In 25 years’ time, when people look back on 2018, what will they remember it for ? I believe there are three key changes, which accelerated to such an extent that 2018 will come to be regarded as a defining year.
The first is plastic. The entire world developed a consciousness not seen before about plastic. It was triggered in late 2017 by the television programme Blue Planet II, showing birds and fish choking on plastic.
There has been a flurry of activity, with multiple initiatives, but mostly disjointed. Many companies now have targets for 100% recyclability and have introduced a degree of recycled content. Some have gone further, aiming for 100% recycled content. Others are switching from single-use plastic cups and straws. Various governments are looking at legislation. But joined up thinking and action on collection and circular economy recycling is still a long way off across too much of the world.
The second is plant-based moving into the mainstream. Plant-based dairy alternatives have been growing for some time. 2018 was the year that plant-based meat alternatives came into the supermarket and fast food, because its texture and taste had finally become competitive. Flexitarianism is now commonplace and veganism is no longer the niche of extreme behaviour that some tried to dismiss.
The third is the threat to the high street from online delivery. E-commerce has now been growing strongly for a number of years. But 2018 was the year that high street retailers could no longer cope in both the United Kingdom and United States. It’s true that this was more in non-food then food, but the message is clear. 2018 also saw more voice activated and same day delivery to the extent that it is bound to become more everyday.
What didn’t happen in 2018 that might have ? Driverless vehicles and drone delivery are two that will. Blockchain is emerging fast, but bitcoin bit the dust. Cannabis seems high up there for the future. Personalised nutrition is increasingly on the way.
I wonder what 2019 will bring. I hope it brings all of you success and prosperity.