Yeah, I’ll have a salad with that…

The tone of American cultural discussions seems more and more polarizing regardless of topic, and discussing food is no different. While there are factions participating in the food dialogue that will forward the notion that “veggies are good, meat is bad,” the reality is that a significant segment of America likes steak and likes salad … together. Understanding how different preferences coexist and evolve—not just product preferences but issues regarding how food is produced and where it comes from—is key to understanding how the food system portfolio is shaped by the consumer and the role your end product has in it.

Demand will continue to increase.

We have all heard about the billions to feed globally in the decades ahead. Further complicating the effort to meet the increased demand are the production constraints that strain supply. Combined efforts that include advancements in agricultural technology, food production, processing, logistics and labor are all necessary to deliver healthy food options to the consumer. Expect more “moon shot” technology to impact Ag, including more robots monitored and driven by drones overhead. All of that plus a need to radically reduce food waste.

Scholarly support of GMOs.

Often opponents to a certain movement will declare the debate “over” in an effort to end opposition. No such luck with the discussion around Genetically Modified Organisms [GMOs], one of the most hotly debated food system issues during the past several years. A recent effort supporting the role of GMOs in the American food system came in the form of a letter directed at the environmental group Greenpeace from approximately 100 Nobel laureates. The scholars point out GMOs’ societal benefits of feeding more with less.

Organic continues to evolve and won’t stop anytime soon.

Keeping a close eye on the behavior of major food companies is a great way to get a sense of which food system trends will continue to evolve and those that won’t. As Kellogg Company, General Mills and Kashi work on plans to financially reward farms for dedicating acreage, it is clear that the organic trend continues to entrench itself in the mind of the American consumer. This trend will impact the strategies of forward-looking food companies for the foreseeable future.

C|O Insight: Support and cooperation is needed.

Continued advancements in technology and food production practices, along with local and national support, will be needed as the demand for fruits and vegetables, and historical mainstays like meat and potatoes, continues to evolve. More than ever, success will depend on making the best use of the existing land and resources, taking advantage of critical technologies and keeping an eagle eye on ever-shifting consumer preferences.

Interested in how these issues impact your business? Contact Mark Gale at mgale@co-nxt.com or call 262.563.5100.