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A Recipe for the Future of Food
Image courtesy of TBWA's Backslash
Proprietary research by TBWA’s Backslash reveals which Disruptive cultural forces have the potential to revolutionize the Future of Food
Sourcing ingredients (knowledge and insights) from 42 culture spotters across the globe, today Backslash — the cultural intelligence unit of TBWA\Worldwide — has cooked up the fourth report in its “Future of” series. More than an observational report, the “Future of Food” outlines clear opportunities for businesses to capture a greater share of the future.
TBWA uses a hybrid of strategy and data analysis to anticipate cultural change. It does this in part through its newest proprietary research tool, the Disruption Index. The Index processes survey responses from almost 8,000 participants in 18 countries to analyze Backslash’s key cultural shifts, and explore how they are influencing consumer awareness and behavior.
This report comes at a crucial time, as food is finding itself at the centre of today’s most urgent issues - ranging from climate change to social justice. This means that food is no longer being assessed as a standalone industry, but as a key ingredient in the push toward a brighter future.
Sandie Dilger, the Chief Strategy Officer at TBWA\London, said: “In the recent past, food has moved from a massive global business to a massive global issue. It touches all corners of our lives and culture - sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. So it’s vital that agencies and brands understand the full picture.
From the societal implications of how we consume and create food, to future-facing thinking about how food can positively affect our lives and the world we live in, this report covers the whole spectrum. From giving solutions to food shortages to outlining how the future of our planet may lay in the technology of food.”
Agathe Guerrier, Global Chief Strategy Officer of TBWA\Worldwide continues: “For a long time, progress in food meant convenience. But the result is that we’ve become disconnected from the natural processes through which ingredients become food — negatively impacting our health, the planet, and equal access to nutrition. It’s time for hands-on participation from brands and consumers.”
An easily digestible four-part report, the topics covered include:
Food RX: Increasingly blurred lines between food and pharma are changing not only what we eat, but why we eat.
While personalized nutrition and stress-reducing diets are elevating food’s role in medicine, a growing number of drugs are also allowing people to continue eating poorly.
As the relationship between Big Food and Big Pharma is exposed, individuals will look to businesses to fix the root of their health problems rather than sell them band-aid solutions.
DISRUPTION INDEX ANALYSIS: “Being able to make decisions about my health and body in my own best interest” was the #1 category in the Index when ranked for the sector — with 79% of respondents agreeing to its importance.
Food under review: The search for “good” food is now a search for ethical, sustainable, and inclusive food.
While impressive technique and perfect plating may have been the markers of a good meal in the past, critical social and environmental issues are now requiring us to judge food through a more responsible lens.
This heightened scrutiny will bring a rise in carbon-labeled products, tighter restrictions on beef, and a renewed appreciation for heritage dishes.
DISRUPTION INDEX ANALYSIS: “Spending money in a way that supports sustainability” was the third most significant driver for buying behavior in food and beverage, with the decision to prioritize social and environmental good over convenience just outside the top 5 trends across all categories.
Beyond consumption: As our food system gets an interactive redesign, passive consumers will become active participants.
After years of chasing convenience in the form of fully stocked supermarkets and ultra-fast meal delivery apps, we’re now realizing that a hands-off approach to food isn’t serving us.
In the search for stability, individuals are re-learning how to forage for food, grow their own produce, and even redistribute excess to people in need.
DISRUPTION INDEX ANALYSIS: Crisis hacking ranked #5 for the sector, with 60% of consumers saying they “recognize the importance of making lifestyle adjustments in response to resource scarcity,” while just under half say they are “actively changing their spending habits to reflect it.”
Tech’s Kitchen: Technology’s role in food is being elevated.
While longstanding cultural narratives have taught us to choose “all-natural” foods in favor of ones tainted by tech, an urgent need for innovation is now flipping the script.
As we chase a more sustainable future, our aversion to tech in the food world will fade, thus opening the door for greater acceptance of lab-made proteins, anti-waste innovations, and AI-discovered ingredients.
DISRUPTION INDEX ANALYSIS: The Disruption Index found that lab-made was not the most well-known of cultural shifts (just under half - 46% - of respondents agreeing to its significance). Among those early adopters though, it is growing in influence - making it one to watch for the future.
Renowned food journalist, author, and cook.Alicia Kennedy, who wrote the forward, added: “There is no one-size-fits-all solution for bringing the global food system in line with climate science, ecological limits, and cultural sensitivity. That’s why it’s so important to bring every category together into one report - where ideas can cross-pollinate. What is necessary for a better food future for all is that we build a coalition determined to deliver the abundance we need.”