WGSN | The Future of Food & Drink 2030
Feeding a ballooning global population, combining new flavour sensations with health and wellness, engineering foods to combat climate change, and developing next-gen food and drink experiences are some of the challenges for 2030. We examine the key opportunities for the food and drink industry and show where you can play to win
Jennifer Creevy, Claire Lancaster & Andrea Bell
06.01.20 · 7 minutes
title
Tony Luong
Executive summary

As we live through the coronavirus pandemic and emerge into a transformed world, it is hard to imagine what 2030 will look like.

Despite moving into unchartered territory and new obstacles emerging, there are many opportunities for the food and drink industry. Here we examine the challenges and opportunities around five major areas and forecast the trends you can action today and build on tomorrow. The areas are:

  • Wellness: food will be prioritised as a key source of health and wellness, with advances for millennials, Gen Z and the ageing population
  • People : the population boom will lead to an explosion of new food and drink ideas to feed the globe and cater to the different generations
  • Planet: environmental concerns will be on another level and solutions such as engineered foods and new proteins will dominate
  • Places: the growth in megacities will see the emergence of mini ecosystems to ensure each city is self-sufficient
  • Experiences: immersive experiences, molecular gastronomy and AI advances will ensure the food and drink industry is as innovative as ever

The Future of Food & Drink 2030 has been put together by the global WGSN Insight and Food & Drink teams using our proprietary forecast methodology.

Solar Foods

Solar Foods’ Solein is a tasteless, powdered protein that is "100-times more climate-friendly" than other food, according to the brand

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Analysis

The food and drink industry is facing some of its toughest challenges. The coronavirus pandemic and threat of further pandemics is just the tip of the iceberg.

While the pandemic takes centre stage now, it has not lessened any of the problems we knew were there already and will grow deeper into 2030.

Challenges around health in areas of obesity and mental health continue to grow; environmental concerns are at near breaking point for our planet; and it is difficult to envisage how we will be able to feed our ballooning global population.

The food and drink industry is nothing if not resilient though and in the face of extreme obstacles will always rise to the situation. The industry is integral to solving many of the global challenges we face and by 2030 we will be able to see many of the fruits of its labour.

As we move into what we are calling Wellness 3.0, the next generation of nutraceuticals, probiotics, sugar reduction and personalised diets will operate in the health space. Soil-friendly agriculture and transparency tech are some of the innovations that will emerge to solve the sustainability problems of our planet. Food innovations from farm-free proteins to insects will feed a growing global population.

Meanwhile, mini eco-systems are set to ensure cities are self-sufficient and the idea of locally grown will evolve to mean local farms or labs. And as food is pleasure, technology will rise to the challenge and deliver immersive experiences, advances in AI and molecular gastronomy to delight and inspire food tastes.

Here we look at the areas of Wellness; People; Planet; Places; and Experiences and forecast the innovations that will dominate in 2030. We highlight the early adopter companies and examine the areas where you can take action now to drive future growth. 

Tree by Naked

At Tokyo’s Tree by Naked restaurant, an eight course meal described as a ‘gastronomic opera’ is delivered with a multi-sensory show

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Wellness 3.0

Challenges around obesity rates and an ageing population will dominate into 2030, but Wellness 3.0 will rise up to tackle some of the food industry’s toughest battles.

Around the world, the shift away from seasonal, mainly plant-based and fibre-rich food and towards diets that are high in starch, sugar, fats and salt has led to soaring global obesity rates. Worldwide, obesity has nearly tripled since 1975, and almost 800 million people are considered obese today. In 2030, food and drink brands will come under increased pressure to provide healthier, less processed and more sustainable food and drink. At the same time, they will need to meet the needs of an ageing Western population and emerging mental health concerns.

Challenges: the prioritisation of food as a key source of health and wellness will be even more prevalent in 2030 as rates of obesity soar, the Western world ages and households headed by health-conscious Gen Z and Millennials make the idea of food as medicine mainstream.

Opportunities: brands will need to create new products that meet consumers’ evolving wellness expectations, from cutting down on sugars and bad fat to offering solutions that provide holistic, mind-body wellness and products that balance taste and nutrition. Scientific advancements, from clean label sugars and healthier animal-free fats, to medical-grade probiotics that tackle stress, anxiety and disease, will allow food and drink brands to frame themselves as key players in the quest for health and wellness.

