The “Transformative Twelve” can deliver significant impacts to food systems by 2030


The power of technology innovation is helping transform global food systems by helping to face the main issues on safety, quality, stability and enhancing the sustainability of the food chains.
Technology is driving change in the shape of demand (e.g. alternative raw materials and proteins; food sensing technology for safety, quality and traceability; nutrigenetics for personalized nutrition, lab-created foods), processing, preparation and distribution. Technology is also promoting value-chain links (e.g. mobile service delivery; big data and advanced analytics; ICT for real-time supply-chain; blockchain-enabled traceability), and it is creating more effective production and delivery systems (precision agriculture; gene-editing for multi-trait seed improvements; microbiome technologies to enhance resilience; off-grid renewable energy generation and storage; advanced robotics, Artificial Intelligence and 3D-printing). The GRIN (Genetic, Robotic, Information and Nano-processes) technologies are one of the models that is expected will have an impact on the entire socio-economic globalization context.
These trends are all based on a combination of the 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0) technologies that can enable innovation and solve the challenges faced in food systems.



Dramatic economic shifts are rearticulating the economic models (and the systems behind them)


Trade threats, leasing and sharing instead of owning, cryptocurrencies, alternative securitization, globalization and the 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution) are modifying in a non-reversible way the meaning of food economy itself.
The Maker Economy and the Instant Entrepreneurship are democratizing food production, processing and design. Prices of food and trade threats are used as a power weapon to address globalisation and the crisis of the middle class. Money and ownership are turning virtual, even if they are more real than ever as a hot topic for food security and food quality. The convenience format that allows the balance between demand and offer is shifting and introducing a new frame for traditional economics and economy models in the food industry.
Financial literacy is widening models and requires new skills and talents to make to food consumption proactive and the food entrepreneurs more powerful and competitive.



Rapid and unpredictable changes in food prices are a feature of modern markets. For some, they represent a financial opportunity. For others concerned with the welfare of farmers and consumers of agricultural products, this volatility is a problem – but not everyone agrees on what to do about it. The same is for land availability and increasing phenomena of land grabbing.

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Love it or hate it, cryptocurrencies – like Banana Coin – have now grown to a point where they cannot be ignored. They are here to stay -at least for the foreseeable future. And the same is for crowdfunding (equity crowdfunding, included), microbonds, value-chain financing and P2P lending. Alternative finance and new currencies will change definitively the way in which transactions will be regulated.

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By 2040, the economies of E7 countries will be double G7 countries. This growth is also giving rise to a new middle class or “mass affluent” with a significant purchasing power. Two-thirds of the global middle class will reside in Asia Pacific by 2030.

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Turning ideas into action comes with ease in the digital age. Consumers will be more resourceful and creative than ever, and will be seeking ways to channel that into actual business ideas. Startups will grow and change also traditional food companies.

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The sharing economy is one of the fastest growing business trends in history, with investors dumping more than $23 billion in venture capital funding since 2010 into startups operating with a share-based model. “Access over ownership” is a shift that has taken root, as digital and mobile technologies make it ever easier to access goods and services on-demand. It will be no longer a millennial preference, but a part of modern society.

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Market and consumption trends are rearticulating the identity of consumers and communities in a global society.


It’s not just a matter of market share and consumption trends. Food is one of the rare commodities for which the potential market is 100% — everyone needs it.
The future of food is undoubtedly changing, but while many of us have dabbled in UberEATS8, few have substituted meals with bottled drinks, or chocolate bars with grasshopper bars.
Our established relationship with food may well be what stands in the way of its disruption. So, can we disrupt in a way that allows us to keep our relationship with food? For example, the social aspects of eating are sustenance for another


part of our human needs — can they be bundled and commoditized too? Perhaps they can — the Nourished Project has explored using virtual reality to make users believe they are eating delicious foods.




Self regulation v/s bundled food policy will drive the future of the food regulatory cascade.

The main challenges in the food systems are asking for related policy options. On the other side, policy and regulation can inspire, orient, prioritize changes in the future of food and food-related issues.
Various are the policy options that can help the food players to better address future challenges whether you consider the “Global-” or the “Pharma-” Food” scenarios, or if you consider the “Regional Food” or the “Partnership Food” scenarios (see the latest JRC Study for the EU Parliament).
Emerging arguments will be dealing with how, in the future, the regulatory food framework will decline pairs of divergent trends:
a) self-regulation vs. common standards to address the maker economy, globalisation and international trade and mobility;
b) sector-specific vs. bundled or integrated policy, i.e. when considering diet and health or start-up flexibility and related easy procedures or standards to market functional foods.
The intersection of the three usual regulatory drivers (i.e. fiscal pressure, relevance to public health and environment) leaves the food sector more exposed to significant changes in future regulation in a sort of “regulatory cascade” that will accelerate complexity and address main core aspects of the future food (product content; product labelling; on-packaging health warning; POS Information; advertising restriction; sale and possession; point of consumption; product taxes).



Global challenges (i.e. plastic pollution) and threats (i.e. demographic changes and malnutrition originating migratory flows) will ask more an more global responses.

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If the WEF analysis is true, the most part of the today’s jobs won’t be anymore in the list of the most relevant jobs in 2050. This will totally transform the corporate strategies related to recruitment and training. When machines become workers, what is the human role?

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The combination of high privacy, fairer value-chain, food ethics with elevated expectation about the role of regulation in the future of the food industry leads to more intuitive products, services and features to help consumers and communities live better, safer or more efficiently. How could regulation be responsive to rapid change and an unknowable future?

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Greater understanding of the behavioural science behind habit formation leads to more policy makers intentionally creating addictive experiences that capture time, money and loyalty to co-created policies. Will we renew our policies for food innovation through reform — or revolution?

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Traceability, Safety, Cannabis and Food supplement will explode the forms of contents and of creation in food regulation. According to the US National Center for Biotechnology Information, the human race crossed a significant milestone in 2013 when our average attention span moved to only 8 seconds, from 12 seconds in 2000.

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Environment is one of the main paradigms of the economy and society; it contributes to defining the overall scenario inside which all the other forces and drivers operate affecting the food system.


“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you how you are, how you will be, and how the environment that surrounds you is”. Simplified into a slogan, this is basically the message of the Double Pyramid of Food and Environmental Impact developed by the Barilla Centre for Food & Nutrition (BCFN): a graphical representation which synthetically translates the complexity of the data derived from latest scientific studies on the nutritional value and the environmental impact of individual foods, to promote a diet that is sustainable for the individual and the ecosystem.

Natural resources are progressively decreasing due to population growth and new consumption models while scientific evidences from USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) highlight that the nutritional value of products from the primary production is lower than the 50’s due to intensive farming (monoculture) and breeding models along the depletion of nutrients in the soil.
Factors that are highly affecting our environment and the trends in the consumption of non-renewable resources include among others the climate change, the serious water stress, the predominance of fossil fuel-produced electricity thereby the biodiversity is under serious risk.
In the agrifood sector additional aspects that are affecting the resources availability like the loss/waste of resources (eg. use of resources for biofuel production, the underutilized waste from food processing), the impact of water consumption and the damage of CO2 emitted in the environment due to to food processing.
Increasingly important is the concept of “environmental sustainability” referred to the ability to maintain the quality and reproducibility of natural resources and the search for sustainable agricultural and food processing paradigms are of the great challenges for the next twenty years.



The planet will reach the crucial threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by as early as 2030, precipitating the risk of extreme drought, wildfires, floods and food shortages for hundreds of millions of people. The date, which falls well within the lifetime of many people alive today, is based on current levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

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Cultivars and monovarietal products will grow in relevance as a way to protect landscape and biodiversity.

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At EU level more than 1.4 million people work in the plastics industry, which is worth over EUR 350 billion each year, but opportunities are being missed because of low recycling rates and a high reliance on virgin materials. The coming plastics strategy will aim to improve framework conditions for investment and innovation, and help the industry become more circular and resource-efficient, bringing more jobs and further growth.

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Global Edible Insects Market Will Reach USD 1,181.6 Million by 2023

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Water scarcity and push towards higher energy-efficiency will transform not only food production, processing and consumption but will affect eco-tourism, food-related technologies and other food-related industries.

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“Bioactive compounds” are compounds that occur in nature, as part of the food chain, that have the ability to interact with one or more components of the living tissue by showing an effect on human health.


Food science is moving towards the so-called “genetic revolution” and focuses on bioactive compounds and genetics. The diversity of bioactive compounds derives from the infinite combinations of fundamental functional groups. The potential of each food matrix come from the combined and concerted action of nutrient components and biologically active compounds, i.e. polyphenols, carotenoids, lignans, glucosinolates, terpenoids, limonoids, phytosterols, etc., that can lead into a wide spectra of biological and physiological functions. Dietary components have beneficial roles beyond basic nutrition, leading to the advancement of the concept and perception of food as functional and nutraceutical. New potentials/features of nutrients should be considered, both qualitatively and quantitatively.


Since the content of nutrient and bioactive components could be significantly affected by numerous factors, i.e. the variety, season, location, ripening, growing conditions, technological and domestic processes; the wide range of factors is continuously increasing and enlarging in line with the new connotations of food chain, and directly links to food genetics and CRISPS.


In parallel, this widen the potential impact of Open Science and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and ask for jobs and skills not yet enough explored nor available.




Different mixtures are changing the way to think about the food sector: it’s a new game-set, a different web altering the usual ways we consider the value chains.


Trends are “profits waiting to happen”, as Chris Sanderson from the Future Laboratory uses to say. In the business world, “transformational change” involves a company making a radical change in


its business model, often requiring changes in company structure, culture and management. “Transformational industry” means that, over the next two decades, the traditional food value chains (agriculture and stewardship; manufacturing and branding; distribution and logistics; retail and information; consumption and taste; disposal and renewal) will be reshaped by a totally new set of complex relationships, that is re-arranging the value-chains from efficiency to flexibility and include more and more daily and disruptive intersections with other industries.



Cross-sector comparison is not anymore limited to get some inspiring insights on innovation trends. Now it’s the new normal, mixing and merging sectors, by using food as driver for a new multi-sector convergence.

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The blockchain is pretty technical at its core, but basically it’s a way for digital information to be stored and distributed, but not copied. It is the ultimate peer-to-peer network.

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A new era in personalization is dawning due to the expansion of online and mobile food shopping. Food safety and regulatory frameworks will make a new model of standardization emerge.

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The more open innovation and open source sustainability grow as trends and the more real estate will need to regenerate spaces and reinvent building so to transform simple “spaces” into “places”, the more retailing experience will be affected by a new sense of belonging for producers and customers.

