GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Food Web 2020: Forces Shaping the Future of Food


Executive Summary (Excerpt)

Food sustains and nourishes us, and it also increasingly connects us to a global food web that is intertwined with politics, economics, environmental concerns, culture, and science. This global food web is undergoing rapid change, presenting considerable challenges and significant opportunities. Every one of the six broad areas of activity in the food system—agriculture and stewardship, manufacturing and branding, distribution and logistics, retail and information, consumption and taste, and disposal and renewal—is being affected. As the impacts of disruptive forces are felt over the next decade, strategic responses will be required from your organization and other stakeholders in the food system. This report and its companion map, FoodWeb 2020, identify the forces reshaping the food web, share examples of innovative responses, forecast key shifts in direction, and present principles for long-term business decision-making that will confer competitive advantage while increasing the resilience of the food web by 2020.

We identify eight disruptions that are pushing stakeholders at every level—from individual consumers and small-scale farmers to food companies and national governments—to rethink their relationships to the food system. These range from new taste imperatives to growing food fears, from new attention to health impacts to an upsurge in food rights activism, from increasing cost volatilities to cascading environmental emergencies, and from a growing demand for sustainability metrics to an expanding effort to reduce the environmental footprint of food. We also look at innovative responses to these disruptions that have already emerged in locations around the globe.

Health, Natural Resources
Year Published:
Miriam Lueck Avery, Rod Falco, Bradley Kreit
Institute for the Future