The Trend: Adaptive Appetites
Earlier this month we published Adaptive Appetites, our 2022 food and drink macrotrend. Here, we examined how inflation and supply chain fragility are sending food and drink prices soaring. This is resulting in consumers and companies who are adapting rapidly – embracing frugality, innovation and indulgence to navigate this uncertain landscape.
The cost of living crisis across Europe and the US is powering a level of adaptation and acceleration in the food and drink sector in a similar way to how the 2020 pandemic and its associated lockdown measures ushered in new waves of unprecedented digital acceleration. This is resulting in food and drink businesses adapting to new technologies – from biotech to new kinds of solar sustenance – while consumers themselves are re-evaluating priorities as budgets shrink, and food and drink become more precious and costly to consume.
Against this backdrop, adaptation has become the order of the day, as the economy, resources and tastes themselves contract and force us to think, act and execute solutions differently.
As The Future Laboratory’s co-founder Martin Raymond puts it: ‘Food and drink brands need to disrupt by extracting cost through the use of alternative materials, substitute foodstuffs, smarter data supply chain capture – but crucially by co-partnering with consumers themselves in how they can adapt and change their tastes to accommodate hitherto unknown grains, ingredients, drink types that may be unfamiliar, or on face value, unpalatable.’
The Big Idea: Supermarkets 2050
At Dutch Design Week 2022, the Embassy of Food presented a new exhibition based on its ongoing research into the future of food. In just 30 years, we can expect supermarkets to facilitate bio-hacking, offer store-grown personalised foods and provide planet-friendly recommendations from artificial intelligence.
The activation proposed three far futures scenarios: holistic stores that use health data for personalised nutrition, supermarkets as science laboratories where visitors can develop their own food, and an AI-driven space that helps visitors make better choices for themselves and the planet.
The first activation was the Lifestyle Coach, a physical location where people’s data is converted into tailor-made health advice. Elsewhere, the Deeply Personal Vending Machine gave tailor-made nutritional advice based on a person’s personal data. Another activation explored how supermarkets can be living labs through concepts such as C3llular, a cellular farming system in which agricultural products are made using cells and without killing animals. With the help of scientists, customers can choose or design their own growth structures and create their favourite food staples.
Building health and wellness into supermarkets of the future, the third activation utilised concepts such as AI-bert’s Fresh Place, an AI-driven system operating in supermarkets to aid customers with decision-making. Customers can sit back and have a conversation with AI-bert to discuss what they’re worried about or what they would like advice about, be it skin flare-ups when consuming oat milk or bloating with red meat. AI-bert will then delve into his huge database of knowledge to come up with a solution in the form of a personalised product that is good for both the customer and the planet.
The Campaign: AI Tastes
Once categorised as the antithesis to creativity, artificial intelligence (AI) is rising in the ranks of the advertising handbook, allowing brands to harness untapped avenues and facilitate hyper-reactive campaigns. Utilising this is cognac brand Rémy Martin, which has teamed up with the singer Usher to create a sensory campaign that merges the spoken word with AI. Designed to celebrate the launch of its limited-edition 1738 bottle, the campaign features Usher poetically describing the tasting notes of Rémy Martin cognac, using phrases such as toasted bread, vanilla and brioche. His words are then translated into digital artworks as a way to visually depict the flavours.
To support the campaign, entitled A Taste of Passion, an AI-inspired bottle will also be available for a limited time, purchasable as a non-fungible token (NFT). A multi-sensory experience will also be hosted in Las Vegas to promote the launch. Here, Rémy Martin demonstrates how physical responses to flavours can be captured and translated through several different activations.
Usher comments: ‘I am so impressed by the visuals that came out of the AI process – they truly represent the medley of tasting notes captured in the flavour.’ By visualising the ways this drink can make people feel, the brand also leans into the tenets of our Psychophysical Identities microtrend.
The Interview: Virtual Food Markets
At the beginning of the year, we spoke to the brainchild of Depop, founder Simon Beckerman, who has launched food app Delli, which aims to partner with small-scale food suppliers who use a ‘drop’ model to launch limited runs of products on the app.
During the pandemic Simon and his wife started to notice how many incredible food creatives and food makers were popping up across London. Some were making products at home by hand, with quality ingredients and specific sustainability values. There was a focus on being local, entrepreneurial and creative. They also noticed that they were selling through Instagram direct messages or via WhatsApp and email. This sparked the idea to create a platform that brought this community together in such a way that people would have a virtual food market in their pocket.
In this interview we explore how the community-focused app responds to people who want to shop locally and more sustainably, focusing on local producers and suppliers. Taking cues from Depop, users can like, share and buy products, place pre-orders and follow local companies for updates, creating more intimate exchanges between customers and makers.
The Space: Discovery Dining
Understanding the need to offer more than just a menu as consumers tighten their purse strings, visual artist Carsten Höller has opened Brutalisten, a restaurant where diners will be served dishes that adhere to the principles of one-ingredient cooking, where ingredients, not recipes, take centre stage. After writing the Brutalist Kitchen Manifesto in 2018, Höller has opened this space dedicated to the concept in Sweden.
Named after Brutalism, an architecture style famed for its severe minimalism and lack of ornamentation, the restaurant strives to adopt the same doctrine of simplicity. As such, the menu is divided into three sections, including Semi-Brutalist dishes, which refer to plates that can have a drizzle of olive oil and Orthodox-Brutalist dishes that can have no additional seasoning or ingredients. Aiming to make hero ingredients cancel out all other distractions in the dining process, the restaurant challenges the idea of what modern dining spaces should offer, putting single-ingredient menus on the map.
‘The aim is to dig vertically into the taste of a given ingredient and clear it of the background noise,’ explains Carsten Höller, founder of Brutalisten.
Download the Future Forecast 2023 report
Now that you know what shaped 2022, discover what’s on the horizon. Download our Future Forecast 2023 report comprising 50 new trends across 10 key consumer sectors, insights from our analysts and interviews with global innovators.