We want to understand what the future of food could look like in 2035, and how emerging trends could impact families on lower incomes. For example, what are the trends that will impact the food environment, and how might we use our funding and influence to improve people’s access to good food now, and in the future? Where there a trends toward negative changes in the food environment what can we do now to protect against these and the potential impact the have on children’s health?
School for International Futures (SOIF), specialists in helping organisations use projected insights about the future to make better strategic choices, are delivering the project. Using forecasting data, as well as insights from our local communities, they’ll help us to visualise future trends and understand how these might shape food environments and consumer habits.
We are most interested in how trends might be experienced across different income groups, so we can consider the opportunities to tackle, and risks of exacerbating, inequalities around access to nutritious food. By doing so, we want to create a set of potential opportunities that we can intervene through our programme.
Shift, in partnership with SOIF have led on bringing community perspectives into the project. They’ve shared some of the future trends research with local residents to understand their preferred version of the future and have interviewed ‘edge participants’ - people already exhibiting futuristic trends or behaviours to understand their perspectives.
March - May 2020
May - July 2020
July - August 2020
SOIF will research and scope possible, probable, and preferred futures that might impact food in cities over the next 15 years.
Research will explore how the food system currently operates and consider intersecting factors connected to food environments such as changes in employment, crowded and smaller living spaces and climate change.
Together, these factors will be analysed to explore what they could collectively mean for the future.
With support from Shift, potential future scenarios will be tested with our local communities through a workshops and interviews to understand whether they seem possible and preferable among residents. Participant discussions will also help guide us on the kinds of change that people would like to see to improve food environments in their day-to-day lives.
We want to communicate the outputs of the project with others working to improve the food system and children’s health. To do this, SOIF and Shift will create a set of messages and actions to enable non-participants in the project to understand the findings and the actions that have emerged from it.
We work to re-design the spaces where children and families spend their time to improve the flow of healthy, nutritious food options available for all. However, most of our projects are shaped in response to how the food market and businesses currently exist and operate.
We believe there are untapped opportunities to increase the long-term impact we have by mapping what the future of food could look like. By predicting future shifts and increasing our understanding of factors that will affect them, we can better anticipate changes and spot for opportunities.
It will allow us to spot for, and scale back, our efforts on projects that might not be relevant in the immediate future, and instead, accelerate towards other interventions that could have greater impact in the long term.
SOIF are the UK’s leading forecasting consultancy focused on public policy, public values, and public impact. Since 2011, SOIF have supported business, government and the third sector to explore future alternative scenarios and help partners act on their implications for decision-making.
Shift is a multi-award-winning design charity with over 10 years’ experience using research, design, and commercial thinking to help ambitious partners play their most effective role in addressing complex social issues.
Key questions that we aim to answer through this work are: