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Societal and Cultural Patterns

This driver of societal patterns includes culture, values, religious practices etc. as drivers

Divided Societies

Societies are more and more divided in Haves and Have nots. In Europe, this can be observed in the health system (European Commission 2020) but also in nutrition: those without adequate income cannot afford quality food, sometimes even not a sufficient quantity of food.

Sources: European Commission 2020: doi:10.2777/045403; EU Commission 2022: doi:10.2777/025150; Duncan et al.

2022: DOI: 10.1038/s43016-022-00479-x


Inflation causing a shift towards micro/macro farming as a solution because it becomes cheaper to produce yourself.


Sustainable lifestyle

The advancing climate change and numerous ecological problems move a group of the population to a sustainable way of life. This manifests itself in the way of mobility, nutrition, housing or travel.


Digitally connected society

The megatrend of connectivity is leading to a digitally connected society. It affects all areas of life, from work and the organization of leisure time to data exchange with companies.

Society 5.0

Society in the 21st century is characterised by a high degree of digitalization, which is greatly changing the way people work and live. This creates new social challenges and new opportunities to use the possibilities of digital transformation for a better life together. People are part of a system, that communicates on all levels (IoT, human-centric system...) and where everything is connected.

Sources: Sharma and Garg 2024:;;; 10.1007/978-3-030-95112-2;;

Social innovation in the food system

Social innovation plays a pivotal role in transforming today’s food systems into ones that are economically and socially feasible, and sustainable within planetary boundaries.



Agribusiness in the future - future farmers

Future farmers are different - well educated and equipped with technology. They make use of technological potential on the one hand, and soil protection on the other (less heavy machinery). There are different scenarios about how they are seen and what kind of farmers we may see. Their image changed. And there is enormous potential to use crop protection products more and more precisely thanks to technical progress. On the other hand, there must be a return to less heavy machinery in order to prevent further soil compaction. Compacted soils are finding it increasingly difficult to absorb rain, which increases the risk of flooding during heavy rainfall.


Spoiled consumers in some European countries

In many European Union countries, consumers did not suffer from hunger during the last 30 years so the consumers are spoiled and expect every kind of food available anytime, anywhere etc. These people do not understand if something is not available - now, when they demand it. They throw away what they do not eat, anymore, still good or not. This is also linked to the fact that often, these consumers consider food extension dates (Mindesthaltbarkeitsdatum in German

language) printed on food as expiration date. They often throw away food just because the extension date is over - and create a lot of food waste. This is contrary to "food is never waste".


Discounter versus Delicatessen and specialized trade

In many European countries, discounters have displaced classic specialty retailers such as bakeries, butchers and greengrocers. Discounters offer all product categories under one roof and enable a speedy and inexpensive shopping experience.


Rise of alternative food channels (food trucks, pop-up restaurants)

Exploring the growing popularity of unconventional food outlets like food trucks and pop-up restaurants, which are temporary restaurants. These restaurants often operate from a private home, former factory, existing restaurants or similar space, and during festivals.


On-demand and personalized food delivery services

Meeting consumer demand for fast, customized, and convenient food delivery services.


Rise of food experiences and food tourism

Observing the increasing interest in immersive food experiences and culinary tourism.

Convenience-driven food products and snacking culture

Examining the demand for convenient and snackable food options.


Ethical and sustainable consumer choices

Analysing the influence of ethical and sustainable factors on consumer food purchasing decisions.


School Meals Coalition

School Meals Coalition is a European Union project focussing on improving the quality and expanding the scale of school meals programmes globally as a platform to reach communities. The global coalition will back investments from the European side that has proven positive effects on small farm livelihoods, such as participation in farmer's organisations, extension services for women farmers, vocational programmes for rural youths, storage and cold chains.


Price sensitive consumers

Price-sensitive consumers - good examples to increase consumer engagement with local products. There are countries where price is the decisive criterion, even though this should not be the case from an economic point of view. For many people and some cultures, however, food and high-quality food are less important than holidays, cars, etc. Food is instead relegated to a mere source of energy. Hungarian or German consumers for example are very price sensitive. How do you get consumers in these countries to consume more local, regional products and potentially pay a "real price"? What marketing and sociological methods are available to do this?

Source: from CDIs

Origin of the bio-based raw material and resources matter

As companies replace fossil with bio-based resources, the demand for bio-based resources increases. Europe does not have the area or the capacity to satisfy its complete demand through self-sufficiency. Imports of bio-based foods will be necessary, even if the EU and its member states increase their effort to grow renewable resources.

Source: Project DAKIS:;

Profit greed

Inflation and high food costs are difficult for many consumers and it is assumed that profit greed is a part of the problem and a reason why so many food producers are increasing the prices. This is denied (e.g. by the German Bundesvereinigung der Deutschen Ernährungsindustrie).

Source: Badische Neueste Nachrichten 25-4-2023 p. 11


Greenhushing means that everything for consumers is "greened" - especially in advertising. Claiming environmentally friendly products, climate-friendly products or notions with "sustainable" in them are more and more prominent. There is resistance from the food industry to the EU Commission's plans to regulate environment-related advertising more

strictly. "Greenhushing" is the bogeyman being used to stir up opposition to the planned directive, writes Jochen Geilenkirchen of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations. But there is no threat of "green silence" about environmental properties, he says. Rather, consumers would be given better guidance when buying sustainable food.


Cultural food habits

Human food consumption habits globally pose a significant threat to public health and ecological sustainability. But changing our food habits is not easy due to the deep core physiological mechanisms of the human body that determine our food preferences. In effect, we cannot resist the influence of some flavours and smells. The EU-funded OLFLINK project aims at research that will explain how new flavour preferences are formed. In this context, it will study the processes that drive the acquisition of flavour preferences and their regulation through signals from the digestive tract. The project will enable new methods to facilitate changing dietary habits for the better. Awareness of the urgency for large-scale global changes has recently been growing substantially; yet, overcoming preferences for familiar food flavours in favour of healthier or more sustainable options remains a major challenge. The OLFLINK project helps addressing this challenge by uncovering processes that link olfactory perception inside and outside the mouth across three levels of investigation thereby discovering key factors that facilitate or hinder the acquisition of new flavour preferences. Olfaction as the link between flavour preference formation and retrieval during food consumption.