Knowledge for better food systems

Tea 2030: Future scenarios for the tea industry

Tea 2030 project, run by the UK’s Forum for the Future, has published a report identifying 19 factors likely to drive future development of value chain – and it seeks your views.

Text from Forum for the Future as follows:

“Imagine this. Tea prices in western markets have soared as most producing countries now consume the bulk of their own tea. Tea plantations are densely planted and highly mechanised, designed to cope with scarce water supplies, expensive input prices, competition for land, and unpredictable weather patterns.

But even this innovative scenario is under threat as radical new technologies take hold. In kitchens around the globe, mini 3D printers allow people to ‘print’ the tea they want at home with molecular ‘patterns’ downloaded from the internet.  Could this be the future of the tea industry?”

The Tea 2030 project has been exploring the factors driving the future of the tea industry. Using research gleaned from interviews with leading thinkers and business people from right across the tea value chain, the Tea 2030 working group has identified the factors likely to have the biggest impact.

The 19 factors – from the emergence of new business models through to the global growth of the middle classes – are open for viewing at They want your views – visit the site to explore the factors and share how you think each could change the industry.

The next stage of the project is to create a number of future possible scenarios. These will be used to design a set of guiding principles to help the industry create the sustainable future it needs, and identify the key areas for collaborative action.

The Tea 2030 team is keen to hear from people who would like to take part in the project as active participants. They are also exploring the possibility of running a US workshop. Please get in touch with Madeleine Lewis if you are interested.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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