Trends: Healthier Fats & Sugar Reduction, Next-Gen Neutricuticals, Probiotics go mass, Personalised Diets

Ones to watch: Brightseed, Ganeden, Pendulum, Cubiq Foods, Stem! Sugar, Miraculex, DayTwo

 

Zachary Zavislak

The idea of food-as-medicine will be mainstream in 2030

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Healthier fats and sugar reduction

Reducing 'bad' fats and sugar from diets has long been a goal of health-conscious eaters, but biotech products will enable consumers to meet these goals readily in 2030.

While there are many alternatives today for sugary drinks, sweeteners cannot replicate the texture needed for solid foods such as cakes. Stem! Sugar is an early stage biotech startup creating a compound extracted from plants that has a molecular structure similar to sugar, giving it a similar texture and the ability to caramelise and crystalise in the same way. The company is aiming to enter the baking market first, using its product in foods such as low-sugar biscuits/cookies. 

Meanwhile, JuiceInnov8 is looking to improve the health of juice products, promising to reduce at least 30% of sugar content from every glass of juice by enabling producers to customise the range of natural sugar reduction. California biotech Miraculex uses plant and fermentation technology derived from exotic fruits and natural proteins to make food sweet without sugar or negative health impacts.

With the goal of creating healthier fats, Spanish startup Cubiq Foods is working on a process to make animal fat, commonly used to create processed foods, without the animal. The company’s fats could be tailored to contain more essential fats such as Omega 3, which can protect from cardiovascular disease.

Brands won’t be talking about reduced fat or sugar in 2030, they will be offering it as standard.

Evan Hein

Diets high in starch, sugar, fats and salt has led to soaring global obesity rates

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Next-gen nutriceuticals

Functional foods are already a key growth area and nutriceuticals will be a staple item on the grocery list by 2030. 

Nutriceuticals – nutritional pharmaceuticals – is food and drink that has been molecularly modified or infused with specific micronutrients to be clinically proven to be more nutritious for a specific health outcome.

San Francisco-based biotech Brightseed uses AI to scan decades of biomedical research to find the most useful and beneficial phytonutrients from plants and links them to health targets. This allows brands to identify, isolate and insert them into their food and drink products.

In late 2020 Brightseed’s first product will be a micronutrient found in a common spice (the company won’t say which) that boosts the liver and helps the body metabolise fat, supporting a healthy metabolism. The brand is actively researching natural plant compounds that address health concerns related to immunity, cognition and digestion. One of its early customers is food giant Danone.

Such innovations will be prevalent by 2030 but smart brands are allocating current R+D budget to stay ahead of this future growth opportunity. 

Brightseed

Brightseed uses AI to find the most useful and beneficial phytonutrients from plants and links them to specific health targets

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Probiotics go mass

There is growing scientific and commercial interest around the relationship between our gut microbiota and physical and mental health, and the role of prebiotics and probiotics in improving it.

Probiotic food and drink products tailored to an individual’s microbiome to meet specific health and wellness needs, a proliferation of medical-grade probiotics and probiotic mood foods that promise to change gut bacteria to modify mental state will be mainstream by 2030.

Leading the space are players such as Ganeden. While probiotics today largely require refrigeration, GanedenBC30 is a natural probiotic ingredient that can be added to shelf-stable foods and dietary supplements. Unlike vegetative strains of probiotic, which are more fragile, GanedenBC30 can survive most processing conditions and the path to the gut – opening opportunities for brands to create wide ranges of probiotic products including snacks, dips, spreads, baked goods, gummies, drinks and more.

Other innovators are exploring medical-grade probiotics. Pendulum’s Glucose Control supplements are the first medical probiotics designed to help people with Type 2 Diabetes manage healthy A1C levels and blood sugar spikes, while Renaissance Bioscience uses whole organism and gene-targeted engineering to create clean-label, immune-promoting dietary supplement products such as yeast beta-glucan.

Probiotics won’t just be for adults. Sugarlogix is using yeast fermentation technology to create prebiotic HMOs to create a more nutritious baby formula that improves infants’ gut health from day one.

Pendulum

Pendulum’s Glucose Control supplements have targeted strains of probiotics and a prebiotic that help restore the body's natural ability to metabolise fibre in order to help manage blood sugar

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