IFTF + You
Food Futures Lab
The global food system is reaching human and planetary limits. Chronic disease, rampant food waste, and environmental degradation are creating unprecedented constraints. However, over the next decade, entrepreneurs, farmers, chefs, and eaters will seize new opportunities to respond to these challenges.
IFTF’s Food Futures Lab identifies and catalyzes the innovations that have the potential to reinvent our global food system. Positioned at the center of Silicon Valley, California’s agricultural powerhouses, and the Bay Area’s dynamic food culture, IFTF's Food Futures Lab is embedded in an epicenter of food innovation and have ties to other innovation hubs in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. From this ideal location, we seek to understand the motivations, drivers, and impacts of food innovation, and to align the minds and resources shaping the future of food. We impart a shared understanding of how to take the long-term view—one that encompasses multiple scales, uncertainties, and radically different possibilities for the future of food.
Join us as we collaboratively forecast the future of food.
When you become a member of the Food Futures Lab, we help you make sense of emerging technologies, social behaviors, and scientific breakthroughs that will transform the global food system—and we help you take action toward a more resilient, equitable, and delicious future of food.
The IFTF Food Futures Lab:
- Maps new technologies, social behaviors, and scientific breakthroughs that will transform the global food system.
- Develops foresight based on research and futures thinking methodologies.
- Immerses stakeholders in possible futures through maps, videos, and artifacts from the future.
- Convenes multi-stakeholder exchanges and facilitates creative thinking about the future of food.
- Bridges community initiatives, leading-edge innovators, and large organizations for robust research and collaboration.
- Catalyzes action to make the future today.
2016 RESEARCH—Transforming the Experience Economy of Food
We live at a time of unprecedented opportunity for experimentation and transformation of our food experiences. The food innovation efforts of recent years are creating a proliferation of ways to grow, access, cook, and eat food around the world. The rapidly changing and expanding demands and expectations on food are also opening new ways to create and capture value across food systems. And as we look to 2026, the very contexts in which we engage with food—our homes, at work, in retail and community spaces, and everywhere in between—will amplify and give meaning to the change we want to see for ourselves and the world around us.
How can we prepare today and seize the opportunities for transforming food experiences in the next decade? We need a new discipline for designing food experiences—a practice of human-food interaction design that integrates the relationships between humans, their food, their aspirations, and the contexts in which they eat. Just as human-computer interaction design expanded the scope, accessibility, and experience of computing over the past decades, transforming our food experiences has the potential to transform our future food system.
In 2016, IFTF's Food Futures Lab will map the emerging future forces that will transform our food experiences, focusing at the intersections of our changing expectations and demands for food and the contexts in which we experience it.
Changing expectations and demands for food
People are hungry for delicious food experiences that connect with their values and aspirations, deliver safe and healthy food for all, and foster social interaction. Innovators are developing new ways to meet these expectations, such as biosensors that test food safety and virtual reality tools that allow us to explore a food’s origin from afar. If we imagine the full range of future food experiences, from packaging and branding to logistics, we can envision a tapestry of ways to dynamically meet these demands and expectations—and create new visibility into the impacts of our food choices that today are not always apparent.
Changing contexts for food experiences
These food experiences are shaped by the contexts of our lives, each with their own affordances and constraints, which are also undergoing rapid transformation. Technology in the home is changing how we engage with our environments for safety, entertainment, and connection. In many places around the world, the concept of a workplace is radically different than just a few years ago. Retail channels are diversifying and fragmenting as the lines between producing, shopping, and eating blur. And schools, hospitals, prisons, and community centers are responsible for the food experiences of some of our most vulnerable populations.
Join us as we map the Experience Economy of Food
We’ll explore the threats and opportunities at the intersections of our changing expectations and demands for food and the contexts for food experiences, asking questions like:
- How will eaters make tradeoffs between price, convenience, taste and need for food system transformation? ?
- How can brands build cohesive food experiences across multiple engagement points?
- How will transparency and abundant data impact the process and formulation design of foods themselves?
- How could the technologies of the next decade enhance trust and expand the loyalty of eaters with their food choices?
- How will roles and responsibilities change in this new ecosystem?
- How can we design food experiences that overcome urgent challenges such as food access and security?
- How might we redesign the experience of the people working in the food industry—from farmers to fast food workers to R&D scientists and grocery store clerks?
In 2016, the Food Futures Lab will map the future forces shaping the next decade of human-food interaction and design. This map will forecast transformative food experiences across the changing contexts of eaters’ lives, including the home, at work, in retail and community spaces, and everywhere in between.
TOOLKIT FOR FUTURE FOOD EXPERIENCE DESIGN
As a companion piece to the map, we will provide a toolkit for human-food interaction design. This process will help you imagine the needs and desires of future eaters to begin designing for future food experiences today.
EXCLUSIVE MEMBERS-ONLY RESEARCH BRIEFING
This is your chance to hear from the Food Futures Lab firsthand about our research. Invite your entire team and others from across your organization to join us virtually on September 22, 2016. We'll also provide resources you can share internally throughout your organization.
CROSS-INDUSTRY FORESIGHT WORKSHOP
Join us at IFTF’s Future Gallery in Palo Alto for a one-day workshop on October 13, 2016, to engage in the forecasts and the process for future food experience design to help you draw insights for your own business strategy. This is an opportunity to engage with IFTF researchers, a cross-industry network, and members of the Bay Area ecosystem to inform your work.
REGULAR SIGNALS UPDATES
The Food Futures Lab offers regular exclusive updates of the latest signals of change.
Foresight for global food innovators
In addition to our research, we're catalyzing long-term futures thinking with a global network of food innovators. From founding the first-of-its-kind Food Innovation Program with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Future Food Institute to shaping challenges at the Food Hackathon: Nutrition for All, our foresight inspires people around the world to build new solutions for urgent food futures. Contact Rebecca Chesney (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about our special projects and how to collaborate with us.