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A Recipe for the Future of Food: TBWA’s Backlash Releases New Report

Advertising Agency
New York, USA
Climate change, optimised health, and freedom of choice were identified as the most influential ingredients driving spend in the category

Sourcing ingredients (knowledge and insights) from 42 culture spotters across the globe, today Backslash — the cultural intelligence unit of TBWA — has cooked up the fourth report in its ‘Future of’ series. More than an observational report, the ‘Future of Food’ outlines clear opportunities for businesses to capture a greater share of the future. 

This report comes at a crucial time, as food is finding itself at the centre of today’s most urgent issues - ranging from climate change to social justice. This means that food is no longer being assessed as a standalone industry, but as a key ingredient in the push toward a brighter future.  

Sharing her insights within the foreword, renowned food journalist, author, and cook, Alicia Kennedy, noted: “There is no one-size-fits-all solution for bringing the global food system in line with climate science, ecological limits, and cultural sensitivity. That’s why it’s so important to bring every category together into one report - where ideas can cross pollinate. What is necessary for a better food future for all is that we build a coalition determined to deliver the abundance we need.” 

Kimberlee Wells, global practice lead of TBWA\Sustain – the specialist division dedicated to helping businesses realise the commercial potency of sustainability - continues: “Food is facing higher stakes than ever before with almost a third of global consumers (30%) choosing to boycott a food brand due to its ethical credentials. The Future of Food Report helps brands understand cultural shifts shaping the industry – like sustainability, so they can not only better anticipate change, but unlock disruptive growth opportunities too.”

TBWA uses a hybrid of strategy and data analysis to anticipate cultural change. It does this in part through its newest proprietary research tool, the Disruption Index. The Index processes survey responses from almost 8,000 participants in 18 countries to analyse Backslash’s key cultural shifts, and explore how they are influencing consumer awareness and behaviour. 

One of four key topics in the easily digestible report includes: 

Food under review: The search for “good” food is now a search for ethical, sustainable, and inclusive food. 

● While impressive technique and perfect plating may have been the markers of a good meal in the past, critical social and environmental issues are now requiring us to judge food through a more responsible lens. 

● This heightened scrutiny will bring a rise in carbon-labelled products, tighter restrictions on beef, and a renewed appreciation for heritage dishes. 

DISRUPTION INDEX ANALYSIS: “Spending money in a way that supports sustainability” was the third most significant driver for buying behaviour in food and beverage, with the decision to prioritise social and environmental good over convenience just outside the top five trends across all categories. 

The report also covers other topics, including:  

Food RX: Increasingly blurred lines between food and pharma are changing not only what we eat, but why we eat.  

Beyond consumption: As our food system gets an interactive redesign, passive consumers will become active participants.  

Tech’s Kitchen: Technology’s role in food is being elevated. 

The full report can be downloaded now here.

Work from TBWA Worldwide
BEHR Paint Company
Project Jupiter