Flexitarians on the rise, according to City Food Lecture

New ways of eating meat were addressed at this year’s City Food Lecture at the Guildhall in London. 

In his speech “What, When and How will we be eating in 2025?”, Christophe Jouan, chief executive of The Future Foundation, said there may be a rise in ‘flexitarians’ - people who monitor their meat consumption due to health, price or environmental concerns.

“Major new protein innovations will aid this behaviour, including the ‘impossible burger’, a cheeseburger which replicates the taste and texture of meat but is made entirely from hacked plant proteins and ‘sea-bacon’ a fast-growing red algae which grows in the Atlantic which has the taste and texture of bacon when cooked.”

He added that the uptake of wearable health monitoring devices could mark the end of “one-size –fits-all” health initiatives and instead deliver personalised insights to consumers about what they need to do in that moment for their health and nutrition needs.

“Equipped with far greater knowledge about the impacts of different food choices, he predicted that offsetting behaviour will become mainstream - people will balance indulgence in one area with restraint in another, perhaps justifying a burger by going to the gym.”

Jouan also predicted the rise of “invisible commerce” in the food sector with smart kitchen appliances reordering basic food and household items when they run out, without the consumer even noticing.

He suggested this could revolutionise purchasing habits and create incredible “brand stickiness” for companies who use it successfully.

He saw this as the final step on the race to convenience for the food industry, preceded by new disruptive food buying mechanisms which deliver meal ingredients or even freshly cooked, locally sourced meals directly to consumers - bypassing the traditional retailer.
“Invisible commerce is a complete revelation and one that is very real. The concept that you when we’re running low on food, technology can sense that and automatically reorder it for you and have it delivered is huge for food and commerce as a whole.”

There was also a debate, chaired by British lawyer, businesswoman and former star of the BBC’s The Apprentice, Margaret Mountford, featuring Judith Batchelar, director of brands at Sainsbury’s, Chris Elliot, a Professor of Food Safety at the University of Belfast and food writer and futurologist, Lyndon Gee.

The City Food Lecture is organised by seven City of London livery companies whose roots are in the food industry – namely the Worshipful Companies of Bakers, Butchers, Cooks, Farmers, Fishmongers, Fruiterers and Poulters.

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