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Super-granular address systems, global collaborative networks and automated customs management are set to cause major disruption in the logistics. In the world of same-day delivery, B2B and B2C customers alike expect their deliveries to arrive in the shortest possible time. Reliable track-and-trace and hassle-free handling of complaints or returns are taken for granted. As a result, food companies need to embrace the latest technologies if they are to keep up.

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Lured by the promise of big data, organisations tend segment audiences too narrowly and unintentionally end up abandoning large groups.


Both in politics and in market strategies, a global shift going towards individualism/tribes/groups is emerging, and it crosses age, ethnic, and social groups worldwide. It’s one of the aspects that refers to increasing thoughtful and mindful consumers and citizens who take care and, increasingly, action as well.


Demographic changes are opening new frontiers for pressure and opportunities in the food sector. The Silver Economy and ageing of population will be a sort of new “Gold Mine” for food. Millennials and Gen Z, on the other side, open up the market to new talents and to an extended (by physical and technological networks) human capacity that is modifying innovation, social ties and creating different platforms for citizenship and for identity in a global society.


An extremely visible and accessible world demands new sensemaking and explores a completely new dimension about the use of social innovation and data can enhance food-related decisions rather than automate them.


The importance of migration as a driver of population change will increase in the next few decades


In 2015 more than 1.2 million people have applied for asylum in the EU. While this exceptional flow has been one of the drivers for the growing interest and concern about migration, the fact is that migratory movements to Europe are not new and are likely to remain strong in the future. In addition to political and other man-made conflicts, demographic pressures and poverty in some of Europe’s neighbouring regions will keep on feeding migratory flows. Similarly, the increasing number and magnitude of natural disasters resulting from climate change could be another push factor for migration.


Migration impacts on many different aspects of society, both in the countries of origin and destination. Economists typically view migration as a flow from regions of lower labour productivity to higher labour productivity regions. As such, migration leads to economic gains, although its distribution can be uneven. Furthermore, migration has a cultural and social impact that goes well beyond its economic dimension.


From a social-demographic perspective, in example, the developed regions as a whole will experience a shrinking of population after 2040. According to the medium-variant projection of the United Nations, the world’s population is likely to increase from 7.6 billion in 2017 to 8.6 billion by 2030, the target year of the Sustainable Development Goals, and to 9.8 billion in 2050.1 Most of this increase will take place in the developing regions, while the developed regions will, for the first time in recorded history, start to experience negative population growth by around 2040 or 2050. Under a scenario that assumes a net migration of zero, the projected population of the developed regions would be nine per cent smaller in 2050 than if current migration trends continued. With no migration, or with equivalent levels of immigration and emigration, the population of the developing regions would be about one per cent larger in 2050 than if current migration trends continued.

With fertility falling, the contribution of migration to population change is likely to increase.


To know more migration trends: download A | download B

The world as urban

What will happen to food prices if we buy land abroad for food production and biofuels replace crops? 

Sixty-eight percent of the world's population will live in urban areas by the year 2050, the United Nation said Wednesday, up from 55 percent at present.


The UN report predicted an extra 2.5 billion people living in ever-expanding cities in the next 30 years, with as much as 90 percent of the urban growth centered on Asia and Africa.


The boom in city-dwellers will be concentrated in certain countries, with 35 percent of urban expansion occurring in India, China and Nigeria alone between 2018 and 2050.


That will add up to an extra 416 people in towns and cities in India, 255 million in China and 189 million in Nigeria.


The number of people living in urban areas worldwide has risen rapidly from 751 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018. Despite its lower rate of urbanization, Asia contains 54 percent of all urban residents in the world, followed by Europe and Africa with 13 percent each.


The general migration from rural to urban areas, combined with overall population growth, will lead to the planet having 43 megacities by 2030, each home to more than 10 million people.


Tokyo is currently the largest city on the planet with 37 million inhabitants, followed by New Delhi with 29 million, Shanghai with 26 million and Sao Paulo and Mexico City with 22 billion apiece.


To know more about competing land uses: download


To get a snapshot of land grab, check this link

Social unrest and the crisis of the middle class (in developed and emerging countries)

As political and ethnic groups have become more empowered, there has been a resurgence of civil and social rights issues calling for change or reform.


According to the International Labour Organization, the average social unrest index increased between 2015 and 2016 above the long-term average of the last four decades. Social discontent increased in 8 out of 11 regions, particularly in the Arab States.


More than half the world’s population is for the first time living in households earning enough to be considered middle or upper class, with five people joining their ranks every second. The rapid growth of the middle class, most of which is taking place in Asia, will have significant economic and political effects.


Almost 90 per cent of the new middle class is expected to be found in Asia, while Africa is likely to experience little growth, on a relative scale, because in several big countries — notably Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo — populations will grow faster than their economies’ ability to lift them out of poverty.


By 2030, the spending power of the American middle class will remain the greatest in the world — at about $16tn on a 2011 PPP basis — with China ($14tn) and India ($12tn) not far behind.


Governments, too, will need to pay more attention to the middle class as its influence grows — or suffer the consequences.


To know more: download

Wellness freaks and pro-proteiners

The signals to be followed in the $4.2 trillion wellness industry

Also airports are creating wellness areas and the biggest airlines are partnering with startups to get over the victory of protein over carbohydrates and wellness as a critical dimension of personal and societal life.


Rapidly advancing technology (including wearables and ingestibles that track just about anything), combined with precision DNA testing (the familiar DNA ancestry tests are just the tip of the iceberg) and the clear willingness of consumers to participate in genetic testing when they believe it will positively impact their health have coalesced to create a perfect storm for advanced personalized wellness. And, now, this large amount of data can be crunched through the super power of artificial intelligence (AI) – all of which is ultimately enabling the creation of hyper-personalized health roadmaps.


The appetite for personalized wellness roadmaps is certainly there: Among respondents to a recent survey conducted by LifeNome, in conjunction with Columbia University, over 70% of respondents said they would choose a brand of supplements personalized for their DNA over a brand that doesn’t offer personalization.


To know more: download A | download B

Inspirational signals in this link:

Robot and human reinassance

What will happen to food prices if we buy land abroad for food production and biofuels replace crops? 

n the next decade, we will share our offices, hospitals, schools, battlefields, nursing homes, and homes with a new breed of companion. A robot renaissance is underway.


After decades of hype, false starts, and few successes, smart machines are finally ready for prime time. As part of its 2010 research, IFTF's Technology Horizons program has created the Robot Renaissance: the Future of Human-Machine Interaction Map to explore this new robotic future.


The first robot boom was in the 1950s, when factory workers met the first industrial age robots. Now, as robots move out of the factories and make real a century of science fiction, we will once again see these machines in a new light, and we will also reconsider how we see ourselves.


The Robot Renaissance Map is a tool to help navigate the coming changes, designed to spark excitement, and even cautious optimism, about the possible futures of human-machine interaction.


Beside this, a new Human Reinassance is on the rise. And robots will help it


To get a snapshot, check the link


A deeper focus on Robot Reinassance and work places can be downloaded

Connected individualism

Isolated and amplified needs and perception will ask personalisation and new ties

Individualism is a growing mega trend – identified by authors Georg Vielmetter & Yvonne Sell in their book Leadership 2030 – that is poised to challenge, and inevitably change, leadership styles of the future: and the impact is already starting to be felt.


The millennial generation (aka Gen Y) have already started to enter the workforce and anyone who has had to manage these new recruits have been faced, not only with a different work ethic, but also a different approach to their careers as well as company loyalty.


Individualism is part of a millennial’s DNA, and driven and enhanced by digitization. As industries succumb to game changing technologies, the full impact of individualization on companies (as well as brands) becomes evident. One size no longer fits all, and neither do the management skills of a baby boomer generation – ironically the current leadership who have to manage this new mindset.


To get a snapshot, check this link


To have a wider definition of the phenomenon, download

The boom of audiobooks and a new oral future for a regenerated trust

The renewed importance of listening up

People loves again stories. Brands create awe-inspiring moments, innovative ideas, and dramatic stunts to tell the stories behind their values. Urban centers and co-creation spaces are made to make it easier oral transmission of knowledge and feelings. Even TED is based on talks.


Whether shopping for a favorite brand of baby food, diagnosing a perceived illness, or deciding where to invest, issues of trust emerge at every step. To guide our decision-making we rely on credible sources of information, enforceable contracts and guarantees, and communities of individuals whose life experiences are comparable to our own. Since the earliest efforts to organize human societies, we’ve modeled trust from these building blocks of our society.


Today, as our services and interactions reach across the globe through complex digital networks, the bedrock of trust is eroding. Beyond widespread questions about fake news and a post-truth society, we find a more profound set of technological, social, and institutional transformations disrupting the landscape of trust by upending the foundations of our institutions and authority structures across the business, civic, and social spheres.


To know more about this signal:

Emphatic frugality and collaborative society

A new dimension in citizenship, entrepreneurship and personal life

Young people's desire to “do good” socially while they “do well” economically is translating into a rise in youth social entrepreneurship in several regions of the world. Public spaces and public common goods are experiencing new modes of being used to create shared values. Smart cities turn more and more in sensible cities. To simplify daily life, people shed and shared their excess stuff and seek pared-down experiences and ways to unclutter their digital identities as well.


Frugality will also drive innovation management and inspire new emerging social tribes, and it will open new modes for social innovation.


To know more:


Dedicated insights in the following studies to download: download A | download B | download C

Nonagerians, retrotrust and golden silver

What will ageing the population impact on?

In as much as the ageing population has serious economic and financial consequences, the human and social dimensions of an ageing society poses serious challenges to the state and society. A high proportion of the aged would require to be cared for in th coming decade when the proportion of the elderly population would exceed 20 per cent. Already there is evidence of inadequate health care and accommodation for the elderly.


The ageing of the population necessitates public policies to develop institutional methods as well as community-based facilities of caring for the elderly, gearing the health system to cope with the illnesses associated with old age and the revamping of social-security systems to generate adequate incomes for old age sustenance. These are serious challenges that require government interventions, public-private partnerships and community endeavours. The next few years during which these problems are not so serious, should be used to design the needed policies and programmes.


As life expectancy will grow, living over 90 can both be frightening and satisfying. Silver tourism and silver consumers will expand their active role in the market but also they will impose “retro-trust and retro-marketing” opportunities.


The active elderly should be mobilized to assist in the provision of facilities for the inactive elderly. Programmes similar to “Meals on Wheels”, popular in the US, should be adapted using the dana concept in Buddhism. A programme that enlists the elderly and gives recognition for their services, sometimes in small honorariums, titles and entitlements could help reduce the financial burden of programmes to cater to the elderly, as well as improve the quality of services, owing to their interest and commitment in the caring of the elderly.


