Food is life. It gives us the nourishment we need to survive, and it connects us. At its best, food is an expression of home, culture and love. Because of that, our relationship to it is deeply personal.
“The food system of tomorrow must be accessible. And we believe it can be.”
But our food system has drifted from its roots. Today, most of us don’t know where our food comes from. And far too often, we dine with our screens – not with our families or friends.
Our understanding of, and trust in, the food system has fallen and rightly so. Ingredient lists all too often read more like scientific jargon than wholesome recipes. We don’t know how to pronounce many of the artificial ingredients that go into our meals, and we don’t know their purpose. Too often, foods are high in fats, sugar and salt, causing the rise in diet-related chronic disease.
Our food system needs to serve the world better by reconnecting people with delicious and healthful nourishment that’s produced sustainably. Our food system needs to remind us that food is an experience to enjoy, not to speed through. It needs to help us reconnect with food that we can trust.
And we believe it can.
The future of food will reward those who make delicious, healthy products with simple ingredients one can actually pronounce. Those products will use only the right amount of salt – not more than is needed – and eliminate artificial flavours, colours and sweeteners. The future of food will reward companies that embrace transparency in packaging and ingredients, and how animals are raised, because consumers will increasingly gravitate toward the real food our grandparents and great-grandparents would have recognized and served around the kitchen table.
The food system of tomorrow will be accessible – so that all families can eat well. When food is not accessible for all, people worry about running out, compromise on quality or simply go hungry – often missing meals. Community-minded companies, consumers and researchers will come together to make a difference and to fight chronic disease, rising health care costs, mental health and educational challenges, and other societal costs that result from food insecurity.
Increasingly, “responsible” and “sustainable” will accurately describe what we eat, because our food system can’t survive in its current form. Soil and water conservation efforts will increase, while the use of unnecessary synthetic fertilizers will decrease. Product packaging will be smarter, less dependent on plastic and more biodegradable. Crop and livestock production alike will stem greenhouse gas emissions, and animals will be treated with care. A responsible, sustainable and safe food system will serve generations to come by encouraging all of us to moderate our consumption, especially of resource-intensive proteins like meat.
And even as the food system reconnects with its roots, it will reflect our evolving palette. It will respond to consumer trends (fewer carbs, fuller fats, more proteins, healthier snacks) and to shifting demographics with recipes, flavours and techniques that appeal to and serve families from around the world.
Our purpose at Maple Leaf Foods is to realize this future today – to Raise the Good in Food with high-quality, nourishing proteins prepared with simple, delicious and healthful ingredients. By advancing food security for all Canadians with real food that’s accessible and affordable. By aggressively reducing our impact on air, water and land. By doubling down on safety, innovation and transparency. By investing in new, sustainable sources of proteins, in the form of plant-based meat, for example.
The future of food is real, transparent, accessible and responsible. The future of food is taste, communion and connection. The future of food is good.