Today’s consumer markets view their food choices with a more critical eye than ever before, and this pressure is placing higher expectations on food manufacturers, not only in terms of how consumer food is made but also where it’s made, where it’s sourced, and how it’s prepared. made. sent.
To address these topics and more, investors, scientists, and food makers recently gathered at the Future of Food Tech Summit in New York City to discuss what’s behind the trends in food innovation and investment. Of all the topics discussed at the Summit, these five key points stood out the most.
Personalization is key
From meal delivery services that adapt meals to dietary needs to companies that create products tailor-made to individual health, there isn’t any one-size-fits-all diet. In fact, today’s consumers are starting to move towards personalization, which in turn is changing the way people shop. “The food industry is getting closer to the consumer,” said Raven Kropf, director of new customers in Cargill’s protein business.
Ethical production issues
Consumers are continually attempting to find products that align with their values and are produced in a responsible manner. The same goes for investors looking to take part in the food industry. In fact, many investors today choose projects based on ideology and a drive towards ethical consumption of food.
There is increasing interest in alternative proteins
A burger made completely from lab-grown meat and sushi created from eggplant are just two of the innovations showcased at the summit. “There is a lot of excitement around alternative protein sources, but consumer acceptance is key,” said Dominique Harris, business development advisor for Cargill’s protein business. “We want to give consumers what they want, and in protein that means offering a number of choices. It does not must be either/or.”
Consumers want to know where their food is coming from
Imagine having the ability to trace any food product back to the field or animal it came from. That’s the potential promise of blockchain technology, which could primarily create a digital traceability system for food. From supply chain management to food safety, the potential of this technology is nearly limitless.
Food start-ups are on the rise
As more and more entrepreneurs are getting into the food business, they’re attempting to find investors of every kind. Likewise, traditional consumer packaged goods companies and ingredients suppliers are watching newcomers for opportunities to connect. “I would encourage startups to seek strategic partners in the food industry,” said Chris Mallett, corporate vice president of research and development at Cargill. “Together we can create and maintain a healthy ecosystem for innovation in the industry.”
These five trends hit 2017. As the calendar rolls into 2018, it is going to be interesting to see what the future holds for food.