Insights into the possible future of food

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 15th April 2009

By 2022 we will source and eat our food in ways radically different from today, according to a new report from the UK-based Food Ethics Council.

Although the future is unpredictable, the scenarios highlight some of the challenges consumers, business and governments may face in the next decade. An insight into emerging and possible future trends, they can help us make the right choices to ensure our future food is good for people and the planet.

Headlines from the future, in the different scenarios, might include, according to the Food Ethics Council:
* Pass the VatBeefTM noodles: in vitro meat eases food supply worries.
The latest technologies, including in-vitro meat, are brought to bear on growing problems of nutrition and hunger. Convenience trumps quality.

* Got a health problem? There’s a meal to cure it.
Efficiently produced food to be tailored to individual needs as nutraceutical food goes to new levels.

* Forget fast cars, gourmet bragging is the new status symbol.
Automatic ordering and doorstep delivery take the drudge out of shopping, as a new generation of ‘foodie’ consumers strut their gourmet credentials on social networking websites.

* £5/litre petrol fuels drive for home-grown food
Food production flourishes in urban areas as tight budgets and resources shrink our food supply chains and horizons. Global food companies consequently look to more lucrative international markets.

Dr Tom MacMillan, Executive Director of the Food Ethics Council, upon announcing the launch of a toolkit designed to ‘future proof’ company policies and products, said that planning for the future had never been more critical.

“We can’t predict the future at the best of times, yet the need to plan for a sustainable and ethical food system has never been greater,” he advised. “We’re already seeing how global economic turmoil and seismic shifts in power between the East and West could directly affect on what ends up on our plates.”

“The future will hit us sooner than we think and events experts predicted for decade’s time have happened already. The frameworks in this report highlight a wide number of plausible outcomes, both good and bad, and explore how businesses and policies can evolve to address them.”

To read the full UK report please click here.