The Future of Food

What will healthful eating look like in the years to come?
By Sally Squires

We asked food experts around the country to share their vision of healthful eating in the next few decades. Here's what they said:

"Vegetables and fruits will be at center stage. Small portions like tapas will dominate the table, where quality of ingredients will be the focus over quantity of ingredients."
-José Andrés, executive chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup in Washington D.C., which includes Minibar by José Andrés, Jaleo, Café Atlantico, Zaytinya, and Oyamel

"We will continue to find new phytochemicals in plants to further strengthen the argument that a diet rich in plant foods is critical to health. Flexitarianism, also known as part-time vegetarianism, will continue to grow. It supplies all the health benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle without following it 100 percent of the time.
-Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association

"We will wake up to the way corn syrup seems to pour into our food supply, inflating empty calories. Look for attention to swing to foods that aren't dosed as heavily or get their sweetness from regular cane sugar."
-John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi

"Expect to see a more diverse palate in America, and much more attention to bolder flavors and unique ingredients."
- Mark Erickson, certified master chef and vice president for continuing education at the Culinary Institute of America

"With local farms and farmers' markets sprouting up everywhere, we can buy from people who care about what they're growing and selling. With more public awareness of the implications and power of our food choices, we will have the chance to affect positive change."
-Aliza Green, author of Starting With Ingredients, Field Guide to Meat, and Field Guide to Produce, among others

"People are willing to pay higher prices for healthier (or healthier-sounding), more natural (or natural-sounding) foods. I suspect we're going to see a big increase in foods that are labeled 'natural,' 'organic,' 'high fiber,' or 'low sodium' and that some won't be terribly healthy."
-Michael Jacobson, PhD, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest

"The grocery store will become the center of community life, with activities that draw families in for events. It will be here that Americans will feel empowered to adopt healthier lifestyles."
-Alison Kretser, senior director, nutrition and health policy for the Grocery Manufacturers Association

"Calories, especially calories per serving, will be more important. Also, I think we are going to see more vegetables and whole grains become incorporated into mainstream food items."
-Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director and senior scientist of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Meyer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University

"People are realizing they don't have to eat as if there is no tomorrow. There seems to be interest in smaller portions. It will make a real difference in how many calories we are eating."
-Barbara Rolls, PhD, professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University and author of Volumetrics and The Volumetrics Eating Plan

"People will realize that by making small changes, they and their families can eat better."
-Brian Wansink, PhD, professor of marketing at Cornell University and author of Mindless Eating