By food futurist, Tony Hunter
We can never predict “the” future, but we need to have some way to predict the most likely future, simply so we can take actions in the present.
To achieve this, futurists talk about “signals of change” as indicators of the direction that the future is taking. Put simply, a signal of change is an event encountered that provides insight or evidence that sheds light on a potential future. In the future of food we’re seeing these signals almost daily and I’ve previously talked about some of the new technologies driving these signals. The question is, are we seeing signals that it is these particular new technologies that are driving the future of food? Is the TECHXponential Future of Food I outlined last month being validated? I’ll review a few examples of recent signals to see what they tell us.
- Cultivated meat – In June 2021 I discussed cultivated meat and wondered which country would be next to approve the products? Looks like it’ll be Qatar, with EAT JUST announcing this month that that’s where they’ll build a cultivated meat manufacturing facility. Will cultivated meat challenge conventional meat?
- Plant Molecular Farming (PMF) – In February 2021 I covered PMF as a source of animal proteins. In July this year Nobell Foods raised USD75 million, USD100 million to date, to grow casein in soy plants to make cheese. Also, Moolec Science have announced that they’ll grow oats with whey protein for alternative milk and wheat with egg protein for bakery products.
- Synthetic Biology – In October 2020 I discussed synthetic biology and how it would eat the world. In July 2021 Eden Brew was established to make casein, backed by dairy co-operative Norco.
These signals continue to reinforce the vulnerability of animal agriculture, particularly the dairy industry, to new technologies.
The above are only a very small sample of the signals of change we’re seeing in the food industry, reinforcing that we’re in an era of rapid technological change. And as we know, technology changes exponentially, so the change will never be slower than it is today. Technology, moving exponentially, sounds TECHXponential to me.
Tony Hunter is a global futurist, food scientist, speaker and foresight strategy consultant. He consults and speaks globally, using his distinctive combination of scientific qualifications, business experience and detailed understanding of exponential food technologies to deliver a unique perspective on the future of food.