Health-awareness programmes should be launched to change the lifestyles of youth and address ways for the elderly to cope with these problems when they surface. It is important to have a campaign to promote healthy lifestyles among the young to ensure they live longer and free from chronic diseases. Such a lifestyle would also help avert the onset of what could well become a health crisis in the country soon, if no preventive action is taken immediately.


National health policies should prioritize the potential increasing demand for health facilities for the elderly. Medical training, specialization in geriatric care and other medical needs should be planned early. Nursing care, paramedical training and medical facilities for the elderly should receive immediate attention. Despite the ageing problem and the increasing need for medical facilities for illnesses associated with old age, there is still a lack of specialized training in geriatrics at hospitals. The medical colleges do not have a specialization in geriatrics and not a single medical college has a chair in geriatrics. This displays a lack of awareness of the emerging needs of the ageing population.


To know more: download A | download B


To get a snapshot, check these links

Lifelong learning and distributed expertise

The ideas of expertise itself will shift to become more inclusive, less academic and more widely available

The shelf-life of skills is diminishing. The need for ongoing learning and development is greater than at any previous point in history. 38% of CEOs believe a shortage of key skills is the top people-related threat to growth. That’s up from 31% in 2017. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that building a culture of continuous learning is currently a priority for L&D leaders. This encompasses just-in-time learning designed to close a specific knowledge gap in a current role, right through to development of competencies and behaviours needed for future roles.


Today’s learner expects (and is expected to) continually learn and develop. This culture of continual learning is simultaneously driving and being reinforced by the shifting attitude to performance management. As everyday performance and ongoing feedback approaches gain momentum, the desire to upskill, develop and close skill gaps reinforces the symbiotic relationship between performance and development.


To know more: download A | download B | download C | download D


To get a snapshot of emerging trends, check these links

Packaging frontiers for new multi-disciplinary food excellence

Wrap up your food and put the face on it


Today’s consumer, in particular the Millennial consumer, is ready to pay more for products that have the desired attributes, including convenience and outstanding packaging design. When consumers can clearly see a premium product encased in a premium food packaging design, they are more than happy to make the purchase.


The functional properties of food packages require the involvement of toxicologists and other specialists to ensure that packaging material complies with relevant federal and state regulations. In addition, packages must address issues such as shelf life, supply-chain logistics, in-store display and in-home use and storage.


Food packaging is also an essential marketing tool for communicating brand personas. The typical supermarket carries nearly 40,000 items, according to the Food Marketing Institute. In such a competitive environment, your package is the last chance to influence a purchase decision. Moreover, package must quickly influence harried shoppers who make buying decisions amidst the clutter of 40,000 options. The average shopper spends 44 minutes in supermarkets, with 76 percent of purchases made as impulse decisions, according to Point of Purchase Advertising International.


Concern over the environmental impact of products is an established phenomena, but since 2017 there has been a revived interest in sustainability focussed specifically on packaging. This is reflected in central government and municipal regulations, consumer attitudes and brand owner values communicated via packaging.


The EU has pioneered this area with its drive towards circular economy principles. There is a particular focus on plastic waste, and as a high-volume, single-use item plastic packaging has come under particular scrutiny. A number of strategies are advancing to address this, including substituting to alternative materials, investing in the development of bio-based plastics, designing packs to make them easier to process in recycling, and improving recycling and processing of plastic waste.


As sustainability has become a key motivator for consumers , brands are increasingly keen for packaging materials and designs that demonstrably show their commitment to the environment.


With up to 40% of food produced worldwide not eaten – minimising food waste is another key goal for policy makers. It is an area where modern packaging technology can have a major impact. For example, modern flexible formats like high-barrier pouches and retort cooking add extra shelf-life to foods, and can be especially beneficial in less developed markets where a refrigerated retail infrastructure is missing. Much R&D is going into improving packaging barrier technology, including the integration of nano-engineered materials.


Minimising food losses also supports the wider use of intelligent packaging to cut waste within distribution chains and reassure consumers and retailers on the safety of packaged foods.

Luxury foods in the extravagance economy

A look into tomorrow to understand today.

Sales of high-end food grew 6% from last year. Of particular importance was the “ethical nutrition” trend, reflected by consumers’ desire for authenticity, quality, freshness and transparency regarding a product’s origins.

Fine wines and spirits grew 4% on average, with polarized performance across wines (low single-digit growth) and spirits, which gained momentum due to increased demand from exclusive clubs and growing interest in craft spirits.


In January 2016 Pepsi announced plans to launch Kola House, a luxury bar and lounge in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. The bar will offer a 'full artisanal menu' built around the kola nut, and a resident cocktail curator will be on hand to mix speciality drinks.


Also the food industry will be affected by the new dynamics in luxury marketing: 1.THE QUINTESSENTIAL SELF (Because my self-actualization is faster, smarter and more exclusive than yours.); 2. V.I.D. (Very Important Data.); 3. PREMIUM REDEEMED (Luxury that makes the world a better place.); 4. THE EXTRAVAGANCE ECONOMY (Luxury on-demand.); 5. POST-DEMOGRAPHIC LUXURY (Disrupted demographics transform the who, where and when of luxury.)


Also luxury as indulgency will be something different. Indulgence is and will always be a core driver in foods. However, it is changing shape and form, as consumers crave different products for different occasions and in different geographies. Redefining Indulgence has been changed through ingredients, health, ethics and flavour.


Trendwatching spots signals and evidences of what will go around. The Bain Study enlarges this perspective.


To know more:

Machine learning and mood marketing

Whether for flavouring or experiential retail, empathy becomes a driver of innovation and revenue, and a point of differentiation for products, services, hiring and experience.

Mood marketing is not so new. It started in early 2010s and it was known as “emotional marketing”.


What will change more and more is that machine learning will transform the way we know mood marketing, by expanding the possibility to predict customer churm or to dynamically manage prices. Algorithms can predict which type of content would be the most popular with each unique visitor and elaborate in real time signals to adapt and personalize product’s features and to better integrate marketing and operations with real ways to add value to customers, according to their mood.


But the process can be also opposite: use the proper food to create the right mood. Science discoveries and machine-learning based mood marketing will make a bigger deal in the coming years.


To know more:

Strategic downgrading and the success of “single origin” products

Chocolate or coffee are just opening a growing and disruptive market niche

Overwhelmed by digital and complexity, consumers turn back toward products and experiences that they can touch, feel and sense to deliver a much needed sense of quality, purity and authenticity.


The roots of the phaenomenon are in ethical living and glanceable content.


Brought by “Generation X”, ethical living is the fastest spreading megatrend in foods, with 30% of consumers reporting that they are shopping local and checking origin. There is a new emphasis on Plant-based and Origin Foods that utilize plant protein, insects, food waste, or origin foods and provenance.


But, also, in a low-attention-span world, the single origin fits with the growing need (also for marketers and online lead creators) to optimize content for rapid consumption at glance.


To know more:

Culinary identities and hyper local foods

Beyond km0 recipes and buying local or simply food traditions: how to sell a new sense of belonging and true identity through hyper local foods.

The trend is spotted in US, in India and in Europe as well. As one of the newest trends, hyper-local sourcing is taking the food service industry by storm. Local food restaurants are taking the idea of buying nearby, sustainably-sourced foods to the next level by growing produce right in their own backyards. An they are managing it not just for an eco-sustainability strategy but, mainly, to create a new dimension of culinary identity (for the restaurant and its clients)


The term “locavore,” coined in 2007 by locals in the San Francisco Bay Area, refers to a diet consisting of foods grown or cultivated within 100 miles. With the rise of this lifestyle came the idea of hyper-local restaurants looking to appease consumers.


The growth and expansion of hyper-local restaurants was fueled by a desire among customers for fresher and more sustainable foods. As more establishments looked to incorporate principles of sustainable development, which stresses the equal importance of economic growth and environmental responsibility, they found that hyper-local restaurants fit the bill.


Furthermore, hyper-local is driving new urban models (  and travel trends (Lonely Planet launched tourism packages combing “eating with/like a local” and “hyper local foods” for many EU destinations).


And, even if it may sound strange, it is connected to Global Exoticism as effect of the shifting the market frontiers. Resulting from rising immigration of the Muslim population across the world, this trend impacts mainly cooking ingredients and meals. Food trends tend to track migration and are used to confirm the identity, so 2018 is likely to see an uptick of Syrian- and Middle Eastern-inspired flavours in Western markets. Halal food is another area to watch.


To get a snapshot:

To have a focus on the relation with food trends: download

Digital potential of personalized shopping experiences

From digital shelves to just-walk-out technology, a variety of solutions were on display as vendors aim to capitalize on grocery's digital transformation.


New technologies will empower consumer and create a ‘seamless’ shopping experience in the supermarket of the future and retailers will embrace new technology that opens the door to a truly personalised experience, research from Kantar predicts.


Digital shelves, In-store robotics, Augmented Reality technologies, Scan & Go solution and mini Amazon Go 2.0. walk-in shop boxes are moving further a trend that dates back in 2012, when the UK -based supermarket-chain TESCO launched several virtual supermarket kiosks that allowed commuters to use their mobile phones to scan QR codes of products that could be delivered later to their homes.


To know more:

To acceed the full report: download

Ethical consumerism and fair trade

Can ethics transform consumerism?


Ethical consumerism is all about buying products that have been made in a sustainable manner and don’t cause any harm to the environment. Consumers can extend their support to environmental sustainability, better working conditions for the workers, reduced greenhouse gas emission and upliftment of communities only by choosing ethically made goods. There is a direct relation between ethical consumption and the growth of progressive companies.


The consumer appetite for ethical goods is most clearly demonstrated in the food and clothing sectors. In the past two years alone, the number of people opting for a vegetarian diet has risen 52% and the number of vegans by 153%. And last year, the market for second-hand clothes grew 22.5%, amidst a growing number of reports about the serious climate impacts of fast fashion.


According to Ethical Consumer’s Markets Report 2017, ethical food and drink saw a 9.7% growth last year where conventional foods were struggling. There was a 30% increase in vegetarianism and an even faster rise in veganism – Veganuary 2018 has had a record breaking year with over 150,000 participants signing up. Just Eat predicts that veganism will be the food trend of 2018 after seeing a 94% increase in demand for healthy food last year.


According to Ethical Consumer, Fairtrade has also returned to growth in 2017 after two years of decline.


YouGov survey data shows a dramatic increase in people changing their diet for ethical reasons, and this is likely to continue in 2018 and beyond.


To know more: download A | download B | download C

To get a quick snapshot:

Plant butchery and new veganism

A very demanding customer – at the same time rational and irrational, price conscious and quality conscious, thrifty but also a spendthrift and ecological while also hedonic.


