The IFTF Blog
Global Food Outlook Goes to Brazil
If you want to understand the future of food, Brazil is one of the most important and interesting places in the world to look. Brazil’s food production capabilities are growing rapidly, as is its affluent new middle class, and it’s also quickly becoming a global tastemaker. Additionally, it’s major center of food and food policy innovation. For these and other reasons, we chose Brazil as one of the four focus areas in our 2011 GFO work. This November, Global Food Outlook Program Co-Director Bradley Kreit, Social Change Agent David Evan Harris (our resident Brazil expert), and I had the good fortune to be invited to go to Brazil and share that research with, and spend time learning from, a Brazilian foresight group, the Center for Strategic Studies and Management (CGEE), and a government food technology research organization, the Institute of Food Technology (ITAL). Connecting with these two organizations, who do amazing work was a great opportunity for us to discuss different methods of forecasting, as well as the future of food technology, which is the focus of our 2013 GFO research.
We kicked off our trip with a visit to CGEE’s headquarters in Brasilia, where we presented research and discussed forecasting with their team. CGEE President Marcio Santos de Miranda and Technical Advisor Antonio Carlos Guedes explained a number of interesting futures methodologies. For instance, CGEE develop a methodology for using text mining as a tool to map trends by combing academic writings and patent applications for word frequency and other patterns and subtle relationships in data.
We also learned about an ambitious project they’re currently undertaking, to forecast the future food production in Brazil and other select countries in the year 2050—more than two decades beyond what we typically forecast at IFTF (though we do make exceptions).
On our second day, we participated in a symposium, Food: a Vision of the Future for Brazil, where we presented forecasts and discussed long-term challenges and opportunities for Brazil’s food industries. CGEE’s Antonio Guedes and ITAL Director Luis Madi and Technical Coordinator of Innovation Platforms Raul Amaral Rego presented research as well, and were kind enough to give us an amazing tour of the ITAL facilities. Their campus has a number of fascinating labs, focused on microbiology, chemical, physical, and sensory research where ITAL innovates new light and functional food creations,such as a light, collagen and protein enhanced burger.
The trip provided us with a great head start on next year’s GFO research and connections with two innovative organizations in Brazil we hope to work with for many years to come.
Photos by Antonio Carriero - ITAL.