Fresh Ideas: Fresh-Cut Futurology

When I was a kid, I liked to explore in the treasure trove of magazines my dad kept in the attic. He loved to consume information about anything that involved gadgetry, science and technology, including versions of “The Whole Earth Catalog,” the most countercultural reading he ever did.

His favorite “techie” magazines were far more conventional. The attic contained boxes and boxes of Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and Mechanix Illustrated magazines, including issues from the 1950s and 1960s that speculated on what our world would look like in the future.

The writers and illustrators of those stories let their imaginations run wild, and it’s fascinating now to look back and see how well they were able to predict the future. Much of the speculation about the potential of space travel turned out to be true. Some of the wilder predictions about terrestrial transportation have not come to pass. We’ve seen flying cars (so far) only on reruns of “The Jetsons.”

We can’t help but look forward and wonder what innovations will come to pass. Produce processors have their ultimate wish lists full of solutions for problems that have challenged them for years. Some of those solutions may be closer than we think.

This month, we’re taking a technological look forward with our cover story (“Lining Up the Future,” starting on Page 10). Leaders of equipment manufacturers assumed the role of futurologists and gave us their best estimates of what the produce processing line might look like in 10 to 15 years. We think you’ll be fascinated by what they see.

This month, we are highlighting another future event, this one much closer. The annual United Fresh convention is gearing up and this year will be held from June 10-13 in Chicago. To find out more about the event, including the beginning of a three-year partnership with the Food Marketing Institute show, see our story beginning on Page 18.

Thanks for reading, and keep looking ahead.

Lee Dean, editorial director

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