According to the study commissioned by the K Group*, consumer behaviour when purchasing food has changed and a new kind of consumer behaviour has emerged and become more commonplace than the price conscious consumer. This new type of consumer has been labelled the hybrid consumer, a consumer for whom only the highest quality or the most ethical option for a particular product is acceptable, but who is simultaneously extremely  price conscious about another product.


“Consumer awareness has clearly increased – two-thirds of Finns say they make more informed choices about the food they buy than they did previously. What the hybrid consumer is willing to pay or what brings them satisfaction varies greatly between individuals,” says researcher Hanna Santavuori of Frankly Partners, who conducted the study.


To know more: download A | download B | download C

To get a quick snapshot, check this link:

Plant butchery and new veganism

Plant butchery may sound like a scene from the Little Shop of Horrors but it’s actually the latest food trend predicted to explode.


Just to be clear, plant butchery is entirely vegetarian – there isn’t a traditional lamb chop or marbled ribeye in sight. Instead, the aim of plant butchery is to use plant proteins to create everything from steaks, to ham and salami. However, rather than the ‘fake’ meat trends of years gone by, which haven’t been enormously popular or successful, plant butchery is a much more precise, tasty and highly skilled affair. An alternative protein with the same tastes and textures that is guaranteed to meet that standard could be a revelation. Plant-meat creators use a whole range of different plant proteins to produce dishes that have the look and even the texture of meat. Mushroom, beetroot, peas, yams and wheat are just a few of the ingredients that this new generation of culinary magicians are crafting into incredibly meat-like dishes. The purpose of plant butchery is different from simply being able to offer a vegetarian option too. This is all about taste and texture, delivering killer tastes – with no compromise – and finding new and innovative ways to tickle the tastebuds that don’t involve resorting to masses of meat.


Two main facts will support the steady-stay of this trend in the coming future.


We want to eat less meat. Research carried out by Mintel found that the value of meat-free food sales in the UK rose from £543 million in 2009 to £657 million in 2014.  Many people consider a diet that is richer in plant-based proteins to be healthier and it is certainly lower in fat with all the weight loss benefit that brings.


The quest for sustainability. Many experts have now come to the conclusion that even organic farming is not sustainable. The damage to the environment from keeping large number of animals and transporting the meat products should give the meat industry a serious shelf life. Add to that the scandals over horsemeat and poor quality meat and it’s easy to see why something more environmentally friendly, and of reliable quality, appeals.


Of course there could be downsides to plant butchery too. For some people, plant protein will never really be meat and so will always be a disappointing experience. If the trend took off in a big way, the impact on individual farmers could be significant. Cost might also become another issue – plants should be cheap, but if plant-proteins become a popular fad there’s every chance that prices could become vastly inflated.


Whether or not plant butchery will catch on remains to be seen. It’s unlikely the world will suddenly switch to a herbivore diet, but many people will see the benefits of substituting plant-meat at least some of the time. Even if it sparks and then fades, as a trend it’s a fascinating step forward in culinary innovation.


To know more: download

Welcome in the era of informant prosumers

How they will change the way we farm, grow, process & provide food.


Consumers who can easily research ingredients, processes, and companies to make more informed decisions regarding food safety and nutrition are driving the pace and imperative for change in the food industry. According to Forbes’ contributing author Susan Gunelius, these prosumers are “product and brand advocates,” who now significantly affect the success or failure of companies, products, and brands through their involvement on the social web.


Consumer priorities are changing rapidly, and their ability to make these priorities heard in the broader marketplace can force even large corporations to reflect those changes in their product offerings and production processes. In turn, these changes have important implications for the farmers and producers that supply the food and beverage manufacturers. The rise of the prosumer challenges the food chain to change sourcing practices, operational processes and marketplace relationships, all of which can be expensive to execute.


In interviews with 12,000 people in 37 countries, 20% of the participants were seen as having the characteristics of prosumers. The study concluded that relationships with food brands are weakening: “Whereas in the past, consumers felt strong connections with beloved food brands, today the industry is rife with disruption and distrust.”


Specifically, prosumers


1)   Seek foods that address concerns of sustainability of the planet.


2)   Are shifting their focus from organic to food grown locally.


3)   Prefer “nature-made foods” as healthier and as conferring pleasure and a sense of status.


The challenge for traditional food companies ("Big Food") and agriculture is clear. The New York Times summarized the challenge, saying “Consumers are walking away from America’s most iconic brands. ...Food companies are moving in the right direction, but it won’t be enough to save them. If they are to survive changes in eating habits, they need a fundamental shift in their approach. …The food movement over the past couple of decades has substantially altered consumer behavior and reshaped the competitive landscape.”



How can farmers and food companies respond? Future proofing.


50 top-global food and beverage organizations (identified by information from sources such as Forbes and Food Processing magazine) were examined. These included companies such as Wal-Mart, PepsiCo, General Mills, Kraft, Tyson, Smithfield, and Nestlé, to name a few. The goal was to identify the underlying demands of the prosumer, now and in the future. The research started with their websites and other public media, then continued with in depth interviews with leaders of 25 of those organizations. We asked them to identify what they felt their consumers want from them now and what they are likely to want in the future. Their responses can be summarized into eight categories: Competition, Changing Consumer Demands, Supply Chain, Market Structure, Food Safety, Nutrition/Quality, Labor and Data Security.


To know more:

Food landscape as heritage

Foodscapes and cultivars as key resources for local identity, quality of life and tourism potential

Food is among the elements most integral to the cultural landscapes of the European Union and its member countries. Through food, the peoples of European countries actively produce and draw substance and meaning from cultural landscapes. This realization is at the heart of recent and still expanding food cultures and movements in Europe and throughout the world. It is also relevant to current interests and projects on the EU’s cultural landscapes, where the role of food traverses the marvelous scenes of heritage-type and officially designated landscapes-such as those of the terroir products-to those of diverse and often similarly compelling non-heritage sites.


“Foodscapes” are constructed places wherein food practices, values, meanings and representations intersect with the material and environmental realities that sustain the experience of food. We see foodscapes as socially, empirically and symbolically interlinked processes that are never fixed but that will develop by creating (or not) new conditions for living together.


To know more: download A | download B

Insects as source of proteins

With the preference of consumers shifting from animal proteins to alternatives, the demand for insect protein is rising continuously.


With the global population rising at a high pace, the need for protein has increased manifold. Since consumers, globally, meet most of their protein needs with animal-derived food products, such as meat, milk, and eggs, their consumption has also surged drastically. In turn, this development is threatening the environmental sustainability. People and food product manufacturers are equally concerned about it and are using all kinds of control measures. The fact that nearly 2,000 species of insects are already eaten by humans and animals for their protein content, many producers regarded it as a lucrative opportunity to foray into the insect protein market. Various products, such as mixed insect snacks, whey protein, cricket pasta, mealworm cookies, honey caterpillar croquettes, and insect protein candies, have been introduced in the global market since then. Researchers expect this scenario to continue in the future, adding to the growth of the global insect protein market.


To know more:

For the insight on the EU trends: download A | download B

The force of the double pyramid

Towards diets good for consumers and for the planet.

The Double Pyramid is the synthesis of the relationship between food and environment which BCFN has been analysing, with a multi-disciplinary approach, since 2009. The idea of constructing the environmental pyramid as the upside-down image of the classic food pyramid has succeeded in effectively conveying the message that the most healthy foods are also those that are most consistent with an environmentally sustainable ethic.


As is the case every year, the report dedicated to the Double Pyramid aims to combine scientific rigour and dissemination in order to reach the broadest audience possible, made up of people who make important choices everyday, for both themselves and for future generations, in terms of the foods that they eat.


The attached report, accompanied as always by a supporting technical document, updates the Double Pyramid not only graphically but also in the scientific evidence that supports this model. The database on which the Double Pyramid is based has in fact grown from several hundred entries in 2010 to more than 1300 in 2016. Other developments involve the introduction of coverage of relevant current events, like the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) and its implications for the entire food system, initiatives being promoted locally which promote greater access to healthy and sustainable foods, and the birth of food trends that in some cases assume the characteristics of actual ‘religions’.


To know more: download A | download B | download C | download D

Reinventing plastics

Public awareness and legislation will converge towards a plastic-free diet

Researchers estimate that more than 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the early 1950s. About 60% of that plastic has ended up in either a landfill or the natural environment. If current trends continue, by 2050 the plastic industry could account for 20% of the world's total oil consumption.


Fast food, food packaging models and food and health concerns will drive an increasing in investments to reinvent plastic use in the entire food value-chain.


To know more:

Preventing and recovery food waste

Reduce food loss without compromising food safety

The European Commission is taking the issue of tackling food waste very seriously. Reducing food waste has enormous potential for reducing the resources we use to produce the food we eat. Being more efficient will save food for human consumption, save money and lower the environmental impact of food production and consumption.


Food waste prevention is an integral part of the Commission's new Circular Economy Package to stimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy which will boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable growth and generate new jobs.


The Circular Economy Package consists of an EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy and annex to the action plan outlining the timetable for proposed actions, and related legislative proposals on waste. The Revised EU Waste Legislation, adopted on 30 May 2018 by co-legislators, calls on the EU countries to take action to reduce food waste at each stage of the food supply chain, monitor food waste levels and report back regarding progress made.


The EU and the EU countries are committed to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 target to halve per capita food waste at the retail and consumer level by 2030, and reduce food losses along the food production and supply chains.


To support achievement of the SDG targets for food waste reduction in the EU, the Commission is:


  • elaborating a common EU methodology to measure food waste consistently in co-operation with EU countries and stakeholders
  • operating a multi-stakeholder platform (EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste) involving both EU countries and actors in the food chain in order to help define measures needed to achieve the food waste SDG, facilitate inter-sector co-operation, and share best practice and results achieved
  • taking measures to clarify EU legislation related to waste, food and feed and facilitate food donation and use of food no longer intended for human consumption in animal feed, without compromising food and feed safety
  • examining ways to improve the use of date marking by actors in the food chain and its understanding by consumers, in particular "best before" labelling.


To know more:


Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystems

Beyond the net: ecosystem services provided by and to agriculture, livestock, fisheries will be increasingly important.

Ecosystem services are the engine of the environment. They are essential to life. Land, water, air, climate and genetic resources must be used responsibly if they are to also benefit future generations.


Most food production hinges on the wise management of ecosystem services and biodiversity – they maintain healthy soils, enable pollination and regulate pests and disease, amongst other services. Healthy ecosystems are the best way to ensure productive agriculture and nutritious food.


These services enable the biological functions that underpin agriculture, and they should not be on the fringe of agricultural planning. Ecosystems need to be supported in order to keep supporting agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries.


