Christmas 2029 A “Virtual Party” Futureologist Predicts

DNA-optimised dishes, holographic guests and collaborative community celebrations out-of-home are all on the menu for Christmas Day 2029, according to a new festive trends report commissioned by Bidfood, one of the UK’s leading foodservice providers.

In partnership with Food Futurologist, Dr Morgaine Gaye, Bidfood shares its predictions for Christmas Day dining ten years from now as it reveals its 2019 festive range.

Microchips on menus OOH

Personalisation is on the rise as we move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to dining, and in the future festive food will be no exception. With OpenTable research showing that more and more people are opting to eat out-of-home on Christmas Day[1], microchips and skin-embedded sensor devices will enable operators to take into consideration genetic health and microbiome unique to their customers’ nutritional needs.

A virtual party

Experiential Christmas Day celebrations are likely to grow in popularity thanks to advanced technology. Expect to see pop-up style restaurant celebrations that bring together likeminded people, along with far flung family members and celebrity guests conjured up using hologram technology. LED wallpaper displays will allow consumers, at the push of a button, to change the theme of room to suit the vibe, whilst celebration dishes will also bring a sense of theatre through sensorial stimuli, with textured cutlery and edible glasses. What’s more, impressively intricate dessert designs will be created through 3D printing and look set to take centre stage on the table.

A connected Christmas

Christmas will morph into an inclusive community event as we seek to deepen the social ties with those around us. Festive feasting will be a collaborative affair, with customers contributing to shared OOH meals by bringing along a few locally grown ingredients and produce for chefs to use, much of which is likely to have been grown in community hubs and co-operative spaces or foraged for. Rather than homogenous Christmas roasts, dishes and flavours will be inspired by the seasons and global food trends, as we become more connected as one world.

Conscious gifting

Rather than bulging stockings filled with  presents wrapped in paper or other reused materials, we will become more consciously aware of the impact mass consumerism has on the environment; instead we will opt for gift-giving that focuses on experiences and the gift of time, rather than physical presents. Christmas cards are likely to become fully digital, with fabric wrapping being used to encase the minimal number of physical gifts we will give and receive, whilst decorations will be sustainably minded too.

Festive tipples – out of sight, but not out of mind

The heavy consumption of alcohol is unlikely to have the same allure that we see now. Instead, alcoholic drinks will deliver mood and health enhancement, with the continued popularity of botanicals and fermented beverages. Alcohol will however, play more of a frivolous role in puddings, with dessert courses crafted to surprise and delight. Think bourbon nut butters and wine-infused ice cream that also contains health-enhancing ingredients such as CBD. New products from Bidfood’s Christmas range this year echo this prediction, with a wide selection of desserts and main courses featuring boozy additions. From gin & tonic salmon parfaits, through to a sloe gin, mincemeat and clotted cream tart.

Reflecting on the insights, Lucy Pedrick, Senior Insights Manager at Bidfood, said: “Commissioning a report on the future of Christmas food has provided some real food for thought. It’s great to see that the rise of out-of-home dining will mean celebrations become more inclusive and community led.

“This year we’ve not only looked at what current food trends are driving consumer demand, but we’ve also taken a deep dive into the history books to look at what influences remain from the past, as well as worked with Food Futurologist, Dr Morgaine, to understand what will be driving food and drink innovation and trends in the future.

“Whilst everyone has their own idea of what the future will look like, what we do know is that Christmas will always be focussed around food, it’s what brings us together, inspires and bonds us. That, for one, will never change.”

[1] OpenTable, 2018