Last week, USA Today published a piece where they looked at what our relationship to food will be in the future. It's an interesting trip through the world of hypotheticals, and well worth the look. Among their predictions are that healthier food will taste better, farm-to-table will "trickle down" and become the standard method of sourcing, and consumers will trade in "fad diets" for simply consistent ways of eating.
Now, I have my own opinions on their prognostications -- as long as humans are human, they'll always be looking for ways to take shortcuts when it comes to looking good, meaning fad diets aren't going anywhere -- but it did seem like the experts failed to address a few important ways our eating habits will change.
So, here are some predictions of my own.
Non-GMOs Will Be Boldly Labeled
The battle over GMO labeling isn't going away anytime soon. The anti-GMO contingent is gathering up enough forward momentum to stick the course while Monsanto and friends have enough money to keep their defense up. This is one of those "immovable object versus irresistible force" scenarios. But there's a huge wild card looming that will institute change themselves: The food companies. When enough of the public demands labeling, food companies will simply circumnavigate the need for law by printing proclamations that their products don't contain GMOs, thereby implying that those unwilling to make the claim do. "No GMOs" will become the new "No Trans Fat."
Bugs Will Be On Menus
Eating bugs is not going mainstream anytime soon, but it's gotten enough mainstream publicity over the past years that trendier restaurants will incorporate them into a dish or two. Not only will it generate publicity for their establishment, but it will allow them to (1) let everyone know how much they care about the environment; and (2) not hurt their bottom line, seeing as bugs are such a low-cost item. Basically, any restaurant that doesn't dip their toe into this at some point in the next decade just isn't doing their job correctly.
Soda Will Cost Twice As Much
The national soda tax isn't going to happen overnight. Instead, it's going to be smaller, more progressive communities like Berkeley or West Hollywood instituting it first in order to raise a few extra tax dollars. And then, everyone else will take a look, see that citizens haven't lost their minds over it, and large cities like San Francisco or Santa Monica will follow suit. Ultimately, states will get into the mix, and then it's just a matter of time before the entire nation does as well.
Meat Will Be A Treat
One of the possibly apocryphal "facts" that's always stuck with me is that baseball players who are born in poor Central American countries end up gaining 15 pounds when they sign with an MLB team and start living in the U.S. Why? Because they finally have enough money to eat meat, and so they end up indulging a bit too much. The thing that interests me most is the disconnect between living in America and poorer countries. Here, you barely need any money to eat meat. But that's going to change. Raising large numbers of animals for food is hurting our planet in a whole variety of ways, and that will necessitate a change in how we view meat. In a few decades, meat will no longer be just a part of the dinner plate. It will be a bit of a delicacy.
Fast Food Workers Will Get Their Union
This is simply a numbers game. When you have nearly four million people working in the same industry, and that industry starts to shift towards unionization, well, that's simply too many people to ignore. One of these days, it's going to get done. And when it does, there's no telling how the rest of the industry will change.
Want recipes and food news emailed directly to you? Sign up for the new Food newsletter here!