2020 Mega Trends: Consumer-Driven Demands


by Clinton Griffiths, AgWeb

Jan 13, 2020


Following a decade with the introduction of societal shifters like the smart phone and rapid expansion of social media, 2020 could be the starting block for the fastest technological race in agricultural history. Combining big data with cutting edge science, artificial intelligence and cloud connected technology has the potential revolutionize farming in ways only dreamed up in movies. We asked three farm futurists for their predictions for the next decade.


Regardless of what farmers want, they can be assured consumer pressure will continue in the next decade.


“If we embrace it, I don't see it as a bad thing,” says Lowell Catlett, futurist, economist and former dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University. “They're just differentiated segmented markets and I'd rather have a differentiated segmented marketplace than one big mass market because that's where the profit is.”


“Consumers are going to put increased pressure on the industry over their carbon footprint, their water footprint, and their methane footprint,” says Jack Uldrich, agricultural futurist. “It's just going to affect farmers in a wide variety of ways and that might be legislation, regulation, or consumers who say they’ll support farmer B over farmer A who is more in line with their values.”


We broke the mega trends down to five key categories. Here are the mega trends for consumer demands.


Food Company/Farm Partnerships


Some of that pressure will come from food companies as they seek to develop more individual farm partnerships that match their business values. From General Mills to Perdue Farms, major food companies are touting and working closer with their farm partners hoping to capitalize on consumer preferences and differentiating their products in an otherwise crowded food market.


“The consumer themselves are going to begin leveraging this data to say I want to buy locally grown produce or meat that came from an operation within 60 or 100 miles,” says Uldrich.


Quick service restaurant chain Chipolte finished the decade announcing it plans to invest in young farmers by offering 3-year contracts to help fill its supply chain with likeminded producers.


Diverging Diets ... 


Plant Protein Revolution ... 


Social Media Mandates  ...