The future of our food

On the occasion of ANUGA 2011, the largest Food & Beverage trade fair in the world, the Federal Association of German Retail Grocery Trade (BVL) and the fair trade in Cologne initiated a scenario project “Zukunft unserer Lebensmittel” (“Future of our food”) together with ScMI. A team of professionals dealt with future developments beyond the value-added chain of the food industry. Additionally, a closer look was taken into the factors that significantly affect the future of food. Seven different scenarios were determined which have different probabilities of occurrence depending on the development of the general conditions:

Regionalization as a global solution (scenario 1A)
In this first sustainability scenario the connection of the domestic products and widespread innovations in technologies and processes becomes a driver of a regionalized world.
Renunciation of the industrial refinement (scenario 1B)
In this second sustainability scenario changing customer needs leads to a retreat to regionalism and eventually to an intensification of the global supply situation with the creation of further conflicts.
Comfortable and convenient (scenario 2)
Convenience products make it possible to maintain traditional eating habits with reduced cooking time – with preparation taking a backseat. This creates more free time for other activities whilst at the same time offering options for solving global nutritional problems.
Limitless variety (scenario 3)
In this scenario people strongly orient themselves to individual values – with different food at different times.
Renaissance of self-supply (scenario 4)
Here there is a split in society in-which many social processes economize with the consequence being a rise in the cost-driven industry and a massive loss of confidence by the people. This leads to a significant return to artisanal preparation forms.
Triumph of individual fast food (scenario 5)
In this future the traditional diet rhythm deteriorates more and more eventually orienting people towards the diverse range of fast food as a cost-effective alternative.
Standardized public utilities (scenario 6)
Here globalization comes to a gradual halt with the consequence being reduced prosperity and significant supply shortages. Along with the intensification of our everyday working life, new catering structures develop to meet this new demand.



Development and risk pathways for food

With the help of the definitions and the emphasis on various key factors three expected development paths are described.

  • Sustainability: The sustainability orientation of consumers will increase, meaning that social criteria as well as environmental and health aspects will play a greater role in the selection of products.
  • Regionalization: desire for regional products will intensify.
  • Convenience: there will be numerous new convenience products ensuring that the consumer can maintain their traditional eating behavior.

In addition to the three expected development paths, two risk paths can be identified. On the one hand the decrease of security and on the other hand global supply shortages. You can download the German reports here. For further information regarding the methodology used and if you are interested in scenario studies, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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