The future of food?

imgresI had coffee the other day with a woman who I have known now for a few years.  She started out in food and moved into film production with an angle on food.  It is really cool to see where she has gone with her career.

Over the years we have talked about the future and trends.  What makes sense now for what is coming around the corner.  She asked me what did I think the future of food was.  I wrote a little bit about where technology could and should take us in the management of the food chain last week for Food-Tech Connect.  I have been pondering about this ever since.

There will definitely be more successful fast food casual restaurants pulling out of the gate.  I am personally over the family style share everything at restaurants.  Also the stores that carry the pre-made salads that all begin to taste the same after awhile I am over too.  I feel like food is at a lull in regards to restaurants.  When Chang and Bloomfield came on the scene it was the beginning of a new generation of chefs and I am not seeing that these days.  Although my daughter pointed out to me that Danny Bowien certainly made his mark.  Great new people who are innovative but not disrupting.  Next round in new flavors perhaps more Indian seasonings or just getting back to the classics.

The next new shifts in food should be in the back end.  Technology changes from reservations to event bookings.  Fixing the supply chain.  Running more efficient restaurants by using better tools.  Finding ways to have less waste with technology because you will have better understandings of your inventory.  Helping large chain grocery stores become more efficient particularly after they have seen start-ups take over their marketshare.  They need to be more nimble to remain relevant in the future.

There is also indoor farming is just starting to explode on the roofs of buildings in inner cities.  The carbon food print goes down and indoor farming has more controls and with that higher margins.  Companies are coming out with purely organic nutrients to use for these facilities that are 100% recycled.  This area is just starting to scratch the surface as our climate shifts.

Lots of ecommerce products too from gifts that range the gamut from indie food products to liquor to monthly concepts to corporate gifting.  These have been around for a few years but the shifts are heating up because the old school products are on the down swing.

Consumer products are exploding.  New flavor profiles, new brands and certainly a different ingredient mixture.  More organic, more gluten-free, more non-GMO, etc.  In ten years we will see very different products on the shelf than we do today.  Those shelves are going to have to become more innovative too.

What we eat and where it comes from is driving the over all shift in why food is, as Craig Kanarick, the founder of Mouth says, is the new black.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Sofia Papastamelos

    This is all so exciting! It’s amazing what types of food products are entering the market. I remember being in elementary school and having a classmate who was gluten intolerant. Gluten free? What was that? Now I have young family members that age and they are watching Food Network everyday and being exposed to all kinds of products and cuisines.I like your point about the next few shifts coming from technology. Growing up around my family’s restaurant, it’s clear that there are so many opportunities to improve business. Processes that have been done the same way for years, many times without the use of any technology, can be transformed and made so much more efficient.

  2. LE

    Discovery is my big issue.I recently traveled to a city with 900 restaurants to choose from (per opentable) and it simply took to long [1] to figure out where I would like to eat given the parameters that matter to me and my wife. For example I am heavy into atmosphere and venue for example as opposed to food creativity. In one restaurant the noise from kids was so much that we left to go elsewhere. [2] [3][1] Had 6 meal days to plan for.[2] Remember when people didn’t take kids out for dinner? (And if they did they behaved and kept them quiet.) Growing up it was 1 or 2 times per year.[3] Restaurants need to give serious thought to the use of hard surfaces that increase noise level from loud voices and/or somewhat imbibed patrons (one of my hot buttons)

  3. pointsnfigures

    Yup. Would also be nice if the federal government got out of the way. It’s curbing innovation, and it is getting in the way of mom and pop entrepreneurs. http://www.farmtoconsumer.o

  4. Laura Yecies

    A belated comment here (crazy week). I couldn’t agree more about the next new shifts needing to be in the back end. Restaurant food sourcing from vendors is a $200B+ marketplace that in the dark ages in terms of automation. I’m excited about what is doing in the space as well as a couple of others. Non-chain restaurants have always been late adopters of tech so it’s a tough market to penetrate but the rewards to the ones who crack the code can be enormous.

    1. Gotham Gal

      interesting company.