Five Food and Nutrition Trends for the Next Decade

While everyone is focusing on food trends for 2010 (see here and here), we took a riskier guess into trends for the next decade. We could be totally wrong, come back in December 2019 and let us know.

* More functional foods - the trend is clear, people want to eat the same tasty and cheap food, spend less time preparing it, but get a bigger nutritional bang for every dollar spent and calorie consumed. More scientific discoveries of micronutrients will create new marketing buzzwords, just like the passing decade did (how many of us knew about omega-3 in 1999?). Nanotechnology will also play a role in modifying foods we know into something “healthier for us”, see example here.

* More information – As the Internet reaches the palm of our hands (iphone, blackberry, etc..) we consumers will be able to make better choices when selecting our foods. Comparing prices, nutrition, learning new recipes, and even tracking down which farm that tomato was grown on are all becoming a reality now .

* Genetically modified food – Already today a vast majority of the corn and soy in the US is genetically modified, and it seems like all the activism in the world is not going to stop other crops. Without getting into the crossfire of the debate here, expect more developments and more pressure by companies like Monsanto on agriculture departments across the globe to start planting GMOs.

* Sustainable Food - hand in hand with the monoculture crops and GMOs, a growing number of people will seek a sustainable, or close to it, approach to feeding themselves. Important as it may be, only a small part of the population will be able to partake in this noble lifestyle. The modern capitalistic world does not allow for large systems of small independent farms – not economically efficient, meaning high price for food – meaning many will continue to opt for cheaper “conventional” food. Also – to be truly sustainable and peruse local food, many people in Europe and the US would need to give up bananas, tomatoes in the winter, coffee, and many other comforts we can’t imagine living without. Too difficult. Please – prove me wrong!

* More profits for the big food companies – No matter what trends and prophesies will fulfill themselves, companies will continue to eek out monster profits. if you think healthier less-bad choices by consumers mean less profit for the big food manufacturers, you are wrong. Manufacturers charge a premium for health, even just a health halo. Slap the words “Natural” “Health”, and others on product packages, and you can charge 10, 20, and even 50 percent more for basically the same product. If you think organic foods reduced the profits of big companies, just look at who owns all the big organic brands. That’s right, the big conventional food companies.

What do you think?

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  • Dr. Susan Rubin

    Spoiler alert!
    Here’s the trend that most of the conventional food world is overlooking.
    The triple whammy of peak oil + climate change + economic instability will require us to create local food sheds. The party that was brought to us all by cheap fossil fuels is coming to an end.

    2010 is the year to transform that backyard into a garden and get involved with CSAs and community gardens. I hate to sound like Debbie Downer here, but our future depends on this.

  • Philip

    There is an interesting article here
    on how researchers in Australia tried to devise, using genetic engineering a contraceptive virus for mice and instead created a version of mousepox that was incredibly lethal

  • The Food Pyramid

    I think there will be more push for healthy eating habits. The USDA is revising the dietary guidelines and they will be published later this year. I am not sure the food pyramid will change but it might look sligthly different.