To know more:

The challenge of an ultra low emissions world

A renewed call to action

The concept of food miles, the distance food travels before being consumed, dates back to a 1994 report called “The Food Miles Report: The dangers of long-distance food transport”.

At first glance reducing food miles seems an excellent way to reduce carbon emissions, because it limits emissions caused by planes, trucks, boats and trains moving food. But if you’re not careful cutting food miles can easily increase your food’s carbon footprint.

The most important thing to remember about food miles is that they are only part of the bigger food emissions story. A person’s foodprint is actually dominated by production emissions, and food transport makes up just a tenth of food emissions up to the point of sale.

A few different studies have verified this, perhaps the best of which is the 2008 paper by Weber and Matthews, Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States. Their analysis of US food emissions found 83% of carbon emissions in the food system result from food production, 5% from wholesaling and retailing food, and 11% from transporting it.

Europe is leading a process of reducing the overall food carbon footprint.


Agricultural production and its effect on land use are major sources of these emissions.

Charting environmentally sustainable pathways for agricultural development has a central role to play, therefore, in mitigating climate change.


Land is heating up faster than the oceans: the average surface temperature is now 1.5C higher than in the late 19th century.


Global heating is increasing droughts, soil erosion and wildfires while diminishing crop yields in the tropics and thawing permafrost near the poles.


Further heating will lead to unprecedented climate conditions at lower latitudes, with potential growth in hunger, migration and conflict and increased damage to the great northern forests.


The report, approved by the world’s governments, makes clear that humanity faces a stark choice between a vicious or virtuous circle. Continued destruction of forests and huge emissions from cattle and other intensive farming practices will intensify the climate crisis, making the impacts on land still worse.


To know more:

To get a snapshot of the EU policy for low emissions in food:
To calculate the climate index of your diet:
The FDE call to action: download

Climate change

How climate’s impact on land threatens civilisation – and how to fix it


According to the most recent assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published in 2014, levels of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are now at their highest in history (Porter et al., 2014).


Agricultural production and its effect on land use are major sources of these emissions.

Charting environmentally sustainable pathways for agricultural development has a central role to play, therefore, in mitigating climate change.


Land is heating up faster than the oceans: the average surface temperature is now 1.5C higher than in the late 19th century.


Global heating is increasing droughts, soil erosion and wildfires while diminishing crop yields in the tropics and thawing permafrost near the poles.


Further heating will lead to unprecedented climate conditions at lower latitudes, with potential growth in hunger, migration and conflict and increased damage to the great northern forests.


The report, approved by the world’s governments, makes clear that humanity faces a stark choice between a vicious or virtuous circle. Continued destruction of forests and huge emissions from cattle and other intensive farming practices will intensify the climate crisis, making the impacts on land still worse.


To know more: download the FAO Report

To get an insight of the ten mayor facts related to food and climate change:

To have access to the latest IPCC Report: download

Sustainable production and circular economy

Will food production improve rather than degrade the environment?


Food is part of the bio-based economy, where biomass and residues can be converted to a wide range of products and ingredients by means of modern biotechnological tools. Sustainable production and valorization of all streams are expected to be a major future competitive advantage – both nationally and on the export markets.


A key enabler will be to identify technologies and approaches in order to valorize raw materials (including recycling of nutrients), waste and side streams to e.g. high quality foods, food and feed ingredients or fine chemicals.


According to the CCEFF report, several factors linked to our current industrial food production could cause 5 million deaths by 2050: twice the number of deaths linked to obesity today. But that is not all: every dollar spent on food today generates 2 dollars of health, economic and environmental costs. “In practice, people cannot make healthy food choices if the food production system is not healthy in the first place” claimed the report authors. Indeed, many examples show how food production does not support long term sustainability: food waste, pesticide pollution, degradation of our precious natural capital. Another example is given by the exploitation of non-renewable energy sources, such as fossil fuels for food production and processing. Data shows that in order to produce one single food calorie, we burn 13 calories of oil today. Our current agricultural practices entail large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides, which can pollute the water, air and soil. These are further compromised by post-production processes like processing and distribution. It is not a coincidence that the agri-food industry accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions generated by human activity. If that was not enough, experts highlight how farming caused 73% of world deforestation between 2000 and 2010, and how food waste has now reached unimaginable levels: each second, 6 truckloads of edible food are wasted in the world.


To know more:  download the CEFF Report read the strategy of the Danish National Food Cluster

The last industrial revolution

Not only is artificial intelligence and automation impacting our daily lives (and what we do to earn a living), but it is also transforming entire industries, how things are made, consumed and even how countries are governed.

We’re on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. It’s quite different than the three Industrial Revolutions that preceded it—steam and water power, electricity and assembly lines, and computerization—because it will even challenge our ideas about what it means to be human.

This revolution is expected to impact all disciplines, industries, and economies. While in some ways it's an extension of the computerization of the 3rd Industrial Revolution (Digital Revolution), due to the velocity, scope and systems impact of the changes of the fourth revolution, it is being considered a distinct era. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is disrupting almost every industry in every country and creating massive change in a non-linear way at unprecedented speed.

While many of today’s occupations will still exist in the future, they will indefinitely transform, and in many cases, occupational categories will overlap with one another to form new roles. This is already happening and the rate at which it is occurring is expected to accelerate over time. So, it’s not to say that AI and automation will necessarily replace most jobs, but rather, will require people to adapt and learn how to use this technology to enhance existing processes. These roles will be focused on skills such as monitoring and operating automated and online processes in conjunction with their existing roles and responsibilities.

What is certain is that the new generation will become increasingly diverse and analytical in their way of thinking. They will continuously adopt new skills and be more adaptable to frequent changes in the workplace and in their roles, as new job roles start to open up and certain skills become obsolete.

According to a World Economic Forum report, The Future of Jobs, here are the 10 skills you will need for the Fourth Industrial Revolution: 1) Complex Problem Solving; 2) Critical Thinking; 3) Creativity; 4) People Management; 5) Coordinating with Others; 6) Emotional Intelligence; 7) Judgement and Decision Making; 8) Service Orientation; 9) Negotiation; 10)Cognitive Flexibility.

Especially vulnerable are jobs that involve a high level of physical work and repetitive tasks. Most reports suggest those industries hardest hit will be the retail & trade, transportation, agriculture, admin, office & support, accommodation & food services and production & manufacturing industries.

Other areas that will see a stable demand for years to come according to include Media & Entertainment (65% stable), Consumer Products (73% stable), Healthcare (71% stable), Energy (70% stable), Professional Services (67% stable), ICT (65% stable), Mobility (61% stable), Infrastructure (58%) and Financial/Investor services (57% stable).

The biggest change will undoubtedly be the birth of new areas of work where the creation and designing of automated and online processes are concerned. In fact, according to one estimate, almost two-thirds of today’s kindergarten students will eventually have occupations that don’t currently exist.

Key industries that will buffer you against the possibility of unemployment in the future include AI, robotics, 3D printing, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things, autonomous transport, aerospace, genomics (mapping and editing of genomes) and to name but a few.

What becomes evident is that the education system as we know it needs to be changed. The world’s economy will for a long time need a robust workforce, which means making sure that people are employable, for longer. Re-skilling a workforce regularly during a person’s career will become the norm. Widespread disruption is imminent, and therefore, preparation is key.


To know more:


You can also download the WEF Report on Future Jobs related to the Fourth Revolution

Sharing economy and collaborative growth

 How the uberization of food is challenging food business and food jobs

Prominent economic thinkers are backing the shared economy as fundamental to all our futures.

A shared or sharing economy is an economic system in which assets or services are shared between peers or businesses for free or for a fee. The concept is to enhance the usability of assets, making their lifespan more worthwhile.

Sharing isn’t quite a new way of life. Rentable or shared goods have been around for ages, but technology and ease of connections through the digital world have boosted accessibility and convenience to users who now have a better ability to seek things out — often through apps — and obtain them easily.

The uberization of food is quickly changing the menu and the lines between grocery shopping, eating out, and cooking at home are becoming increasingly blurred. Logistics sharing platforms, collaborative shoppers, commercial kitchens and home cooking entrepreneurs seem poised to take on more important roles. Changing buying behaviors and preferences will give the food supply chain pause to design solutions which best meet these emerging priorities. Most importantly, it will be important to remember that sharing means sharing in terms of the value generated from online platforms.

There are also open business models that corporations are starting to adopt; we seek the social productivity mindset as a new generation of workforce, which is starting to emerge where work isn’t about a place we go to, but a thing we do (e.g. contractors in Freelancer, Elance, etc.). Both the JRC and the McKinsey report give evidence to these signals, that will become louder and louder in the next future.


To know more:


You can also download the JRC’s Study and the McKinsey Report giving an insight on future trends for collaborative economy

New Emerging Giants

China, India and beyond: new export and alliances for EU food industry


Asia and Europe are now leading trade partners, with $1.5 trillion of annual merchandise trade, overtaking each continent’s trade with the United States. A new study gathering an unprecedented range of bilateral data between country pairs pinpoints the economic, social and political ties between 51 Asian and European countries.


While the eyes of the world are on the US-China trade war, Asia and Europe are working to deepen their relationship. The two continents have made mutual connectivity between people, businesses and institutions a top political priority, and are moving quickly to build and strengthen ties, with a firm commitment to work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Sustainable connectivity is the new name of the game. It has become a focal point of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), a high-level intergovernmental cooperation forum between 30 European and 21 Asian countries, including Australia and New Zealand. The European Union has also put forward sustainable connectivity in its recently adopted strategy, “Connecting Europe and Asia – Building blocks for an EU Strategy”.


China is projected to register 5.9% average annual GDP growth in 2019-23, down from 7.3% in 2012-16. The willingness of the national government to stimulate domestic activity amid trade tensions and the resurgence of investment are reassuring signals for domestic demand. Improving the relatively high level of corporate debt-to-GDP ratio and wealth inequality are challenges.


The economy of India is forecast to grow by 7.3% in the medium term, up from 6.9% in 2012-16. Labour market conditions point to solid growth in private consumption, although rising inflation and interest rates can be drags. The push for consolidation will most likely limit the government’s spending flexibility as well. How infrastructure projects are carried out will be key. Maintaining banking sector health is another challenge.


To know more: download A | download B

Startups on the rise

Craving a taste of the future? Demand for nutritious ingredients, product transparency, and environmentally-conscious sourcing have a powerful impact on product development and are currently creating a tightrope walk for start-up companies in the food industry.

The food industry is one of the untapped markets and is now ripe for disruption. Having said that, one has to keep up with the latest trend and disrupting technology.

According to the report from, European food tech startups are on course and have produced nine unicorns in Food Tech and Food Delivery segment in the past five years. Moreover, VC’s invested €6.5 billion in food tech in Europe since 2013.

