LONDON, United Kingdom — British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has released a new report exploring what, when and how consumers will be eating in 2025, 2050 and 150 years time, and it predicts wellness will play a pivotal role.
The Future of Food Report, commissioned by Sainsbury’s futurologists Department 22, leading food historian Dr Polly Russell and plant scientist James Wong, outlines which emerging trends have the potential to change the way the planet produces food, and what that might mean for consumers.
“We know that we have a role to play in expanding the nation’s diets –– seen recently with our introduction of plant-based ranges –– as the current foods we eat aren’t sustainable for a growing global population that will increase to 9 billion in 30 years, and over 11 billion in the next 150 years,” commented Claire Hughes, Head of Quality and Innovation, Sainsbury’s.
“By 2169, working alongside our suppliers and producers, we predict to have introduced foods like jellyfish and patch dinners to the British diet that are not even fathomable today.”
In Five Years…..
By 2025, the report argues that more and more health professionals will start to view food as a form of medicine and prescribe dietary advice as a preventative health measure.
In particular, biofortified foods, which involve a process of enhancing a crop’s micronutrient content, over and above that of the standard crop, could become commonplace, says the report. Chestnut Super Mushrooms – which are boosted with Vitamin D and B12 – are already on the shelves of Sainsbury’s, while The Happy Egg Co’s vitamin D-rich eggs can be found in most supermarket chains across the UK.
However, over the next five years, the grocer believes that biofortified foods such as these will multiply in number, as well as becoming more widely recognised as a tool used to proactively prevent chronic diseases.
Elsewhere, in response to eco-anxiety, health concerns and awareness of animal welfare, Sainsbury’s argues that it’s likely a quarter of all British people will be vegetarian by 2025 (up from one in eight Britons today) and almost half will identify as flexitarians.
With that in mind, it argues that innovation within the plant-based realm will remain rife, with ingredients such as banana blossom replacing cod, algae milk edging out nut-milk alternatives and seaweed caviar making an appearance.
In Thirty Years…..
Fast-forward another thirty years to 2050 and according to Sainsbury’s, the grocer could be selling home lab-grown meat kits which consumers will be able to pick up from its ‘lab-grown’ aisle.
Driven again by concerns around sustainability and the environmental impact of food consumption, lab-grown meat has already started to emerge as an innovative solution, with companies such as The Future Meat company and Mosa Meats already developing cellular meat. However, over the coming years, as more innovations come to market, the key will be to democratise such products and make them more appealing to consumers.
Investors including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and agriculture giant Cargill are already backing the trend, which, if successful could revolutionise the food and agriculture industry.
In 2050, the report also points to a world where consumers will be able to purchase products and know exactly where they were planted, grown and picked, as well as their individual taste profile.
“New technological systems, such as blockchain, and a rising need for more personalised information could soon allow for ‘ultra-customisation’ for consumers,” states the report. “Soon we may well be selecting mangoes at the exact desired stage of ripeness or even 3D printed snacks according to our exact spice tolerance.”
In One Hundred & Fifty Years…..
By 2169, however, personal microchip implants could become the norm, argues the report.
Developed to store and analyse all the genetic, health and situational data recorded from individuals’ bodies, these implants could be used to tell people what they should be eating and drinking based on their personal needs.
Retailers such as Sainsbury’s could play a critical role, says the report — arranging automatic drone deliveries of the required food item or vitamin patch as soon as energy or nutrient levels dip.
And thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, the option to consume all the nutrients and vitamins we need through a patch or pill, could also become a reality.
“Throughout history, food trends have been determined by a complex range of economic, political, social and technological factors,” commented Dr Polly Russell, Food Historian.
“Although in many ways how we shop, eat and cook looks radically different from 150 years ago, there are some things which will never change – food has always been an important part in bringing people together. So, even if we end up relying on patch or pill dinners for our physical health by 2169, food will still play a key part in our emotional, social and psychological wellbeing.”