Predicting the future is a tricky business. But Mintel gives it a go in Global Food and Drink Trends 2030. The report looks at three factors the company believes will shape global food, drink, and foodservice over the next 10 years: Change, Incorporated; Smart Diets; and High-Tech Harvests.

Change, Incorporated

Successful companies will be ones that enhance the health of both people and the planet. Businesses will need to take an activist approach as consumers demand action and look for companies to lead change on environmental issues, ethical business practices, public health, and other important causes. Consumers will want to know how companies make a difference. 

Mintel predicts brands will start to give priority to people and the planet over profits, increasing consumer loyalty as they do so. More food, drink, and foodservice companies will work together or with philanthropic organizations and governments to help create change.

Also, consumers will continue to make plants a higher priority in their diets, for both their personal and the planet’s health. Occasional eating of animal products will emphasize ethically raised animal and dairy protein. As consumers become more mindful about their purchases and behaviors, they will support companies that facilitate conscious consumption.

Smart diets

Companies will need to join the personalization revolution as technology gives consumers the ability to develop hyper-individualized paths to physical and mental health. Mintel believes people will increasingly use the results of data collection and biological tests to change their diets and lifestyles to improve their brain health, states of mind, and moods.

The opportunity is for food brands to develop personalized recipes, custom diet plans, and individualized products. Thus, companies will need to develop more flexible, agile production systems.

High-tech harvests

Despite current consumer wariness about technology in food production, Mintel believes trust in food science and technology will increase as they become crucial to save the food supply. “Scientific and technological innovations that offer fresh, trustworthy food will serve as ambassadors to start to sway consumer opinion away from fear,” states the report.

However, the industry must play a role in helping tech gain acceptance. Transparency is essential. Companies must build trust through avenues such as storytelling and championing the people behind the food—whether its grown in a laboratory or a field.

For lab-grown food products, the report suggests the food and drink industry can learn from other industries (such as lab-grown diamonds) where the products have been positioned as more ethical, cost-effective, and efficient than naturally sourced options.

A few other predictions about future harvests:

  • Vertical farms, indoor hydroponic systems, robotic-harvested farms, and other high-tech innovations in agriculture will improve the supply of fresh local fruits, vegetables, grains, and herbs.
  • Consumers will take a more vested interest in agriculture and have more opportunity to experience and enjoy its benefits as alternative agriculture approaches are invented and replicated around the world.
  • Scientific research and technological innovations will identify ways to grow essential ingredients in water-insecure areas and make plants more resilient to extreme weather patterns.

Mintel notes these future-focused insights are rooted in the company’s Trends Drivers: wellbeing, surroundings, technology, rights, value, identity, and experiences. And the predictions assume two things will never change: people will always want to enjoy their food, and price will always be a top buying consideration.