What is the Future of Food?
In recent years, rising obesity rates, a crushing disease burden, and the direct impact of what we eat on our health has moved food to the forefront of health discourse. Food nourishes and sustains us, but it also impacts our health, environment, and politics in critical ways. We are pleased to announce the public release of IFTF's 2007 map of The Future of Foodscapes, which explores the major trends shaping the future of food.
We use the term "Foodscapes" to talk about the layers of global flows of people, technologies, ideas, money, and ethics that will play a role in shaping the future of food. The map is organized into four zones of change, which act as compass points forming the overall shape of the future of foodscapes. The zones of change are:
The Global Health Economy: People are turning to the broader marketplace—rather than just the traditional health care delivery system—for solutions to their health needs. The definition of healthy is expanding, and as we move toward a world of more healthy lifestyles, everything we eat and drink will be viewed through a health lens.
Trade and Finance: From fruit to coffee, consumers around the world expect to have a wide selection of food and beverage choices available to them at relatively low prices. Yet as demand grows for the global movement of food, livestock, and agricultural commodities, regulatory and infrastructural bottlenecks are emerging. Often-conflicting international public and private safety standards are proliferating and facing scrutiny in light of recent food scares.
Technology: Technological developments are affecting how people make choices about what they eat and drink, as well as how food and beverages are produced and distributed. As mobile platforms advance, consumers will rely on both user-generated tagging and producer-generated labeling at the point of purchase to filter information and expose companies' production, transportation, and marketing practices. Technological advancements will radically change many of the social and cultural components of food production, consumption, and distribution.
Sustainability: The politics of sustainability is a critical factor in understanding the intersection of food and health in our foolscap. New "footprints" that measure the environmental impact of food production are growing in importance in the eyes of consumers, governments, and corporations. This adds a new, qualitative dimension to food production beyond the quantitative measures of food we've seen in the past, leading everyone from governments to consumers to evaluate foods for their long-term sustainability.
To learn more about IFTF's Global Food Outlook Program, contact John Clamme | firstname.lastname@example.org | 650-233-9517
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