The report also states the ‘next generation’ of food tech entrepreneurs are focusing on the 99%, reinventing agriculture, food production and consumption. It’s worth mentioning, food tech has created 35 unicorns globally, with a combined value of €169B, of which €30B from Europe.


To know more:

Alternative Finance

Alternative Finance is growing rapidly and takes its place in the financial system. What are the latest trends and how will the financial eco-system develop in the next 10 years?

The global alternative finance market is projected to reach more than $760 billion by 2022.

From P2P-lending to ICOs and from crowdfunding to marketplace lending also the food sector is experiencing alternative finance as a growing opportunity to fund investments and get loans.

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) has published its 4th annual European Alternative Finance report. The publication, entitled “Shifting Paradigms” – completed in partnership with the University of Agder in Norway, tracks the growth of alternative finance across Europe including the UK.

According to CCAF, in 2017 the alternative finance market grew by 36% to € 10.44  billion – dominated by the UK.

Excluding the UK, European online alternative finance industry grew 63% from €2.06 billion to €3.37 billion in 2017.

While growth remained strong, in 2016 the market grew 102%. Between 2013 and 2017, the average annual growth rate for Europe was reported at around 80%.

In the food sector, in particular, also supply-chain financing is emerging as an alternative. Technically, it’s short-term borrowing to facilitate a slicker supply chain, to allow suppliers to get paid quickly, and to allow buyers to extend their payment terms.

Financial benefits are offered to both buyers and suppliers: the former can extend payment terms without impacting negatively on suppliers, the latter can receive instant payment to keep their cash-flow healthy.


To know more: download A | download B




Where is going the future as it is marked by Bananacoins and Ethereum at Starbucks?

Bananacoins is already in and also Foodcoin is providing solutions for food farmers all around Europe.

Traditional and innovative food retailers are now open to cryptocurrencies, thus expanding the market size and the integrated services (i.e. food traceability like in the TFOOD token in the TE-FOOD ecosystem) for food products and service providers in the entire food value-chain.

To get an insight:

The concern for food price volatility

How to protect consumers and their ability to acquire nutritionally adequate diets in the face of current and projected increases in food prices and food price volatility?

The volatility of food price indicator quantifies the intensity of fluctuations in food prices over time, rather than measuring the price level itself. It is commonly reported on a monthly or annual basis, and uses a monthly consumer food price index and a rolling standard deviation of growth rates to compute volatility. High volatility can increase vulnerability to food insecurity by increasing uncertainty, contributing to asset draw-down during price peaks, and a consequent reduction in real incomes and calorie consumption by both urban and rural net consumers, as poor households are unable to substitute cheaper foods in the face of price increases.

The average price of staple foods will more than double in the next 20 years, leading to an unprecedented reversal in human development, Oxfam has warned.

The world's poorest people, who spend up to 80% of their income of food, will be hit hardest according to the charity. It said the world is entering an era of permanent food crisis, which is likely to be accompanied by political unrest and will require radical reform of the international food system. Research to be published on Wednesday forecasts international prices of staples such as maize could rise by as much as 180% by 2030, with half of that rise due to the impacts of climate change.

The matter of concern is not just the rise of the prices but the difficulty in predicting stable price trends. This will affect both the demand side and the supply side.

On the supply side, a high level of prices generates net benefits for producers of food commodities and is an incentive to increase production. The profitability of farms, however, is affected, especially if the increase in feed costs is not entirely transferred to

the consumers.

Low or volatile prices, in fact, create considerable problems for farmers and others in the food chain who risk losing their productive investments if the drop in prices occurs during

the implementation of investments whose profitability depends on how high the prices are.


To know more: download the report from the Barilla Foundation and the study from the Gates Foundation.

To check the dynamics of a more volatile volatility: and download the Future of Food and Farming Report

Trade threats and Trade treats

Using food trade as a transmission belt to mark national economic power

Trade treats and trade wars have always been a key weapon for geo-economic alliances and conflicts. The recent tensions between US and China lead to an easy forecast: European food sector is going to be braced for a trio of trade shocks.

The American economy is huge and relatively closed. That combination means trade turmoil involving the US can inflict much greater damage on others than its own economy has to absorb. Despite a contraction of US industry and higher prices for American consumers, overall growth remains adequate. It remains to be seen how the latest market gyrations affect the economy, but so far, the brunt of the macroeconomic damage has fallen not just on Mr Trump’s main target — China — but on Europe, which has been caught in the crossfire.

Unlike the US, the EU economy is as trade intensive as China’s, and accounts for the largest share of world trade of the three. While China is experiencing a slowdown partly due to US actions against it, Europe is suffering just as much in collateral damage.

Europe’s growth rate has slowed to a trickle and has been markedly lower than the US’s for the past two years. Trade is not the only cause, but it is the most important one. The OECD has highlighted that European countries’ trade growth stalled last winter, both among themselves and with the outside world. Germany, the continent’s trade-oriented economic core, has been one of its worst performers over the past year. It saw gross domestic product shrink in the last quarter, its car production continues to plummet and industrial weakness has spread to other EU economies.

Worse may yet be to come: the US-China stand-off may intensify from trade war to currency war, with competitive devaluations adding to Europe’s export woes. The big question now is whether the crisis in trade-dependent manufacturing will weigh on domestic confidence and reduce demand for the much larger services sector. There are signs this is already happening.

All this is bad enough, but it is only one of three possible trade-related shocks about to hit the EU. In addition to being a collateral casualty, Europe is at risk of becoming the next direct target of American trade aggression. The OECD’s chief economist, Laurence Boone, said in July that the trade war will move to the EU “probably at the end of the summer”. Mr Trump has been rattling his sabre in that direction for both French wine and German cars — the bloc’s single biggest agricultural and industrial export items. Trade flows between the two economies amount to more than $1tn a year.

The third risk is a no-deal Brexit on Halloween, which would throw up big trade barriers overnight. Britain and Ireland would be the most hurt by this, but that does not mean the shock to other members of the bloc would be negligible.


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To stay updated, check the link

Competing land uses and land grabbing as drivers for land prices escalation

What will happen to food prices if we buy land abroad for food production and biofuels replace crops? 

Land is a scarce resource and its price, both for buying and leasing, is expected to grow, since multiple uses are possible and different returns on investments can be gained, when crops are substituted with other production.


Two phenomena are more and more relevant in this sense and expected to push up the land price, both in developed and in developing countries: 1) competing land uses, (especially deriving from the competition between biofuels an crops) and 2) land grab (according to the priority of ensuring food for nations, not individuals)


As the market for biofuels has grown dramatically in recent years, crops from which replacements for petroleum derived products—such as corn- and potato-based bioplastics— can be made have also become an increasingly important use of agricultural land. The demand for these replacements is projected to continue to grow rapidly as over the next decade biofuels are projected to account for a third or more of fuels in some regions.


Finding ways to use land to grow food, fuel, and other petroleum product  replacements—without sacrificing carbon uptake—will be an increasingly important challenge.


Another big mover of land prices was the so called “land grab” or “land grabbing”. The most visible driver of the recent land acquisitions was the 2008 food crisis. In 2007-2008 the huge increase in the price of agricultural products, like wheat, rice, corn, and other cereals, provoked a serious food crisis. Countries with large populations and food security concerns such as China, South Korea and India are seeking opportunities to produce food overseas, especially in developing countries where production costs are much lower and where land and water are more abundant.

To get a picture of the phaenomenon, when food prices skyrocketed in 2007 and 2008 while global grain reserves shrank, countries with little spare land to produce food rushed to buy up farmland thousands of miles away in Argentina, Russia, and Africa. One of the

most controversial of such actions came when the South Korean conglomerate Daewoo, acting in concert with the government of South Korea, began leasing about half of Madagascar’s arable land. The stated goal was to produce huge quantities of corn to import back into South Korea for cornstarch processing and pork production, as well as palm oil for biofuels.


To know more about competing land uses: download A | download B

To get a snapshot of land grab, check this link

Innovate by law: what AKIS will do for the future food industry?

Nine clear objectives to boost innovation and sustainability in the EU agriculture in the post-2020 scenario.

On 1 June 2018, the European Commission presented legislative proposals on the common agricultural policy (CAP) beyond 2020. These proposals aim to make the CAP more responsive to current and future challenges such as climate change or generational renewal, while continuing to support European farmers for a sustainable and competitive agricultural sector.

The European Union shapes its budget for a pragmatic, modern, and long-term planning for the 2021-27 period to deliver on issues that matter to Europeans. The Commission proposes that funding for the CAP is moderately reduced – by around 5% – due to less contributions, with a future union of 27 members.

Knowledge and innovation are essential for a smart, resilient and sustainable agricultural sector. The CAP of the future will both encourage increased investment in research and innovation and enable farmers and rural communities to benefit from it.

Therefore, it is essential to build stronger agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKIS) to boost initiation and development of innovation projects, to disseminate their results and to use them as widely as possible. Including national AKIS strategies in CAP strategic plans, as outlined in article 102 of the proposal for a regulation establishing rules on support for strategic plans to be drawn up by EU countries under the CAP, will incentivise the structuring and organisation of the national innovation ecosystem. Ensuring that well-functioning AKIS exist throughout the EU avoids duplication of efforts, saves costs, increases the impact of EU and national/regional funding and speeds up innovation.

Successful AKIS strategies include four main group of actions

  • enhancing knowledge flows and strengthening links between research and practice
  • strengthening all farm advisory services and fostering their interconnection within the AKIS
  • enhancing cross-thematic and cross-border interactive innovation
  • supporting the digital transition in agriculture

The European Commission has proposed to set aside €10 billion from the Horizon Europe programme for research and innovation in food, agriculture, rural development and the bioeconomy. The agricultural European innovation partnership (EIP-AGRI) will continue to pool funding sources from Horizon Europe and rural development to foster competitive and sustainable farming and forestry.


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The new imperative of health and environment

The changing regulatory landscape will prompt many businesses to consider the potential impact of a more intense regulation on their competitive strategies.

The regulatory landscape in the food industry is increasingly complex, particularly for global manufacturers and distributors. Companies have to comply with all local, national and regional regulatory agencies relevant to their business. This means keeping up with evolving regulations and ever-changing circumstances. Guidelines and mandates must be interpreted, acted upon and compliance tracked. The impact on businesses is far-reaching across manufacturing, handling and food distribution.

The intersection of three regulatory drivers (Fiscal Policy, Public Health and Environment) leaves the food industry particularly exposed to a future heavier regulation. What is already in in the alcohol and tobacco segments will be extended to other food products, affecting eight critical dimensions: 1) Product content; 2) Product labelling; 3) On packaging health warnings; 4) Point of Sale information; 5) Advertising restriction; 6) Sale and possession; 7) Product taxes; 8) Site of consumption.


