Last year, we were invited by The Future Laboratory to support their annual Food & Drink Futures Forum, exploring the challenges and opportunities facing the food and drinks industry.
The event culminated with The Future Laboratory’s latest food and drinks macro-trend report – Uprooted Diets - looking at food security and the challenges facing developing markets.
Our work saw us envisage the brands and products likely to emerge between now and 2035, with our Head of Strategy Neil Bennett explaining our concepts through an immersive activation at the event.
FUTURE LAB x LOVE.
With global supply chains under threat from Brexit, climate change and food monopolies, food and drinks brands may need to examine the effects this has on consumer appetites.
To support the findings, The Future Laboratory brought in the team at LOVE. to conceptualise what the future of food may look like.
The findings have been plotted into an interactive timeline of events which can be found at the bottom of this article.
So, how will the climatological and political shifts affect the future of food supply chains?
Get ready to be taken on a journey into the future.
It's 2020. Welcome political sweets.
With the UK's impending departure from the EU, we're coming to realise the political effect this will have on the food we put on our tables.
According to 'Uprooted Diets', the UK is set to strike new trade deals with the US which raises concerns and fears of an obesity crisis thanks to unregulated, processed American foods.
To counteract threats of an obesity epidemic, sweets arriving from the US as part of the trade deal should be sold in unbranded packaging, taking cues from other high-risk products like tobacco.
All sweets will be positioned top-of-shelf in retail where illicit items belong.
Fast forward to 2023. Welcome Close Quarter vineyards.
After a period of challenging negotiations, the UK's access to treasured goods such as French Champagne and Italian Prosecco has become extremely difficult.
This means local brewers and distillers are shifting onus from provenance to locally crafted alternatives.
In terms of wine, this means celebrated terroirs are no longer restricted to the likes of Bordeaux or Napa Valley.
English wines are having their time, with production levels at an all-time high.
Warmer summers have contributed to British wines becoming just as respected as old-world vintages.
UK cities have responded by creating rooftop vineyards, with the wine produced supplying local restaurants and also its citizens.
One of the most popular vineyards is the Close Quarter, which not only has its own rooftop vineyard but a rooftop wine bar that sells locally grown and manufactured wines.
The scalability of this offering means rooftop wines can afford a reasonable price tag of £15.
It's 2026, and the time is ripe.
We're learning how to protect UK supply chains against political turmoil. But, there's a new risk on the horizon.
Failing biodiversity and agricultural monocultures are a ticking time bomb, affecting all aspects of food production.
99.9% of bananas traded globally are from the 'Cavendish' family. So, when a vicious disease hits Cavendish banana plantations across Australia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, what do we buy?
We conceptualised a campaign to warn the public to branch out and try different variants of the fruit using a kite-mark sticker on non-Cavendish bananas. We also added posters that would act as a call to arms to deter the reliance on food monocultures.
2029. Introducing 'Anarchist Pasta'.
Up until 2028, 60% of the world's energy intake came from just three crops: wheat, rice, and maize.
If there are dramatic changes in weather and the earth's temperate, this inevitably has detrimental effects on soil and its nutritional value. This is bad news for crops.
In a time where consumers are demanding healthier foods, manufacturers are investing in forgotten crops such as bambara groundnuts, moringa, and amaranth.
Ancient grain amaranth has been selected as an alternative to wheat-based flour and pasta due to its ability to withstand changing climate conditions.
Welcoming - "Anarchist Foods": a brand which offers modern, tasty substitutes to old staple crops. Products like Amaranth Spaghetti, Freekeh Fusilli, and Moringa flour encourage consumers to diversify their diets and help protect global food supplies.
2031 the year of the 'Positive Burger'.
A couple of years on and we're still seeing a fragility in our food security thanks to political unrest and climate change.
The Government has introduced regulations that mean businesses have to operate in a "climate-neutral" or "climate-positive" way.
Carbon-offsetting was once a niche strategy adopted by trendy urban operations. Now it's a mainstream necessity.
2031 sees McDonald's introducing the "Not Just Another Burger" initiative across all stores as part of an 'Earth Day'campaign.
The burger acts as a public facing commitment to the brand offsetting its carbon footprint, not only in relation to meat, but also the production and labour costs going into lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes.
The company has pledged to plant more trees than the carbon used for its employees to get to work and for customers to arrive at each restaurant.
2035. Designer Foods.
A lack of biodiversity and climate change are still causing problems, which means food manufacturers are looking towards gene-editing for answers to the supply chain crisis.
This means creating genetically enhanced fruit and vegetables which can thrive in any climate, and are resilient to diseases.
We've already seen in more recent years the rise in "free-from" and "zero-plastic" initiatives and aisles in retail. But in 2035, there are now "gene-edited" aisles too.
Products in these sections include a variety of engineered rice that produces 25-30% more grain without compromising its tolerance to tough climate conditions and genetically edited corn that produces more kernels under drought conditions.
Introducing FoodHD, the first gene-edited brand to be embraced by the wider public, thanks to considered messaging eradicating negative conversations around Crispr - a complex technology used to edit genes, which can help to treat disease, modify plants and animals and even create designer babies.
Check out the full interactive timeline here.
You can also find out more in a Q&A between LOVE. Head of Strategy, Neil Bennett and The Future Laboratory Art Director, Aleksandra Szymanska. Click here.