Food of the future - what will we be eating in 10 years' time?

Amy Wood - Nutritionist | 19 Aug, 2022

A lot can change in 10 years, and our diets are no exception! I’ve taken a look at the trends sweeping through the nutrition industry in 2022 to gain an insight into how our eating will change over the next decade and predict which ones will shape our diets into 2032!

Healthy gut

Diet diversity for a healthier gut

Our understanding of the significance of gut health has expanded rapidly in recent years. We now realise how central the health of our gut is to a whole host of other health parameters, stretching way beyond digestion to immune function, cognition, and even mental health due to the network of connections between the gut and the brain (known as the gut-brain axis). The volume of food products appearing on supermarket shelves making claims to help 'gut health' has expanded at a remarkable rate, indicating how our awareness and interest in looking after our guts is growing.

We know that a greater variety of foods passing through the gut helps to diversify the different types of microbes living in our gut. This is important, as a more diverse gut microbiome is associated with improved gut health, making the microbiome more resilient.

The current UK guidelines encourage us to eat 5 different portions of fruit and veg a day, however we could see this begin to change as further research emerges. A large study by the American Gut Project found that people who eat 30 or more different plant foods a week have a more diverse gut microbiome than those who eat 10 or fewer [1]. This ground-breaking study has given practicing nutritionists and dietitians food for thought, and it’s likely we could see this concept of 'diversifying our diets' beginning to work its way into our everyday lives and informing our food choices.

Food variety

Food variety

In the same vein, the variety of foods available to us is likely to continue to grow and expand as our food systems become increasingly globalised. We have more access than ever before to exotic ingredients that were completely unheard of just a decade or two ago. Even looking closer to home at the produce we have in the UK – there's a good chance we’ll be taking more of an interest in the variety of foods we can access on home soil.

To experience new textures, it’s predicted that ‘aerated food’ will become much more prevalent in our diets. Think of foods like Aero chocolate, where air bubbles have been injected into the food structure to create a light texture. Food ‘futurologist’ Dr Morgaine Gaye anticipates this technique will make waves across food manufacturing, to cut down on costs (less food for same volume and lighter, making transport cheaper) and potentially improve health [2]. By adding air to food, a larger volume is occupied with the same amount of ingredients, which may help those of us looking to lose weight to lower the calories in our diets.

Personalised nutrition

Personalised nutrition

One of the biggest trends in all market sectors is the increased emphasis on personalisation. As consumers, we’re looking for a personalised experience in all aspects of our lives, from online quizzes to determine our optimal skincare routine, to custom-made shampoos, to film and media selected ‘just for us’ based on our preferences. And the food we eat is no exception.

It’s becoming more and more apparent that our genetics play a significant role in determining the best nutrition for our individual bodies, so genetic profiling to establish our optimal nutrient split for successful weight loss and overall health may become the standard. It’s projected that even our food shopping will become personalised from this information. By analysing blood samples and genetics to understand our risks of different diseases, it may become possible for us to access a tailored shopping list of food recommendations to achieve a diet that would help reduce our risk.

Wearable technologies like watches and monitors are likely to become commonplace, as well as the emergence of more sophisticated devices that track our biometrics. Tech company Lumen have developed a pioneering handheld breathalyser that provides a tailored analysis of your metabolism based on the levels of different metabolites in your breath. The company claims that from this information, they can determine what nutrients you’re using for energy, and exactly how much more/less of each one you should be consuming (down to the gram!) to optimise your overall health, but more specifically, your weight loss [3]. Interesting stuff!

Of course, not everything we eat will be based solely on what our bodies need – after all, eating is also a pleasure for the vast majority of us, on top of being a necessity. As we head into the next decade, it’s very probable we will continue to see mass-produced food products for everybody, but with personalised nutrition at our fingertips whenever we want it.


Plant-based a priority

This one may not come as much of a surprise – all you need to do is take a look round your local supermarket to see the huge variety of vegan and plant-focused foods on offer. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, 1 in 4 Brits have reported reducing their consumption of animal products, with 1 in 3 of us now regularly drinking a plant-based alternative to milk [4]. We’re clearly becoming increasingly aware of the benefits to our health and the environment when it comes to our food choices, and slowly moving away from a diet centred around meat and dairy. According to a Bloomberg Intelligence report, it’s forecast that the global plant-based food market will grow by a staggering $132 billion over the next decade [5].

Food security

Food security

The population is increasing at an alarming rate, and this isn’t expected to stop any time soon. This combined with global warming has caused our concern for a stable food supply to grow, and we’ve become forced to think up new strategies to ensure every mouth is fed. There are so many areas this could impact, from minimising our food waste to exploring new ways of growing food and accessing good quality nutrition for all.

This motivator is at the heart of most of the new and novel innovations we’re seeing in the food industry today. Proteins derived from insects would allow for a more efficient way to meet nutritional requirements than traditional meat farming, and even lab-grown meats could be off the ground and on supermarket shelves over the next decade.

Traditional farming across acres of outdoor land is slowly being replaced by vertical farming, an initiative that makes use of old warehouses and storage units in cities by converting them to space-saving stacks of crops. By growing food indoors, farmers and technologists can control the level of light, temperature, nutrients, space and other growth-determining factors that the plants receive. This improves efficiency and so crops can be harvested faster. The rate of produce isn’t at risk of being affected by season, poor weather conditions or contamination from pests [6].

It seems that more food on our plates will have come from these innovative sources over the next 10 years and beyond.

Nutritionist Amy Wood (ANutr), MSci BSc Nutrition has a keen interest in the relationship between diet and health. Having been published in the European Journal of Nutrition, Amy is passionate about making evidence-based nutrition accessible to everyone and helping others to adopt a food-focused approach to taking control of their health.

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