XT … IFTF Food Innovation Report

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:

Scalable Biodiversity

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.

Cloud Intelligence

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

Experimental Biodesign

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.

Rewritable Narrative

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.

Engaged Eaters

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
societal-scale impact.

A recipe book for food innovation

To explore these emerging ingredients and how they can be leveraged to make food systems change, IFTF’s Food Futures Lab created this report, 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?

Use the recipe book to accelerate and amplify food innovation

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.

Download the file for XT … IFTF Food Innovation Report