How the Next Food Trend Could Help Solve World Hunger  featured image

How the Next Food Trend Could Help Solve World Hunger

Challenge: Most of our world's food supply comes from four main crops: wheat, rice, maize and soybeans.

Cohere strategized and branded an initiative with the Crop Trust, Food Forever, the Lexicon of Sustainability, Tender Greens and Google aimed at promoting global crop diversity.

Most of our food comes from 4 main crops: wheat, rice, maize and soybeans.

As a society, we've built a supply and demand system that has caused mono-cropping and malnutrition. The only way to reverse this negative impact is to help consumers make better choices with a decision they make 3x per day – what they eat.

If 60% of our caloric intake is produced by just four crops, then common sense says we’re missing out on an abundance of nutritional and sustainable value. The process of creating the next global food trend offers diversity in our food system and helps combat these environmentally degrading statistics.

Move aside avocado, there’s new chayote in town.

There are 30,000 edible plant species in the world, and we’re only eating about 150 of them.

Remember a time when you couldn’t pronounce Quinoa? Or Açai?

Who knew that trends like avocado toast and kale salad could actually be a driver for ending world hunger and climate change? These foods, that often surface from other parts of the world, are the source of introducing diverse ingredients into the menus of our favorite restaurants. The process of diversifying our food system is actually equal parts the role of chefs, storytellers, influencers, legislators, institutions and you – the consumer. Each influence the supply and demand, farm policy and education, consumer messaging and global scale that helps us diversify the 4 crops our world has become dependent on.

The NYC Food Forever Experience

The Food Forever Initiative is introducing a series of global activations to help communicate the who, what and why around food diversity.
The first of which happened on Sep. 25th at Google’s New York City office on the “Global Day of Action." During UN Climate Week, officials gather to discuss how to tangibly move the needle on Sustainable Development Goals, with this year’s focus being food diversity.

At Google’s offices, Chef and Tender Greens Co-founder, and Cohere Partner Erik Oberholtzer, and the Rediscovered Foods Initiative challenged 10 renowned chefs to create delicious, diverse dishes of the future. These chefs conceived and prepared exciting new dishes using ingredients that could soon break into the mainstream of the US food system, such as ulluco, amaranth and monk’s beard.

Cohere’s job was to drive a clear message home:

  • Consumers have power: the ability decide three times a day what food ingredients to consume, where to source them from, and which establishments to support.

  • Chefs determine food trends. Acai, arugula, quinoa – were all ingredients that were lesser known ten years ago. Exposure to rediscovered foods can put chef’s brands ahead of trend, while positively influencing the health of the planet and their customers.

What is all of this effort for if we’re not telling the story and giving the audience a clear call-to-action?

At the Food Forever NYC Event, the audience discovered what it means to break out of the safe-zone of ‘known foods’ and experience the future of ingredients. Chefs Erik Oberholtzer, Floyd Cardoz, Dan Kluger, Ray Garcia, Pierre Thiam, Suzanne Cupps, Michael Wurster, Matthew Delisle, Selassie Atadika and Umber Ahmad filled Google’s Highline Cafe to test out dishes that best utilized exotic ingredients like:

  • Locusts

  • Elephant Foot Yam

  • Moringa

  • Arrowroot

  • Jackfruit

  • Breadfruit

  • Saltwort

  • Oca

  • Fiddlehead Ferns

  • Fonio

  • Monk’s Beard

  • Bambara Groundnut

  • Chayote

  • Yacon

  • Buddha’s Hand Citrone

The event showcased what we might be eating in 2050 if we embrace some of the weird and wonderful foods yet to break into the US culinary mainstream. Now, the Food Forever Experience series has gone global with over 6 cities in 2019-20. We partnered up with their request to find chefs, food influencers and restaurants who would want to test ingredients for their menus and help with the 2020 goal to diversify our food system.