Foodservice in 2040
With technology shaping society almost beyond recognition in the past few decades and no sign of advancements slowing down any time soon, Bidfood’s Insight & Customer Experience team reveals the two polarising futures that trends suggest the industry might be facing by 2040
A FUTURE OF TECH
Big night in
Singledom in 2040 is a lonely place. For most singles in London, a regular night sees them eating their meals alone at home. That’s not anything too radical, right?
But the way our bachelor orders their food is, with a simple message to a virtual assistant each morning triggering a dinner delivery for the following evening. Then, a temperature-controlled box containing the meal waits on the doorstep for when they return home – complete with a bottle of wine, flowers, candles or a personal online playlist if they want to create a particular ambience.
Creating the perfect experience
When our singletons fancy some company, they turn to an online app, which searches for a suitable dinner companion based on DNA-profile matching. Once a partner has been identified, the couple books a seat at a local communal dining canteen.
The venues might appear nondescript to us nowadays, with hundreds of diners sitting opposite each other in a room with scant personality, but it’s when the guests put on their VR headsets that the fun starts. The pair has picked a personalised setting and décor to get a unique experience, complete with a virtual waiter of their choice.
Variety is the spice of life
The menu is like nothing we’ve ever seen in 2019. With anything and everything available to eat and drink – and completely customisable depending on individual tastes – the world is, quite literally, our diners’ oyster.
There’s no worrying about dietary requirements either because the waiter has already taken a small painless sample when guests arrive at the restaurant to make sure all food is perfect, right down to DNA and blood diets.
Printing your food in 3D
With such a wide spread of food on the menu, you’d think the chefs had got their work cut out. But instead, there’s relative calm in the kitchen. That’s because in 2040, the kitchen’s head chef is a 3D printer, which creates each dish to its exact specification.
Raw ingredients take the form of additives and are shipped to outlets from a central laboratory through a mains supply, just like water and electricity. This gives them ultimate flexibility and supplies on demand.
BACK TO BASICS
The simple life
In reaction to a world that’s become dominated by technology, people are feeling increasingly disconnected with each other and the planet. That sense of feeling triggers a huge u-turn in society as consumers look for a more simple, basic life – prioritising local communities and the resources they provide above the instant, connected global world that blossomed from the technological age.
The growth of local
Food shortages and the increasingly apparent impact our lifestyles of two decades earlier have placed on the environment begin to take their toll. And, forced by the government, foodservice outlets seek only to purchase their items within a 20-mile radius.
Many business owners react by growing as much as they can on site, with the garden-kitchen concept experiencing a boom in popularity. As a result, menus are flexible, small and seasonal, with everything made from scratch – making dining out a unique experience. Chains still exist, but when they do, the menu they offer differs depending on location.
Changing face of delivery
Not all ingredients can be grown in a garden kitchen though. But with environmental impact key to businesses, foodservice outlets are seeking out local wholesalers and suppliers that can deliver with minimal strain on the world around them.
Items are no longer delivered by large HGVs; instead, they’re regularly transported by bike or, if necessary, electric vehicles. Service is paramount, and the personal relationship between supplier and customers is closer than ever.
A real treat
The expertise and creativity of the restaurant’s chefs has never been more important because money is tight across all walks of society. Due to households cutting their spending, eating out of home is now a real treat, while convenient on-the-go eating has become a thing of the past.
Consumers will only part with their hard-earned money and eat out if they can indulge, and savour the craftsmanship and quality of the food they’re eating. Authenticity, innovation and provenance are now the order of the day.
Food is number one
The changes in society have meant that eating out is all about the food once more. Shunning the experiential trend that exploded in the foodservice scene earlier in the millennium, people now choose to eat in an environment that’s stripped back and basic.
Fast food is a thing of the past, with diners expecting food to take time to prepare, meaning that a meal out is a long, drawn-out occasion. Eating out becomes a social, communal event, filled with chatter and laughing – and solo dining trips are consigned to history.
HAVE YOUR SAY
Which vision of the future do you think will be closer to the truth? And how can wholesalers play their part? Tell us what you think by emailing us at [email protected] or by connecting with us on Twitter or LinkedIn.