digital platforms will favor direct interaction between small producers and consumers.

The proper initiatives to face changes

The main initiatives that could be implemented can be classified in four large groups:

  • Proper nutrition at a global level.
  • Impact of the food system on health.
  • Food sustainability.
  • Foodtech solutions.

1. Proper nutrition at a global level

Climate change will have great impact on food supply, as well as on the increasingly unequal access to it. We have less arable land; therefore, the food supply is more unstable.

In order to address these issues, we need investment in the following areas:

  • Food technologies (foodtech): they can be more efficient because they do not depend on land so much.
  • More resilient crops: use of new species that can withstand weather conditions determined by climate change.
  • Smart or 4.0 agriculture: it aims to reduce and enhance the use of natural resources by applying information technologies in a practical way.

Additionally, experts recommend promoting local supply chain initiatives and culinary education to depend less on the supply chain.

2. Impact of the food system on health

We need to foster public policies that promote heathy food consumption and discourage processed food high in saturated fat and sugar; it causes obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Another recommendation is to launch awareness-raising campaigns, portraying those countries that have been identified as the healthiest on the planet.

Finally, we urge governments to promote incentives and economic policies that improve food quality.

3. Food sustainability

It is essential to educate consumers and inform them properly, so that they become discerning consumers who can tell information from advertising.

Additionally, the power of large multinationals should be decentralized through technology (drones, robotics, smart irrigation, big data, etc.) and R+D. The idea is to provide greater opportunities for small agricultural, livestock, fishing and aquaculture producers with digital tools.

Regarding Public Administrations and international organizations, we need policies, regulations and legislations that change the paradigm for farmers: from a yield per hectare to a profit per hectare approach. We need to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible and protect biodiversity.

Experts also highlight the need to boost and promote agroforestry and fintech in order to develop innovative business models that allow us to grow alternative, more sustainable crops.

4. Foodtech solutions

We must promote and encourage foodtech solutions across all processes in the food supply chain, as long as they ensure:

  • Greater transparency
  • Production that is optimized to meet demand
  • Information shared among all players involved
  • Food that fosters biodiversity and reduces the carbon footprint
  • Healthier food
  • Greater resilience of those people handling raw materials (vegetable and livestock farmers, etc.)

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