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December 4, 2018

Editor’s Note

Welcome to the fourth installment of our What the Future series.

Matt Carmichael // WTF FOOD

Over the past year, we have talked about the trends impacting changes to three of the top areas of consumer spending: housing, transportation and health care. This issue is focused on a fourth key sector: food. Specifically, we have conversations with the difference-makers about how our food gets to us, where that food comes from today and will come from tomorrow. The answers to these seemingly straightforward questions are in a surprising amount of flux.

As part of those discussions, we have asked thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of citizens from around the globe about the role of food in their lives and how that is changing. All of that exclusive data is presented here for the first time as well as other explorations from Ipsos into packaging, food culture, delivery, convenience and the ever-evolving tools and methods we use to understand the human aspects of these areas.

But we start, as we should, with a look at the role food plays in nurturing our families, our society and our culture as well as filling our bellies.

So head to your pantry and grab a snack. Snag a drink, get a coaster and put your feet up and enjoy this issue of What the Future.

Cooking? It’s about more than convenience

by // December 4, 2018

More than half of home cooks think their dinner routines could improve. Yet consumers are reluctant to add these options to their dinner planning. Today, just one in 10 of these consumers is planning to use a meal kit in the next three months. So how can emerging alternatives play a bigger role with dinner? read more »

Who needs restaurants?

by // December 4, 2018

Luke Saunders and his company, Farmer’s Fridge, are bringing consumers meals they’re used to—fresh salads, wraps and more—by using a device they’re not expecting. It’s attracted media attention and a new $30 million round of investment from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and others. When he thinks What the Future, Luke Saunders wonders what it means to be a “restaurant” and how willing people are to let vending machines step in to that space. read more »

How will our food preparations change?

by // December 4, 2018

These are big questions with broad implications. Ipsos asked people to predict the short-term future to see how things might change for themselves. The global results are in the spread on pages 18 and 19. In the U.S., younger Americans think, to Rick Bayless’ point, that they’re likely to cook as many (48%) ormore (39%) meals at home than they do now. They’re also the most likely age group to say they’ll increase the number of meals and groceries they get delivered, and to eat out more. The future can be summed up in one word: choice. read more »

Could better packaging help save our planet?

by // December 4, 2018

Packaging plays a critical role in selling, transporting, storing and protecting our food. But too much packaging (including recyclables) is still ending up in landfills where it can take hundreds of years to break down. When Sand thinks What the Future, she wonders how the packaging industry could help consumers recycle more. It’s a challenge that she believes could save our planet if policies and communications made recycling more intuitive and simple. read more »

How packaging can balance being green and making green

by // December 4, 2018

The plastic drinking straw has become a symbol of society’s growing concern over packaging convenience at the expense of our planet’s health. Already, four in 10 consumers report they have started using fewer plastic straws due to recent attention on the issue, according to a recent Ipsos/Buzzfeed poll. Nearly half of those polled support local governments banning their use. read more »

What is the future of sweet?

by // December 4, 2018

Around the globe, people are becoming more aware of their sugar intake. When Robert Long, senior vice president and chief innovation officer of The Coca-Cola Company asks What the Future, he is thinking about how to create new drinks to meet changing consumer tastes. read more »

Rethinking sweet

by // December 4, 2018

Slightly more than half of Americans say they consume more sugar than the recommended limit, according to the Ipsos Global Trends report. The Canadian Food Service Monitor study by Ipsos showed that reducing sugar is a top concern for diners who are generally trying to reduce processed and unhealthy ingredients and replace them with more natural choices. But people do still like their sweets. So how can brands lower sugar content without alienating consumers or forcing them to change their behaviors to benefit from less sugar? Should companies go stealth when tweaking their formulas or be up front about it? read more »

Who needs cows (or chickens or fish or pigs…)

by // December 4, 2018

In Douglas Adams’ sci-fi classic, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” diners are invited to meet the meat. The main course introduces itself before the meal: “I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in the parts of my body? Something off the shoulder perhaps? Braised in a white wine sauce...” read more »

Where to innovate

by Christie Moorman, & Emily Sobol // December 3, 2018

Your competition just released a new product. It was starting to get buzz on social media and then a celebrity plugged it unprompted on Instagram and the mentions lit up. Is this the Next Big Thing, or is it the next Not a Thing Anymore? Will this have sustained scale? To put it another way, will this product “tip” from niche to mainstream and should you be developing an equivalent? read more »

Can humans survive without genome technology?

by // December 3, 2018

As populations expand and the effects of climate change grow in severity, nothing short of our ability to feed the world’s people is at stake. Ronald’s book, “Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food,” co-authored with Raoul W. Adamchak, her husband and an organic farmer, seeks to bridge a divide between her community of scientists and his of organic farmers. Each group must work together to create a more sustainable landscape for farming. When Ronald thinks What the Future, she’s wondering if people realize what’s at stake and understand the benefitss of genome-editing technologies such as CRISPR. read more »

Is there a future for the family dinner?

by // December 3, 2018

Multiple James Beard Award-winning chef Rick Bayless will feed you in his Chicago restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Topolobampo. He’ll teach you how to cook with help from his cookbooks and TV shows, such as “Mexico–One Plate at a Time.” He’ll help you out in the kitchen with his line of craft Mexican foods produced by ConAgra. But wherever and however you eat, he doesn’t want you to eat alone. When he thinks What the Future, chef Bayless is concerned about the future of the family dinner. But he’s excited by what he sees in our survey results. read more »

Matt Carmichael is the editor of GenPop, a magazine produced by Ipsos where he serves as the vice president of Editorial Strategy in North America.


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Matt Carmichael is the editor of GenPop and the Director of Editorial Strategy for Ipsos North America. You can reach him at

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