BOSTON, M.A., OCTOBER 8, 2020 – Despite industry wide growth, major food companies are experiencing a drop in sales and intensified competition from smaller players, according to a new report from Lux Research. In the report, titled “The Food Company of 2050,” Lux analyzed startup trends, social norms, and corporate concerns to identify six megatrends shaping the food industry, outlining what food companies must do now to survive and thrive over the next 30 years.
Lux identified food for health, increasing sustainability, incorporating ubiquitous sensing, mastering the role of the microbiome, adapting to new industry structures, and understanding the future of consumption habits as the six megatrends expected for the food industry.
“Food companies will need to adjust and adapt to the six trends in order to truly thrive,” states Thomas Hayes, Analyst at Lux Research and report author. “Consumers are increasingly demanding, aligning spending habits with health and sustainability. Food companies will need to take some big risks to truly thrive and stay competitive in the long run.”
Developing food for health, mastering the role of the microbiome, and increasing sustainability are three of the six megatrends. People are demanding more than convenience and enjoyment in their food choices, focusing more on increasing cognitive function, athletic performance, and the overall health of both themselves and the environment. Lux predicts that nearly all products sold will pivot to make health-related claims, with the aim of reducing dependence on medical intervention. Products will also need to pivot to be more sustainable in terms of reducing food waste, working toward decarbonization efforts, and providing sustainable packaging.
Incorporating ubiquitous sensing is a megatrend more food companies are embracing as sensors become smaller, cheaper, and more capable. They are given roles of monitoring food quality, food safety, and even consumer health. “The global pandemic is generating renewed urgency around virus sensing and self-monitoring and has also changed the consumption habits of consumers,” explains Hayes. “Understanding how consumption is changing, including the shift to fresh foods and plant-based proteins, and how allergens are impacting people’s lives, will be key to future success.”
Lastly, food companies will need to adapt to new industry structures. Subscription and delivery options, personalization, food safety and traceability, and the incorporation of digital tools to drive faster, cheaper food innovation will all be key for major food companies to compete with their smaller, more agile competitors. Lux says it will also be important for food companies to reframe their identities as part of this adaptation to new structures to understand the role they can play in agricultural production and addressing consumer health needs.
For more information, download the report executive summary.
- Executive Summary: The Food Company of 2050
- Executive Summary: Finding Business Success in Personalized Nutrition