Six trends that could shape the future of the food industry

Monday, 12 October, 2020

Six trends that could shape the future of the food industry

In a report, titled The Food Company of 2050, US-based Lux Research analysed start-up trends, social norms and corporate concerns to identify six megatrends shaping the food industry.

Report co-author Thomas Hayes said food companies will need to adjust and adapt to the six trends in order to truly thrive.

“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.”

Here are the six megatrends analysed in the study:

1. Developing food for health

Food needs to satisfy a lot more than appetites. Whether helping a consumer’s athletic intentions, cognitive performance or another aspect of health maintenance, foods and beverages are more frequently pushing beyond just claiming convenience, enjoyment and satiety.

Companies seeking to survive the coming decades will need to focus product development efforts on ‘better-for-you’ products and specific performance-related ingredients.

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 towards decarbonisation efforts and providing sustainable packaging.

2. Incorporating ubiquitous sensing

As sensors get smaller, cheaper and more powerful, their inclusion in all processes becomes imperative. They are given roles of monitoring food quality, food safety and even consumer health.

Keeping ahead of the curve in this regard will enable a more efficient and profitable business in the years to come, according to the research.

“The global pandemic is generating renewed urgency around virus sensing and self-monitoring and has also changed the consumption habits of consumers,” Hayes explained. “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.”

3. Increasing sustainability

Corporate statements and greenwashing will not suffice in the future. Truly doing more with less must be the aim — from packaging to production and distribution.

4. Adapting to new industry structures

Subscription and delivery options, personalisation, 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. Lux said it will also be important for food companies to reframe their identities as part of this adaptation to new structures to understand the role they can play in agricultural production and addressing consumer health needs.

5. Understanding future consumption

COVID-19 has accelerated some changes, but others were already underway to alter consumption patterns fundamentally.

Understanding the future needs of a product’s demographic or target market is key to ensuring longevity.

6. Mastering the role of the microbiome

From production methods to diagnostics, mastering this realm will be make or break for food companies, the report said.

The industry is only just beginning to scratch the surface on the insights into the function and composition of microbial communities.

For more information about the report, visit

Image credit: ©

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