Consumer Demand

Consumers are demanding more, not less, of their food system and are ultra-focused on health, nutrition and “designed-for you” food and beverage products. Readily available meal kits and personalized dining options cater to the latest diet trends like clean, paleo, gluten-free, primal, and Mediterranean, challenging food processors, retailers, and restaurateurs to keep pace. Digestive wellness is being propelled by new ingredients and backed by emerging science. How will the food and beverage industry meet the needs of the ultra-demanding, health conscious, nutrition-focused consumer of the future?

Rural Livelihood

Nearly 75% of the world lives in urban areas. Food and agriculture is still the #1 economic driver in rural areas. The rise of vertical integration, combined with aging infrastructure and capital access challenges, however, has lead to greater centralization in the agri-food market. How will advancements in broadband connectivity, emerging opportunities for investment and entrepreneurship, and a focus on regional community development strategies revitalize the future of rural communities, residents, and businesses?

Advanced Technology

Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology continue to be deployed across the agri-food supply chain. Advancements in robotics, sensors, and imaging equipment are creating unprecedented autonomy and efficiency in operations from field to fork. What new business models and innovation opportunities will emerge as a result of a highly integrated, sequenced, autonomous supply chain?

Climate & Environment

Changing precipitation patterns and rising temperatures are disrupting growing regions. Growers are forced to adapt cultivation, irrigation, and pest control practices for existing crops. New commodities and specialty products are being grown to accommodate shortages in other regions. Food companies are going to extremes, buying large tracts of land to ensure strict sustainability standards are being met, including cover crops, crop rotations, and soil-building practices. How will the agri-food supply chain adapt and become resilient to the ever-growing climatic and environmental pressures?

Workforce & Talent

Driven by an aging farm population and a labor pool limited by workforce preferences and training gaps, the agri-food sector moves toward greater automation and seeks to shift education models and talent pipelines. Where will the skilled workforce and talent equipped to meet the demands of the changing agri-food sector come from?