10 food trends that will disrupt the way we eat, cook and shop

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The world of food is changing. Technology has invaded food in a big way, from meal delivery to social media to online shopping, and there’s no turning back. Investors too are in the midst of a huge love affair with all things food. (And long may it continue! What’s more important than food?!) But where does the money go? And what other disruptions are to come? I dusted off my crystal ball to assemble 2022 Alt Protein Trend Predictions, but beyond making factory farming obsolete, here are more than ten food trends that I think will impact the way we eat, shop and cook.

1) The Q-Com grocery wars continue

But can I do my shopping in 5 minutes?! Quick Trade or Q-Com as the VC kids call it is going nowhere. Whether one is for (convenience, less waste) or against (destruction of neighborhoods, labor exploitation), it is difficult to imagine any reversal at this stage. But fast delivery and smarter logistics are just the entry point. Q-com is the start of a grocery store technology revolution. Think: concierge grocery services, nutritionist-backed suggestions, chef-assisted recipes and more.

2) Ethical convenience stores

Have you heard of Foxtrot? The Chicago-based company is revolutionizing the convenience store with what might be the best product curation in the world in terms of ticking every box of diversity and inclusion of Millennials and Gen Z – “plant-based first, 15% BIPOC, 20% local and 50% female-owned”. Not to give the impression that they are signaling virtue. I think a thoughtful and ethical product selection and local brands (like in locally made and locally owned products) will forever change future convenience stores (the second part of this prediction is that we will increasingly do our grocery shopping at convenience stores).

3) Conscious Meal Delivery

Delivering rejuvenating meals is now a thing. And I think there will be a lot more where that came from. If consumers want regenerated ingredients, then the demand for whole regenerated meals is coming, not to mention ethical deliveries and compostable packaging.

4) Better and more environmentally friendly packaging, please

Last year, I predicted that alternative protein brands would need to improve their packaging to appeal to conscious consumers. I was wrong. There was almost no innovation on this front. Packaging remains a massive blind spot when it comes to sustainability, but it looks like 2022 could be a turning point (and consumers are finally willing to pay for it). I’m so passionate about sustainable packaging that I even started a company to address these issues, so I’m definitely biased.

5) Welcome to the Trash Renaissance

Food waste has never been so sexy. In the last quarter of 2021, quite a slew of headlines announced new food brands made from waste – you can even get recycled certification now. I think in 2022 it will explode. 50% of all food produced is wasted. And that’s not counting what can be done with post-consumer food waste (potato peelings, uneaten bread, etc.). Huge realm of opportunity here, both for founders AND investors.

6) Tik Tok restaurants and influencer foods are HERE

Forget chefs and entrepreneurs, social media influencers are the new food creators and restaurant founders. With those under 25 now spending most of their time on social media (read: Tik Tok) and ignoring most mainstream news media platforms (a 21-year-old foodie I spoke to last month had never heard of Gordon Ramsay), this can only become a huge trend. Beware of celebrity chefs.

7) Web3 x Food Is A New Gastro Frontier

I’m far from an expert here, but there’s a ton of cool stuff like NFT restaurants, DAO drink brands, and mint pantries. Learn about this exciting new world from a real expert (not me).

8) Supply chain recruitment is ramping up

Between rising inflation (the economy), soaring agricultural input prices (climate change), and general rising food prices (the pandemic, everything), managing your supply chain is become one of the most difficult aspects of running a food business. My gut tells me that we will see MANY more supply chain managers hiring supply chain consultants as companies seek to navigate these choppy waters.

9) Blockchain-powered traceability will happen

It’s one that’s been in the works for a few years now, but I’m still very optimistic. I will live to see a world where everything I buy is carbon labeled AND blockchain technology. The only question is how we will get there. It’s super complicated, that’s why it hasn’t happened yet. But it’s ongoing and a lot of money/talent is going into it.

10) Precision Fermentation Everything Else Happens

Dairy alternative precision fermentation startups are making headlines. But here’s what excites me beyond animal-free cheese and ice cream: the precision fermentation of everything else, from eggs to chocolate to coffee to palm oil, this technology is still there. in its infancy and I predict many more launches yet unknown food categories using it.

Main image courtesy of Virtual Dining Concepts.

About Jonathan Bell

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