At one of Canada's largest natural health and organics trade events, CHFA West, we asked 57 leaders in the health food industry what they thought the biggest difference would be between what they eat today and what their grandchildren will eat in the future.
The responses were surprisingly varied, but we managed to group them into one of nine categories. Here they are.
Less Industrial Meat (10/57, 18%)
These health food industry veterans predicted their grandchildren will be eating meat from more humane sources, a major shift to veggie-based alternatives, or even meat created in a lab. As Johnathan from Wholly Veggie said, "I come from the meat business and know it's not economical and sustainable."
Kevin from Hardbite Potato Chips shared an story about one veggie-based meat alternative that blew him away: "I tried a Beyond Beef burger recently and I couldn't finish it because it was too much like meat. While vegetarians like me won't eat it, it will definitely convert meat eaters. It's in the meat section of Whole Foods already!"
Hitting Rewind (10/57, 18%)
"We've been on the wrong path, but it's recovering," said Leigh from Genuine Health. "Hopefully," said Tracy from Nature's Way, they'll get "back to the way it used to be."
But maybe our grandkids won't go all the way back to our grandparents' diets. As someone else predicted, "they'll be equally as horrified of our food as when we think back to the days of cocaine in Coca Cola."
The Optimists (10/57, 18%)
This group doesn't necessarily think our grandchildren will eat the same as in the past, but that they will be eating much better than we do now. They are optimistic that their hard work would pay off and they "will continue blurring the lines between health foods and mainstream industry," as Melanie from Health & Wellness Retailer Magazine put it. Instead of treating real food as a "supplement" to primarily fake food diets like most of us do today, Pat from U-Be-Living-Smart said his grandkids would be doing the opposite.
The Doomsdayers (6/57, 11%)
Others had an opposite take as the Optimists. "We're at a turning point, but I don't think it's going well. We'll be eating frankenfood," said Angela from Earth's Own. "Food will be filling, but not nurturing," added Jason from SpiruVive.
"There are way bigger and more influential companies than us that only want to get cheaper," shared Francesco from 24 Mantra Organic, so he thinks future generations will be eating, "More chemicals, more processed foods, and less natural products.
Kent from Organic Fair wasn't even sure we'd make it that far. "I just hope my grandchildren will be eating! I'm worried."
A Lot of Hope, Even More Uncertainty (9/57, 16%)
Somewhere between the Optimists and the Doomsdayers were those who hope for the best, but fear the worst.
Their predictions of what their grandchildren would eat were all along the lines of what Pascal from L'Ancêtre Cheese said: "I hope that they will eat more organic so that our environment will be protected. Whether it will happen is the question." Or, as Sarah Sarah from FreeYumm predicted, "Food that is made on rooftops and vertical farms... assuming we go in a good direction and aren't poisoned to death."
Processed, But In a Good Way (5/57, 9%)
"I think my grandchildren will be eating more processed foods," said Dean from Nature's Path, but we'll be able to "make them from healthy, traceable, real foods." This, as LaDawn from Wild Moon Organics echoed, will be because, "We'll have better technology that will allow us to keep our food shelf stable without losing nutrients,"
Clearly a big hurdle for natural foods is preserving the nutrition in natural foods. We at Heilu know food waste is a big issue, so this could definitely help.
Other (6/57, 11%)
Other replies included, "Much more specific diets," where "there'll be restaurants you can go to that cater to your diet," as Taylor from Kaizen Naturals predicts. Sandi from Bob's Red Mill predicted no change at all. Pointing to Bob, who was doing interviews beside us, she said, "Bob's 88 and going strong, so I just want my grandchildren to eat the same as him."
Someone turned the tables on us and asked us this interesting question, "What do you think our grandparents would have said to the same question?"
Doritos (1/57, 2%)
Even though their diets will change somewhat, says Mitch from GimMe Seaweeds, "They'll still be eating Doritos."
What Do You Think?
Do you see a Star Trek-type future of freeze-dried space food, a dystopian future of , or a green future of going back to the roots (literally) and farming our own?