The Future of Food and Drink

Last week, we attended the Food and Drink Futures 2021 event organised by The Future Laboratory. Hosted by co-found, Chris Sanderson, and foresight editor, Kathryn Bishop, the online conference provided us with a lot of food for thought.

Elephants Can’t Jump have always been invested in food and drink – with many of our top clients hailing from this sector – and we aim to look forward into the future of the industry on a daily basis. This means seeking out the next big trends and understanding if and how they fit into our clients’ visions. There were some learnings that have definitely changed our perspectives and will help to inform many of the future projects we do for clients

3 key learnings from Food and Drink Futures 2021:

Culture and heritage are key in Food and Drink.

The world’s societies are becoming more and more inclusive. With that shift, food brands and initiatives are turning to culture and heritage to build a rapport with their consumers.

The food we eat all has a history, be it discovered or concocted, no raw ingredient or dish has ever just appeared without humans making the decision to pick it, grow it and cook it. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the origins of our food. And when exploring foods from different cultures it is necessary to appreciate the culture from which it comes. As a result, food brands looking to appeal to a multi-cultural audience need to make sure they are accurate and authentic, not only in their products, but how they market them.

Community and food come hand in hand.

From dinner parties to picnics, there are a lot of social activities that involve food. But it is not just the eating portion that evokes togetherness. The farming of raw ingredients, harvesting crops and cooking and food prep can all be social activities if we let them be.

The Food and Drink Futures report predicts that, by 2030, we will see a growth in cultivation spaces in our towns and cities. These sites will become a haven for ‘connection, education and shared meals in self-sustaining locales’. We, at Elephants, are inclined to agree. A more local, collective attitude to food may be a part of the answer to the fragile supply chain issues we have seen creep up on us during the pandemic.

The future of food is subject to climate change in more ways than we can imagine.

A significant focus during the conference was the impact of climate change on Food and Drink across the world. With COP26 currently in full swing, it is evident we need to make many changes to protect our planet but also the future of food.

With a number of plants facing extinction and the increasingly loss of biodiversity across the globe, we may well see flavours and ingredients, that we have grown up with, vanish. From bumblebees to the common banana, we are a threat of losing them to climate change. The Food Laboratory even suggest that the end of the decade may bring ‘Flavour Museums’ to reality to pay homage to the foods and tastes left extinct. A terrifying thought.

Ultimately, we are sure to see many changes in the years to come. We are thankful to The Future Laboratory for getting us thinking about the steps we can take to make sure as many of these changes will be positive ones.

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