Gen Z / millennial farmers and consumers in all countries believe the future of food and farming is under threat and that global food insecurity is likely within 20 years.
Despite their concerns, next-gen farmers and consumers are realistic about the trade-offs involved in addressing the most pressing challenges facing food and farming and reject a “winner take all” approach. For example, 90% or more agree that everyone will need to compromise to secure the future of food and, even though they are on opposite ends of the food chain, over 90% of next-gen farmers and consumers agree that they must realise that their futures are connected.
Furthermore, they believe that if we can address the challenges faced by food and farming today, we will potentially avoid negative consequences, especially rising food prices, environmental destruction and global food shortages.
But next-gen farmers and consumers are not satisfied with today’s solutions. Instead, both groups believe that the solutions to the challenges facing food and farming have not yet been invented, and over 90% agree that farmers will have to adopt innovative technologies and methods to succeed.
When asked about what they would most want to come together to solve, next-gen farmers and consumers agree that their most important priority is to help secure the longterm financial and environmental sustainability of farms. This suggests that they understand the complexity of meeting the world’s demand for food while protecting and preserving both the environment and the viability of farming as a business.
“I think the consumers, the farmers, the ranchers — everyone — should get together because things are really hard to solve.”Farmer, Brazil
Both Gen Z / millennial farmers and consumers believe the future of food and farming will be under significant threat in the next 20 years. Most next-gen consumers and nextgen farmers say they are concerned that the world’s population will not have enough food for its nutritional needs by 2040 — in just 20 years.
Of primary concern — for both farmers and consumers — is that in the future we won’t have enough natural resources, such as healthy soil and water, to grow the food we need, closely followed by a concern that we won’t be able to get food to the people who need it most.
Consumers in Russia, China and the US are significantly more likely than farmers in these countries to be concerned about these issues.
Despite these concerns, both next-gen farmers and consumers have similar ideals for the kind of world they want to live in. Both groups prioritise wanting to live in a world where we try to do what’s best for future generations, closely followed by wanting to live in a world where we take responsibility for everyone’s well-being and not just our own.
Both next-gen farmers and consumers strongly believe that their futures are connected, and they show strong alignment regarding the issues they want to come together to solve.
While putting the problem of the financial and environmental sustainability of farms first, these younger farmers and consumers also prioritize coming together to find ways of protecting the environment and health, specifically through limiting the usage of artificial pesticides and fertilizers (with least support for this among farmers in the US and France).
They also want to shorten the supply chain between the farm and the table and to take on climate change by finding ways in which farming and consumption can change to have a lower impact on the climate.
Next-gen farmers and consumers are optimistic that they can take on many of the challenges facing farming and food. But they are not looking towards existing answers. Instead, more than three in four believe that the solutions for the challenges they will face in the future have not yet been invented.
Next-gen farmers and consumers agree that farming will have to change to meet the demands of the future, with the vast majority agreeing that farmers will have to adopt innovative new technologies and methods to succeed.
They are also realistic about what it will require to get there, agreeing that it will take both ingenuity and willingness to compromise from everybody to secure the future of food.
Next-generation farmers and consumers agree that addressing the challenges facing food and farming will potentially allow us to avoid some serious consequences in the future — most importantly, rising food prices, environmental destruction and global food shortages.