When looking at Scenario Design, it can appear disarmingly complex and when we, as a society, are so used to planning short-term futures, it can be quite hard to imagine what the world will be like in 40 years. Considering the rapid pace of technology advancement within the last 10 years, it becomes quite a complex task to gauge where technology will be in the future.
When my group was deciding what to feature our scenario on, we based it on research we found after looking at current and possible technologies related to food. A plane comprising of population growth and increased food production was then created as the basis for our future. We researched current food technologies and as such we found a growth of the supplement industry within recent years. As an extension of this we came to create a scenario where society was in the process of phasing out food in the traditional sense and replacing it with an all supplement diet.
A relatable example to our future scenario is in the agriculture sector, where there is the growing opportunity for genetically modified crops, and more sustainable or effective manufacturing techniques for food. However, due to the mixed interests of society regarding the regulation of a supplement based diet and the advancements of technology it becomes a difficult task to correctly converge the two paths to create a future projection.
A design group called Strategic Design Scenarios has created a project called “Sustainable Lifestyles 2050 (SPREAD)” in which they explore four possible future scenarios that both work independently and as a collection. There are a few concepts that are relevant to our scenario, including the ideas of “Governing the commons”, “Empathetic Communities” (Strategic Design Scenarios, 2012) and a society based on the concept of increased health and lifestyle. This group is particularly relevant to our research as the main concept for their future scenarios is creating a more healthy lifestyle that is economically viable, time saving and ecologically sustainable, three things which were important to us when designing our scenario.
In Meals to Come: A History of the Future of Food; it discusses the idea of a modernist future, and the effects it would have on the earth. This text is essential in the understanding why the government would embrace a supplement-based diet as described in our scenario, and why when you consider a increasing population and an increase in food production this would be a necessary course of action. The prospect of a supplement based diet has been in motion for a long time, with Ellen Richards encouraging a more ‘scientific’ approach to nutrition in 1893, providing a slow cooked broth that was nutritionally all-encompassing. The broth, named “Rumford Soup” (Belasco, 2006), was one of the first pushes for a science based nutritional alternative to food in the traditional sense, however, this attempt failed as it did not excite people the way food does. The difference between this scenario and ours, is that people would embrace the supplement based diet as we become more obsessed with a healthy living style and as we continue to push the limits on land used for food production due to the increase of population.
Strategic Design Scenarios, 2012, “Sustainable Lifestyles 2050 (SPREAD)”, http://www.sustainable-lifestyles.eu
Belasco, W. J., 2006, ‘Meals to Come: History of the Future of Food,’ University of California Press, Berkley California