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Buy well to set up the policy framework

Public procurement for food catering is inspiring sustainability and social standards, and it enforces good food habits among consumers

Across Europe, there is unprecedented financial pressure on public services payers and providers, which, in turn, makes the European public procurement landscape increasingly challenging. As public procurement becomes more sophisticated, price transparency is growing, and demand for integrated solutions is driving changes in product offers, requiring new sales channels and tactics. Green procurement, Social procurement and, more in general, value-based procurement also for catering in schools, hospitals and public structures are widely practiced, and are changing the offer in the meanwhile they can also educate future food demand (i.e. on healthy food standards, like fruit consumption; on km 0 products and environmental consciousness; on plastic-free packaging and so on).

Value-based procurement is a reality today, and it is proving to be a key driver to unlocking outcome-based value for health systems and patients. It is facilitated by the new EU directive on public procurement (2014/24), with decisions assessed through two lenses: total cost of ownership (TCO) and price-quality ratio.

Food companies that will result as winners will need to develop a demand-shaping mind-set; engage early on, at the right level, and quickly; and offer a value proposition “beyond the device.” They must move quickly to tailor their go-to-market model by geography and segment, enhance service offers to include solutions based on relevant outcome key performance indicators (KPIs), and develop capabilities that enable them to link outcome measures with tender award criteria.

Our estimates suggest that for a medium-size company, proactively investing in line with this trend over the next three years will lead to a 2.5 to 5.0 percent growth in the top line.


To know more: Download the references to green procurement directive or the inventory of local cases and best practices in food procurement all around Europe

Rising the bar: a new agenda for new jobs

Food law establishes the rights of consumers to safe food and to accurate and honest information.

Megatrends are shaping the labour market. Skills needs are rapidly changing across jobs. As a result, many sectors of the economy are suffering from skills shortages. But which skills are needed, and how can we deliver them? This is one of the focus shaping also the future of the policy addressing jobs and skills.

At EU level, the policy focus on educational attainment has brought significant achievements. In 2014, around 10 million more people completed higher education than in 2010, and the number of young people dropping out of school had fallen to 4.5 million from 6 million in 2010. This is significant progress towards the Europe 2020 targets.

Increasingly, however, evidence shows that policies to increase attainment alone are not sufficient. The quality and the relevance of what people learn are now centre-stage. Many young people leave education and training without being sufficiently prepared to enter the labour market and without the skills or mindset to start their own business.

Work-based learning, such as apprenticeships are a proven springboard to good jobs and to developing labour market-relevant skills, including transversal and soft skills, where typically social partners play a key role. But more people should be able to benefit from this way of learning. Currently just a quarter of students in upper secondary vocational education attend work-based programmes, while general and higher education programmes rarely include any work-based experience. Business-education partnerships, involving all sectors and levels of education and training, can unlock this potential.

Some successful initiatives are showing the way, engaging labour market actors in education and training and helping young people get a foot on the jobs ladder. The European Alliance for Apprenticeships has so far mobilised 250,000 in-company training and job opportunities for young people. Through the European Pact for Youth, one million young people will be trained in digital skills, and a 'smart classroom' programme will reach 100,000 students. Through the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs companies and other organisations have offered millions of additional training opportunities.

At higher education and post-graduate level, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is an example of how cooperation with businesses and research institutes can foster curriculum development, mobility programmes and access to research and industrial infrastructure for practical training in a real-life environment.

These are positive signals but are clearly not enough. To help learners get more exposure to the word of work, the Commission will develop a set of support services to facilitate knowledge sharing, networking and cooperation on apprenticeships. It will back structural reforms through peer counselling and sharing best practices, including through social media.

Social partners in several sectors, including commerce, construction and telecommunication, have reached joint positions on skills, including specific initiatives on traineeships. Several EU social partners in different economic sectors have also made joint pledges under the Alliance for Apprenticeship to provide more and better apprenticeships. This is also a priority in the European social partners' 2015-2017 joint work programme. The Commission will help social partners take forward the results of their joint projects, for example exploring the cost-effectiveness of apprenticeships and establishing a possible Quality Framework for Apprenticeships.

Is policy really ready for the future of work in the food sector?


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Download the analysis of megatrends at global level

Download what is happening in the food sector

Food labelling and standards

Food law establishes the rights of consumers to safe food and to accurate and honest information.

In the European Union, the labelling rules enable the citizens to get comprehensive information about the content and composition of food products. Labelling helps consumers to make an informed choice while purchasing their foodstuffs.

Labelling is an important market tool which should be viewed as an integral part of communication between societal players (business to consumers, directly and via intermediaries, authorities to consumers, etc.). Labelling is no longer the only reliable route for communicating information to the consumer, as it once was. But it remains an effective tool.

The main objectives of any changes to the nutrition labelling legislation are:

  • to make key nutrition information more widely available and more easily understandable to the consumer
  • to create a level playing field for companies to compete

Technology is emphasizing this aspect. Augmented reality is bringing a new power to voluntary information that can be shared and giving a new dimension to the concept of “talking label” for food and wine.

If you are looking for any ideas about where the future is now or  or


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Download also: Ecolabel_for_food_final_reportlabelling-nutrition_better-reg_competitiveness-consumer-info_en

Legislating for a fairer food chain

The new EU law on unfair trading practices

The agriculture and food sector brings together businesses of hugely different shapes and sizes, from small-scale family farms to huge multinational enterprises. Large retailers and brands dominate the market, meaning that smaller suppliers are vulnerable to being treated unfairly.

This unfair treatment can include cancelling orders at the last minute and failing to pay on time – practices that create insecure incomes and poverty amongst suppliers whether they are based in the EU or around the world. Research has consistently demonstrated that the European food sector is rife with this kind of abuse, with a 2011 survey finding that 96% of food businesses had experienced unfair commercial practices.

Estimates suggest that this equates to an overall cost to food suppliers of €30-40 billion each year. In order to find these savings, businesses seek to reduce their costs in whichever way possible. They may compromise on food safety, wages or the terms of employment offered to workers.  This translates to poverty amongst those that work to put food on the shelves, and leaves consumers with no certainty that the food in their shopping basket is not the result of exploitation.

The new law, which received final sign-off in early April 2019, aims to tackle this situation and support suppliers of agricultural products to get a fairer deal from their trading relationships. I have picked out some of the key features of the law below.


To get an insight on the forward-looking EU regulatory trends on this issue: Download


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Conflicts among policies and integrated effort to have a common path

The new post-2020 Eu policy framework is starting with sound debate about ho to have a unique policy perspective on food.

What does it mean to talk about common food policy? Which are the conflict-areas and the overlapping that we are trying to overcome in shaping a new policy for food in Europe? This report shape a Common Food Policy for the European Union: a policy setting a direction of travel for the whole food system, bringing together the various sectoral policies that affect food production, processing, distribution, and consumption, and refocusing all actions on the transition to sustainability. It highlights the conflicting objectives of existing policies, and the potential for new synergies to be established. The report maps out a new governance architecture for food systems, and puts forward a concrete vision of the policy reform and realignment that is required in order to deliver sustainable food systems. The Common Food Policy vision draws on the collective intelligence of more than 400 farmers, food entrepreneurs, civil society activists, scientists and policymakers consulted through a three-year process of research and deliberation.


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Forecasting to Endcasting

Develop collaborative plans using timely information gathered from supply chain partners

When manufacturing is moved offshore, instead of forecasting demand two-to-three months into the future, now forecasters need to be thinking four-to-six months into the future and beyond. The longer the forecasting horizon, the less accurate the forecast will usually be.

Thus, one of the consequences of the trend to offshore manufacturing to low-wage countries is that the forecasts that are necessary to drive these longer lead times are usually less accurate than they would be if the manufacturing were taking place closer to the customer. When accuracy is lower, more inventory is needed to deliver acceptable service levels to customers. So offshoring has made forecasting more difficult. It also makes forecasting more important.

What is game-changing in the forecasting and demand planning realm is the ability of high end forecasting processes to “sense and respond” to dynamic and evolving customer or consumer behaviors.

According to Ernst & Young, to do this requires mining data from multiple sources including social media, public blogs, and relevant subscription based services, which provide this data (IRI, Neilsen, D&B, weather data, labor statistics) and modeled through analytical engines. These data are then processed and made relevant to the forecasting process to predict the sales of goods sold to customers at the right time and location (demand point). This demand signal is then rippled through the planning and decision support processes like Integrated Sales and Operations Planning and then through the actual execution from sales order processing to manufacturing execution.


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Talents from elsewhere

Food is the new black and it’s more and more an inter-sector aggregator for change.

New capabilities (for example, advanced data and analytics, robotics, and automation and software capabilities), new offerings (such as smarter products and full solutions built around them) and new operating models (for instance, enhanced after-sales and growth-focused strategies) taking inspirations from other sectors will become more and more relevant.

The European Cluster Observatory (2010) presented a definition for Experience Industries and understood the following six sub-sectors under this term:

■ Accommodation and tours

■ Food and drink services (restaurants, caterers etc.)

■ Gambling

■ Museums and parks

■ Sports and leisure

■ Arts.

Experience industries consider only services and not manufacturing for each of those sub-sectors.

About 9.8 million people in the EU and EFTA were employed in the context of experience industries in 2009, and with particular activity in Mediterranean regions (especially across the islands), Alpine regions, in Prague and in a few British Isles (Cluster Observatory, 2011). The definition of the industry, however, remains fuzzy and different experts include different areas under this category. Experience industries encompass all activities providing customers with “experiences that stimulate emotions and senses, move, entertain and surprise, thrill, enthuse and involve”. Those activities are mainly related to tourism, culture or leisure sectors and find themselves at a crossroad between culture, technology and business (PWC, 2013). It’s a strong signal of a trans-boundary approach to sectors and meta-clusters that will become the new basic item in industrial policy analysis, that in the last 10 years has grown as a long-lasting paradigm and it will increase the turbulence in transformational change within the food industry.


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Metaspace Economy and Food Industry Recombination

Most people refer to the recent economic turmoil as a “recession.” Rather what we’re currently going through is a fundamental global economic transformation.

Transformations are brought about by the convergences of new technologies that create efficiencies in existing businesses, create whole new ones, replace work and workers, open up entirely new vistas, and shift all the underpinning of societies. This transformation is similar to those that catapulted us from the Agricultural era into the Industrial, from the Industrial into the Post-Industrial, and then, in the early nineties, into yet another type of economy (which we named “The Emotile Economy” [a combination of emotion and motility] and we projected that it, too, would be transformed beginning around 2005).

