Water filter specialist Brita Professional asked 750 hospitality professionals to look into their crystal balls to forecast what the industry will look like in 2044. The resulting ‘Life is Better Filtered: The Catering School of Expertise’ report predicted that Artificial Intelligence (AI), zero waste and food implanted with nutrients could be the major influencing factors in 25 years’ time.
Brita launched the report with a special evening in London which experientially illustrated these points, such as food personalisation, advanced waste-reducing kitchen appliances and robot restaurant servers. The event was rounded off with a panel debate featuring Chris Fay, Brita Professional UK catering account executive; ‘food futurist’ Lyndon Gee; Sarah Widdett, head of insights and marketing at Bidfood; and Jamie Crummie, co-founder of food waste reduction app Too Good To Go.
On the subject of kitchen technology, Fay remarked: “Equipment will be much more interactive and will be able to notify spares suppliers if a filter needs changing, for example. Head chefs are going to have to be as savvy with a computer as they are with catering equipment.” While Widdett questioned: “If all appliances are connected and automated, are we opening ourselves up to hackers? There is a potential risk when the machines are out of our control – we will have to think about security protection.”
81% of those surveyed for Brita’s reportbelieved that achieving zero waste will be the top sustainability initiative in 2044. This was closely followed by kitchen technology that delivers smart cleaning and less water waste (72%) and product innovation that sees a total ban on single-use plastics (53%).
In 2044, food and drink is predicted to be served 24/7 and the majority of hospitality professionals either agree (52%) or strongly agree (29%) that technology will develop to help businesses deliver this continual service. However, for hospitality professionals, the barriers to providing a 24/7, personalised service include not having capable equipment (49%) or unreliable equipment (42%).
To overcome these barriers, 45% of those hospitality professionals believe investment in machine protection, such as water filters, to ensure equipment stands the test of time and is running sustainably, is key. 49% of chefs and business owners also think that kitchen machinery which is self-servicing will be the most likely technological change in 25 years’ time.
Sarah Taylor, MD of Brita UK, said: “If there’s one glaring observation from our research, it’s that advancements in technology will be the driving force for change in the hospitality industry in the next 25 years. With equipment having such a prominent role in all aspects of a hospitality business, maintaining its performance is paramount not just to the efficiency and adaptability of kitchens, but to its environmental impact.”