Taste Mode, the latest insight report from Pearlfisher Futures, explores the key cultural, category and consumer shifts defining the food and drink agenda for the next decade, and the brands – both challenger and iconic – that are transforming the insights at the heart of this change, into a reality.

On 2 March, ‘Taste Mode San Francisco: How to Create the Food and Drink Brand of the Future’ – the fourth and final event in our global launch series – took place at the Exploratorium, a beautiful public learning space that explores the world through science, art, and human perception.

Following an opening address by Creative Director at Pearlfisher San Francisco, Brian Steele, the morning’s event unfolded in four sections, mirroring the four major areas of change identified in the Taste Mode report. Each shift was introduced by Futures Director Sophie Maxwell, illustrated by a conceptual innovation developed by each of Pearlfisher’s four studios, and brought to life through the practical experience of external speakers.

SHIFT 1: Sensorial to Transformative
Citing cultural tastemakers and game-changers such as Noma, Atelier Crenn, David Chang and Bompas & Parr, Sophie outlined an increasingly visceral consumer appetite for experiences, tastes and flavours that completely reframe and transcend our understanding of what food is, and can be.

Noah Karesh is the co-founder of Feastly, a growing community of eaters and chefs who want more from dining. In an interview with Pearlfisher CEO Jonathan Ford, he discussed the importance of reengaging emotional connections with our food experiences. Describing Feastly as a “tech-enabled food company,” he explored the role of food as the opposite to traditional innovation, which is about speed and data.

SHIFT 2: Processed to Connected
The second shift – an overview of the emerging direction for health – explored how concerns around food’s processing and complexity is giving rise to a more global awareness of nourishment, a reappraisal of ‘naturalness’ and an increasingly connected relationship between food, mood and wellness.

The shift was brought to life from a brand’s point of view by Doug Evans, founder and CEO of Juicero. A long-time vegan, Doug shed light on how Juicero – the company behind the world’s first home cold-press system that makes raw, organic juice at the touch of a button – is revolutionising health by making juicing quick, easy and mess-free.

SHIFT 3: Fast to Flexible
Drawing on the changing nature of eating occasions, the escalation of snacking culture and the increasing importance of food and drink choices to our every day routines, Shift 3 explored a future meaning for ‘convenience,’ and the ways in which brands are creating a culture of ‘faster’ food.

James Beriker, CEO of West Coast-based food delivery service Munchery, discussed the changing face of convenience in the age of personalisation, which he believes is not about swapping zucchini for carrots but rather about strategically leveraging the science of data to understand your consumers.

SHIFT 4: Resources to Reinvention

As populations grow, demand threatens to outweigh resource and alternative food sources become a reality, Shift 4 showcased how brands can innovate to create new products that will appeal to consumers.

Claire Herminjard, Founder of Mindful Meats and Co-Executive of Marin Sun Farms, brought the shift to life by illustrating the role of companies like hers in solving the global resource challenge through food distribution innovation. In the context of cultural change and increased market competition, she discussed the power of nature as the best technologist and the importance of providing access to healthy and delicious food for everyone, not just the wealthy.

If you couldn’t attend any of our Taste Mode events but are interested in either purchasing a copy of the full report or having us bring the insights to you, please get in touch or download a bite-sized version of the report here.