Forecasting Food Innovations with a Delphi Study.
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Food innovations can create novel nutritious food, improve agricultural sustainability, and increase the agri-food industry's market profits. Our study proposes a consensus definition of food innovations and forecasts food innovations that will be available to consumers in the next five years by using a Delphi study. Thirteen experts aged 35 to 85 from the US and the UK researching or working in agriculture and nutrition, public health, the agri-food industry, or food policy participated in three rounds of this Delphi study. The experts were chosen using the snowball sampling method. This study followed the implementation and data analysis guidelines popularized by the Rand Corporation. The consensus definition for food innovations (with 76.9% agreement) was that 'food innovations aid in the development, production, or transportation of new food products, processes, or technology to promote human health, food security, or environmental sustainability'. The specific food innovations, which had over 69% agreement, are ranked as (1) plant-based meat alternatives, (2) personalized nutrition, (3) natural foods, (4) new genetically modified organisms, (5) regenerative agriculture, (6) urban agriculture, (7) packing innovations, (8) alternative flours, (9) improving shelf life, (10) supply chain technologies, (11) improved soil health, and (12) technology for traceability. The food innovation definition and identified specific food innovations could further connect the agricultural value chain to develop novel nutritious foods and improve agricultural sustainability. Agri-food industry specialists, practitioners, researchers, and policymakers can advance food innovation development and research pinpointing the specific food innovations along the agricultural value chain.