Why are we undergoing this transformation? The major story here is the collapsing of time frames that separate the major transitions from one economy to another, from tens of thousands of years to decades (i.e. we were in the Agricultural era for thousands of years, the Industrial for hundreds, the Post-Industrial for ~50, and the Emotile for ~25). All these forces are recombining actors, competitors, allies and shape a new future for the overall background of the food industry.


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Transformational retail and disruptive distribution

Traditional distribution models continue to be disrupted by new players, innovative aggregators and an ongoing shift in how consumers expect buy and receive just about anything.

Traditional models of distribution get reinvented as business of all sizes seek more efficiency, build direct connections with consumers and rethink their own business models. Food industry is an open playground where initiatives are blooming. These new models are pushed by the usual suspects ( but are also defined as reaction strategy to new entrants (i.e. Uber

It includes also a higher attention to be paid to common inefficiency of the warehousing system: goods go out on schedule for when they are most needed and in interim millions of square feet of warehouse space sits unused.

McDonald’s launched a partnership with Uber to enable deliveries of McDonald’s food to people’s homes on demand. Deliveroo has created a new category of “kitchen-only” restaurants which can more easily be located in expensive suburban areas. The Redd on Salmon in Portland, Oregon, is a 2000 square feet of cold storage in the middle of the city where food producers can store products until they are ready to be distributed ( ) but it’s also a co-working space, an open kitchen and a cooking academy.


To know more: download A | download B


To get additional inspiration, visit:

Multi-dimension productivity

Driving up demand and pushing down costs. But maintaining a customer-oriented approach.

All too often operations target performance improvement in particular aspects of their operation without a clear appreciation of the relationship with other elements or the significance of improvement in regard to the ultimate aim. It is possible, for instance, continuously to refine and improve the production process and yet have no significant effect on sales (customer response) or cost savings.

Competitive pressures, outsiders-driven re-design of the core value chains in the food sectors and emerging inter-sector dynamics are heavily transforming the structure of the food sector, moving forward from a performance improvement within the operation can then be centred on (a) refining the process to produce the same product more efficiently/economically, or (b) adapting the process/product in response to changes in customer need. This is happening also in food service and catering, introducing a variety of innovative business models never known before.


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To get an insight on how to apply a customer-oriented approach to productivity: download

Reinassance in food processing and handling

Value-chain squeezing through innovation in food processing and handling

The food processing and handling (FP&H) equipment sector provides the systems, machinery, and equipment that help the food industry feed a global population approaching eight billion people. It is the behind-the-scenes enabler that quietly and efficiently moves food from field to factory and onto the plate. It is also a significant global industry that has been growing rapidly in recent years amid rising demand in emerging markets, changes in consumer lifestyles, and a transformative leap forward in technological capabilities.

Comprising three core subsectors—processing, packaging, and commercial food service equipment—FP&H represents a market of roughly $100 billion and has outperformed the broader industrial segment over the past five years.

As we look to the future, four powerful trends will create tailwinds for the sector and drive this acceleration of growth:

  • Emerging market growth, urbanization, and rising living standards. Steady growth in emerging markets, urbanization, and rising living standards are causing a dietary shift to higher-value-added product, fueling demand for processed and packaged foods and leading to higher equipment sales. Emerging markets are driving most of this growth, with Asia expected to contribute about half of global growth between 2017 and 2021.
  • Changing consumer preferences. An increasing focus on health (organic and healthier food) is driving product and menu expansion and the need for higher standards and traceability. There will likely be a new range of equipment for food production, requirements for higher machine standards, and a need for specialized systems (for example, radio-frequency-identification labeling) to ensure traceability and minimize spoilage.
  • Increased demand for convenience food. Increased demand for convenient “on-the-go” food presents a growth opportunity for the food service subsector—particularly in emerging markets—and is driving innovation in flexible packaging.
  • Operational challenges and cost pressures. Customers are demanding machines that improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and increase uptimes, leading to new requirements for automation, energy efficiency, and integrated solutions. These trends have significant implications for the sector. Rapid growth in emerging markets will lead to accelerating demand for higher-value-added foods that cater to local tastes and needs—requiring specialized machinery for processing, packaging, and service equipment.


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Productive Production

For the fifth straight year, global agricultural productivity growth is not accelerating fast enough to sustainably feed the world in 2050.

Unless this trend is reversed, the world may not be able to sustainably provide the food, feed, fiber and biofuels needed for a growing, more affluent global population. Productivity in agriculture is not just about producing more or achieving higher yields; it makes best use of natural resources, lowers costs for farmers, reduces loss and waste in the value chain and supplies food and agriculture products for consumers at lower prices. Improved food production relies heavily on public agricultural research and development (R&D) and extension systems as well as regulatory frameworks that incentivize risk-taking innovation and investment. Critical investments are needed in public policies such as research, improving trade, embracing science and information-technologies and public-private partnerships. The map of players and stakeholders is already under change and more is coming.


To know more: link (


To see industrial emerging strategies related to this trend: download


To get a 360-degrees scenario: download

Glocal Micro Systems

Narrow regional anchoring for the global competitiveness

The basic assumption in this scenario is that raw materials for food and drinks will be produced at the most optimal location and then are processed into a set of ingredients. Ingredients are a tradeable global commodity, but end user might define the meal solution (flavour, nutrition, volume, etc.). This stimulates innovations and change the relationships along the entire value chain. As the ingredient mixing process is being redefined it might shift from “mix and add water” to actual reconstructing more of the original characteristics of the raw materials. This potential for new food related products is almost infinite and will re-arrange inter-sector dynamics and the organisation of new integrated value chains (i.e. 3D machinery renting or “pay per ingredient” models that can develop different dialogue within the food chain management model, according a diverse mix of Global v/s Local (the direction is towards a cluster of glocal microsystems), and of the four business processes that are defining the value chain also for the Food Industry: Develop, Source, Make and Delivery.


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For a comparative scenario exercise: download

Open Source Sustainability for a New Industrial (R)evolution

Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and other innovations have the potential to revolutionize food systems but will introduce new challenges.

Technology innovations will dramatically reshape how we produce and manage food in select markets, but their effects will be unevenly distributed. Some of these technologies (e.g. big data & ICT, robotics, artificial intelligence) could be game-changing for food systems, contributing to radically new approaches along the agricultural value chain and beyond. Many of these technologies will take a decade or two to change food systems at greater scale. For this reason, and noting that many such technologies will be out of reach to most of the world’s population, the influence of technology in food systems elevates questions of access and control. The scenarios demonstrate that technology has the potential to exacerbate inequality if not directed with purpose at the needs of a global population. These futures also illuminate questions of governance. In an “Open-Source Sustainability” world, for instance, a broader-scale participation in innovation may disincentivize the type of proprietary research and development that incentivizes business risk and can address long-term challenges. Once again, this exploration of our potential futures reveals that many of their most concerning elements are a product of inaction – highlighting the dangers of a “business-as-usual” approach. Adapting to any of the scenarios will involve difficult decisions, investments and trade-offs in the short run. However, the cost of inaction is higher – and mutual benefits greater – in the long run. It is, therefore, imperative for leaders to take a systems-level view, examining the implications of all stakeholders’ choices for the future of food systems. These can inform structural changes and individual choices to secure a more positive future for food systems. A new era of business could capture market opportunities for investing in health and nutrition, contribute to greater resiliency in global markets, increase the resource efficiency of business operations, and leverage technology to address


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Multi-level and bottom-up policy design

Policy learning platforms and think thank are blooming. And now they start talking each other.

Which is the common basis for a future-proof food policy?

The FOOD 2030 Platform, connecting stakeholders in the European food system at multiple levels (cities/regions, countries, and Europe), is trying to make Research & Innovation (R&I) policies on Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) more coherent, build competences of current and future researchers, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, and society at large, and raise awareness of FOOD 2030. It’s a good insight of what is happening at EU, national and city level.

It’s just one of the platform where food policy is debated, created and examined. It enforces the trend of integrating users voice in policy making, and it enables the open accountability of politics and policies addressing food.


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To have a concrete example of policy building through platform:

Cities as self-regulatory bodies on food

The urban dimension of food policy is growing all around the world

All started in Milan, during EXPO 2015. Deeply committed to urban food policy issues, the city of Milano hosts the Secretariat of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP): an international pact of food security and sustainable development signed by 184 world cities.

More than 50 percent of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, a proportion that is projected to increase to 66 percent by 2050. How to provide healthy food for everyone in a sustainable way is a challenge affecting especially cities.

As cities grow, urban food demand has a huge impact on rural areas and agricultural supply chains. While urbanization presents opportunities for rural producers, many — especially smallholders in less developed countries — lack the resilience, resources, knowledge and infrastructure to access new markets. Building sustainable food systems will be increasingly dependent on actions taken at the city level to address these challenges and ensure access to decent food, mitigate climate change and combat obesity.


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Delivering on EU Food Safety and Nutrition in 2050

Future challenges and policy preparedness

Where is EU food regulation going? Which are the main challenges that policy is to be prepared at?

In this report, drafted in 2016 by the Joint Research Centre, are collected data and scenarios to aid policy makers in their assessment of the resilience of the current food policy and regulatory framework with a time horizon to 2050, contributing to ensuring that EU citizens continue to enjoy high standards of safe, nutritious and affordable food.

The study employed the methodology of scenario development. The scenarios were constructed based on different developments of specific drivers that can significantly impact and bring change to the food system; these are global trade, EU economic growth, agro-food chain structure, technology uptake, social cohesion, food values, climate change, depletion of natural resources and world population growth.

For each scenario, a number of food safety and nutrition challenges were identified and prioritised based on their importance and likelihood to occur. On this basis, scenario-specific policy options were developed as suggestions to policy-makers on how to address these challenges to ensure the resilience of the future EU food safety and nutrition regulatory framework. Research needs were also identified to complement the proposed policy options, as well as a set of food-chain related indicators that could inform in advance if the EU is headed towards one of the study’s scenarios.



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The Big Gamble

Will remain the food industry driven by convenience?

When imagining the future of the food sector, people often assume things will keep moving in the direction they have been in the recent past. This means we would see continued growth in global efforts to streamline the way food is bought, prepared, and consumed, and the spread of novel food products. While linear growth represents one potential shape of the future, we can learn from recent history that constraint, collapse, and transformation are other ways of thinking about how change can occur. Based on that, this document shows Four Futures of Food scenarios. Set in 2021, these scenarios are not predictions; the real future will likely be shaped by elements from each of them. They are designed to provoke thought about possibilities and inspire the readers to devise resilient responses to the shocks and uncertainties of the future.


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To practice with an interactive exercise, browse: