Recipes for Food Innovation
Food Innovation: Recipes for the Next Decade
A recipe book to help you accelerate and amplify change across the food system
Some recipes are passed down from generation to generation, becoming long-standing traditions. Others invite us to explore new regions or inspire us to reinvent our bodies. They even encourage us to reimagine the food spaces in our lives, from our kitchens to our marketplaces. The power of recipes is the power to combine ingredients in novel ways.
As we look at the complex global threats we face over the coming decade, from environmental disasters to income inequality to political conflict, we must consider what Institute for the Future calls ingredients for change—capacities, tools, and platforms to reinvent food experiences that have the greatest potential for transformation:
Toward robust ecosystems in the gut, factory, and field
The ability to tap millions of species across scales from microbes to watersheds will open up new possibilities for the future of food.
Toward decentralized, efficient management of food systems
The capacity to connect food, people, tools, and data together in vast networks will result in more efficient, more productive, and more responsive food systems
Toward reinventing food experiences and food systems
The ability to harness the biological building blocks of food will allow us to design new food experiences that reorient our paradigms—building from the organism up.
Toward open food stories
Food narratives will be told across more mediums, become more open to remixers who leverage technology for writing and personalization, and shift faster than ever before.
Toward eater-led reinvention of the food system
New ways to engage eaters will create a food system rooted in values of sustainability, health, sociality, and pleasure.
When combined into recipes of innovation, these ingredients for change can have
To explore these emerging ingredients and how they can be leveraged to make food systems change, IFTF’s Food Futures Lab created Food Innovation: Recipes for the Next Decade, a book of recipes for food innovation. It introduces you to the five ingredients for change—each of which contains three forecasts supported by today’s early signals of change—and five catalysts for transformation.
At the intersections of these ingredients and catalysts are new recipes for food innovation that will shape our food system and our world a decade or a century from now. These recipes strike a balance between science and artistry, constraint and abundance, tradition and invention. And they help cultivate a shared ethos rooted in openness and participation, inviting unfamiliar actors, from blockchain architects in the cloud to biodesigners with a taste for protein, to join in food system change. You can experiment with the recipes in this book and use the questions we pose to create your own, incorporating your unique resources and a affordances to make the kind of changes you want in the foodscapes you inhabit.
We have created six companion Artifacts from the Future—tangible, concrete, and experiential images to help you immerse yourself in various possibilities of future food innovation across our ingredients. Explore these artifacts and think about how they support or challenge your view of the future. What emotions do they elicit? How could you play a role in creating these futures?
Cocktails from the Future inspired by Ingredients for Change
The origin story of cocktails is really a story about food innovation: Sir Frances Drake was stranded outside of Havana with a ship full of sick sailors. With limited ingredients on-board, Drake concocted a likely precursor to the mojito to stave off scurvy and set sail once again. Inspired by this ingenuity, IFTF's Food Futures Lab created a book of Cocktails from the Future. These recipes reimagine old favorites featuring the future ingredients found in Food Innovation: Recipes for the Next Decade. Cheers!
Use our recipe book to accelerate and amplify food innovation
Download our 21st century recipe book to learn more about these ingredients for change and how you can leverage them to make the kinds of change you want to see in your organization, community, and the planet.
The book contains 15 forecasts that provide opportunity zones for the future, 25 sample recipes for food innovation, and 5 deep-dive exercises to help you write your own recipes for food innovation.
Immerse in the ingredients for change to imagine possibilities for the next decade. Each ingredient includes three forecasts about how it will potentially transform the food system and a set of signals, early indicators or disruptions that point to directions of change emerging today.
Explore the five catalysts for each ingredient to map the different ways to leverage the most innovative potential.
Experiment with new recipes for food innovation—pathways to overcome limits, transform our food experiences, and meet complex global challenges. Recipes for food innovation emerge when we leverage the ingredients with catalysts to accelerate and amplify transformation.
Create your own recipes for food innovation, incorporating your unique resources and a affordances to make the kind of changes you want in the foodscapes you inhabit.
Work with IFTF experts to build foresight capacity in your organization
The Food Futures Lab has created a dynamic process that combines the ingredients for change forecasts with our Foresight Toolkit, a series of futures thinking exercises developed over IFTF’s 50-year history. Together, we can help you identify the opportunities for innovation that have the most potential to impact your organization. Contact Rebecca Chesney for more information about engaging with IFTF expert forecasters and facilitators to create your own recipes for innovation.
"There was a degree of naive apprehension before going into the process in that, 'would these views of the future just be pie in the sky? or would they really direct us as a company to designing our future?' that apprehension has been replaced by a sense of real satisfaction that these esoteric theories are really becoming a beacon for how we direct our company. What has played out is a process which enables the company to lift their eyes to our longer term horizon and therefore have more confidence in our longer term future."
- Daniel Derrick, General Manager of Marketing, Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing
The Food Futures Lab at Institute for the Future cultivates a community of changemakers who use food as a medium for transformation. We draw connections across their stories to forecast unexpected possibilities for the global food system, and we provide them with tools for thinking about the kinds of futures they’re building. Using methodologies developed over 50 years, we challenge assumptions and reveal new opportunities to make a resilient, equitable, and delicious future of food.