6 Post-Pandemic Food Predictions

The grocery, restaurant and food system will evolve. ( iStock )

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Danielle Nierenberg spends her days thinking about food and how to help people who don’t have enough of it get access to more.

“I like to highlight stories of hope and success in the food system, both internationally and domestically,” says Nierenberg, co-founder of Food Tank, a research and advocacy organization based in Baltimore, Md.

Nierenberg recently made six food-related predictions she anticipates for the next 12 months:

1. Grocery delivery service will triple.

2. Food delivery will also triple.

3. Around 85% of independent restaurants will likely go out of business.

4. Food workers will unionize.

5. Sustainable food business will continue to disrupt food, as growth of direct-to-consumer models continues.

6. Community supported agriculture (CSAs) will experience growth tenfold.

Vulnerabilities of the supply chain, exposed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, have heightened Nierenberg’s concern regarding consumers’ access to high-quality food. She says new methods for connecting food to people in need must be developed.

“There’s going to be a transformation in how we think about the way our food and agriculture systems work,” she says. “That includes how workers and farmers are treated and valued. Farmers in North America have had a rough time over the last few years, and the pandemic has only made it worse.”

While abundant sources of healthy, nutritious food exist in many parts of the U.S., some areas are underserved, creating “inequity and inequality” for people, Nierenberg says. She experienced that firsthand growing up in rural, eastern Missouri, near Defiance.

“When I was a kid, we used to drive 45 minutes to the grocery store because we lived way, way out in the country, and that’s still the same for a lot of people in both rural and urban areas,” she says.

Nierenberg was named the 2020 Julia Child Award recipient for her focus on food security.

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