Conference keynote speaker Mike Walsh examined the challenges and realities facing the global food industry in the future at IFT Food Expo in Chicago.
Food & 3-D Printing:
“The future isn’t simply an upgrade on the present — it is an invitation to think in an entirely different way,” says Walsh.
That new way can take the forms such as the Foodini, a 3-D food printer from Natural Machines. To the future generation, even food will be a digital product, Walsh says.
Food & iPhone:
This trend started showing up after the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, which Walsh argues was a major turning point.
As a result, “There’s a new subculture of food styling,” Walsh points out.
And having smartphones always at the ready during meals has even affected restaurant sales.
After examining metadata, one restaurant realized that the average meal lasted 1 hour in 2004 — and stretched to two hours by 2014. Customers were taking pictures of their food for so long that they were sending food back to be reheated, therefore ordering less overall.
“How do you innovate when regulators want you to stop and ask permission?” Walsh challenged the audience.
Given the fear behind “editing” produce and living organisms, consumers may want such products to be classified as GMOs in the future.
Controversy also surrounds Soylent, the odorless, colorless drink which contains enough calories and vitamins to meet daily needs.
The project, started by Robert Rhinehart, has already made $20 million. Walsh believes that some consumers have decision fatigue — and that the idea of drinking Soylent rather than cooking can be a cheap, attractive, even stylish way to dine.
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Mike Walsh, futurist speaker, author of Futuretainment and CEO of innovation research agency Tomorrow, helps to prepare business leaders for what’s next.
Everything is changing. All the traditional industries we grew up with – media, communication, finance, professional services and retail – are all in the process of being turned upside down and re-invented. The force behind this revolution is not technology but rather consumer behaviour. After all, as interesting as it is when things change, the real magic happens when people do.