Lux Research identified six megatrends shaping the food industry in their recent report, “The Food Company of 2050." In the report, Lux outlines what food companies must do to survive and thrive over the next 30 years.
The six megatrends shaping the food industry:
- food for health,
- increasing sustainability,
- incorporating ubiquitous sensing,
- mastering the role of the microbiome,
- adapting to new industry structures, and
- understanding the future of consumption habits
“Food companies will need to adjust and adapt to the six trends in order to truly thrive,” said Thomas Hayes, Lux Research analyst and report co-author. “Consumers are increasingly demanding, aligning spending habits with health and sustainability. Food companies will need to take some big risks to truly thrive and stay competitive in the long run.”
People are demanding more than convenience and enjoyment in their food choices, focusing more on increasing cognitive function, athletic performance, and the overall health of both themselves and the environment. Lux predicts that nearly all products sold will pivot to make health-related claims, with the aim of reducing dependence on medical intervention. Products will also need to pivot to be more sustainable in terms of reducing food waste, working toward decarbonization efforts, and providing sustainable packaging.
Incorporating ubiquitous sensing is a megatrend more food companies are embracing as sensors become smaller, cheaper, and more capable. They are given roles of monitoring food quality, food safety, and even consumer health. “The global pandemic is generating renewed urgency around virus sensing and self-monitoring and has also changed the consumption habits of consumers,” Hayes said. “Understanding how consumption is changing, including the shift to fresh foods and plant-based proteins, and how allergens are impacting people’s lives, will be key to future success.”
Lastly, food companies will need to adapt to new industry structures. Subscription and delivery options, personalization, food safety and traceability, and the incorporation of digital tools to drive faster, cheaper food innovation will all be key for major food companies to compete with their smaller, more agile competitors.