Since the start of our new century, the cooking culture has been developing rapidly. Cooking was and still is hot. Yet, over time and generations, the cooking culture has evolved on many levels, think for instance of cooking with insects that is getting hotter.
We see lots of trends emerging, coming and going, even kitchen interiors being transformed into technology. It’s key for brands to anticipate changes in consumer behavior, in needs and in values. Anticipate the future generations. As Joeri Van den Bergh shares in his Who’s up NXT talk, this next generation of consumers is less patient, they dream of a better world and their focus lies on consuming less. They are real entrepreneurs who love making and creating and prefer organic fresh products to preservatives. We are talking about a me-economy where failure is an option.
These characteristics contain a lot of opportunities for the future of food consumption. How will the needs of the next generation of consumers, keen hobby chefs or future housewives or househusbands be filled in? Let’s have a look!
IKEA concept kitchen
The IKEA concept kitchen is a nice starting point which offers solutions to future problems, needs and wants. This concept has been developed based on ample market research. Despite the fact that this is a test concept/idea, it is definitely interesting to check out the general results of this survey. Both social trends & issues and design & innovation are impacting the product’s development. The concept’s vision is the following:
“Spending more time with one another, which will be a priority in the society of 2040. Seamlessly integrated technologies interacting intelligently with users, where devices monitor and anticipate our physical, emotional and mental needs for a healthier and happier state of being.”
Hot tweetaway: How will we behave around food in the future? insit.es/2jZ3NgA according to @IKEA & @IDEO via @CoolBrands #futurekitchen #nextgen
The next generation of consumers will gather in the kitchen where a tasty meal will magically appear on the table rapidly and efficiently, with the help of highly technological developments. The kitchen will not do the thinking for us but it will think together with us, so claims IKEA. After all it is typical for Generation Z to want to do/make something themselves. It is no longer about status and power but about entrepreneurship, about “I’m making it myself” and about the experience and emotionality
“Earth-friendly; high-tech; colorful; designed for fresh, healthy food preparation; and all about convenience-meets-multifunctionality.”
But this is just an idea, a concept; can it be realized or not? IKEA’s market research is a step towards the future, a nice start for a thought stream. Kitchen products or utensils are produced with different characteristics and functions which we can already link to Generation Z’s needs and characteristics.
Nutri Pulse E-cooker
Ever heard of the Nutri Pulse E-cooker? In the Netherlands the first scientific edition of the Nutri Pulse E-cooker has been available since august 2015; further scientific research will be realised on it. Years were spent on the development of this device. It already won an Innovation Award and is now ready for further development and research.
This device prepares food such as fish, meat, potatoes, vegetables and fruit with electric or high tension pulses. It has already been referred to as a replacement for the microwave oven. It uses the so-called Pulsed Electric Fields technology. The device offers many new possibilities and advantages. As for durability, it ensures a lower average energy consumption in comparison with the alternatives as well as less loss of raw materials. The quality is guaranteed by a better food value, more aroma, color and flavor. As for innovation, it is a highflyer. You can prepare food in mere seconds, which could lead to a huge change in logistics in the catering & food sector. And it is also described as safe, as there is no risk of burning food and it is microbiologically safe because of the homogenous warming up of food.
They rapidly add that the process is safe for food preparations. Thanks to this science edition, scientists will do detailed research on the effects of e-cooking on different aspects of the food, from texture over food value and aroma and flavor to energy consumption.
As described above, this provides many opportunities for the catering sector, the target group which is currently focused on. But thanks to further scientific research, the regular consumer is now also taken into account.
Hot tweetaway: The future of food consumption? E-cooking… insit.es/2jZ3NgA by @CharlRottiers via @CoolBrands #nextgen #futurefood
What about 3D food printing?
The 3D print technology already allows us to print meals. Just like regular printers, the device is using ink cartridges, but they contain different powdered basic ingredients, such as sugar, carbohydrates and proteins. These powders are then mixed with water and oil on the printer head, based on a digital recipe. That was the description given in 2003; however the process has evolved much since then! But let’s not go into this technological approach for now.
How far are we currently with 3D food printing and how could this evolve even further? First and foremost it is important to consider this device’s advantages for the future. 3D food printing offers some durability advantages. First it offers a solution to food spilling as any protein source can be used: algae, grass, lupine and insects. This could entail a true revolution in the protein transition, a nice solution for values which NextGen considers to be so important.
A second advantage is the fact that the software can adapt the printed food entirely to an individual’s age, gender and medical disorders. That way many target groups can be served. E.g. a new food concept has been developed for the elderly, as many of them are having chewing or swallowing issues, due to old age or after a stroke. These issues can even occur in youngsters who suffer from certain conditions. These people often receive food which does not always look very appetizing and appealing, as they cannot eat any solid food. Food is a challenge for these people, so they often lose their appetite.
The Performance project has researched the nutritional needs of these people as well as their preferences in meal choice, food and packaging. Thanks to the European Union, a 3-year project could be realized, the target of which was the development of personalized food and packaging in line with the needs of the elderly and with social relevance. This tackles issues such as chewing and swallowing. Make the world a better place; this is an example of how technology solves new problems over and over again.
In the future, 3D food printing will improve even further, in line with future technological developments; the user-friendliness will increase and it will supply a larger contribution both to society and to food shortages.
Finally, many new trends are clearly in full development in the cooking culture and the next generation’s characteristics and needs are being expressed. Technological evolutions entail more efficient and quicker devices and applications. Time and time again new steps are taken to bring us closer to each global issue. High tech turns into new tech. New investments in technology allow to strive for more efficiency and lower production and treatment costs, making trends affordable and useable.