Future shock

Diane's away of vacation, but she managed to write a few comments before she left. Here's what she had to say: Ethnic cuisines are center of the plate in restaurants and prepared foods in the U.S. Attributed to changing demographics and international travel, which broadens American taste buds, ethnic cuisines and ingredients are as important to the industry's future new product success as the current wellness phenomena. One of the most society-changing trends in the U.S. is demographic singularity, according to Nat Irvin II, founder of Future Focus 2020 at Wake Forest University, the Strickler Executive in Residence Professor of Management at the University of Louisville and a member of the World Future Society board of directors, reports The Futurist. "Demographic singularity is when the pace of demographic change is so fast and so far-reaching that the American identity as we have known it will be irreversibly altered," he explains. "In one and a half generations, you won't recognize the place you now call home." Even though most people assume this singularity will occur in the U.S. when the "minority majority" occurs (when 51 percent of the population is nonwhite, in about 2050), Irvin says the point of society-wide disruption will occur much sooner, by 2015, when minorities reach 40 percent of the population. "Every day between now and 2025, America will become more black, brown, Asian, gray and feminine," says Irvin. "These trends are accelerating, and one in three Americans is now a member of a minority group." And he adds, "Of the next 100 million Americans (to be added in the next 37 years), half will be immigrants or their children." By 2050, the Urban Institute forecasts that 21 percent of Americans will claim mixed ancestry.

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