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Into the Future, towards Kondratiev’ Sixth Wave

The world changed with the disruptive crisis of 2008. This crisis symbolises the ending of the 5th Kondratieff wave. A wave that started around 1970 with the invention and use of silicon computer chips. The subsequent introduction of personal computers has resulted in increased efficiency of operations whereby fewer people could do more work. Ensuing the deployment of PCs, a worldwide connection between these computers created a true information network, simply known today as the internet. Information has become freely available and the emergence of smart phone and tablets has further accelerated the speed of doing business: the world seems literally reachable and active 24/7.

Meanwhile the autumn of the 5th wave also marked the rise of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked-in are now embedded in the daily life of millions. The 5th wave created an enormous amount of new wealth.

The spring of the 6th wave has started with many new business opportunities and investment needs.  It is clear that this new wave will be attuned to the needs of health and wellbeing in general. Due to the revolution created by the Internet the world we live in has become fast paced and online: people are reachable anytime, any place. For productivity this seems optimal, however, to uphold this faster paced way of doing business people also need to tend to the needs of their inner selves. Therefore, people need products and services that maintain and monitor their wellbeing and enable healthy and happy lifestyles.

The reality of today is that the present generations will not become much older than their parents. People suffer from metabolic syndromes, are often overweight and suffer from degenerative diseases, ranging from too high cholesterol levels to Alzheimer’s, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other non-curable diseases.

As most consumers are always busy there was a tendency to forget to focus on (personal) health and wellbeing. Relaxing, having fun, and living an enjoyable life in harmony with family and friends was neglected. Fortunately, today this focus has shifted and people’s ambitions have changed. There is an increased awareness of the necessity to keep a healthy and sustainable environment to be able to be active 24/7. The challenge for companies is to create products and enabling technologies that help overcome the pressures created by the demands of the modern world. A significant opportunity lies in making devices and food and beverages easier to access and have them delivered in a timely manner right to the doorstep and ready for consumption.

The largest growth sector at this moment consists of (chilled and/or heated) personal delivery services catering to the changing demands of todays’ consumers. These demands seem to be migrating from large heavier meals to snacking oriented “grab-and-go” solutions. New businesses in this field cater to this need and to the necessity to offer better quality and primarily natural options.

Combining social engagement and tracking physical activity and food intake metrics is a rapidly evolving business segment and welcomed by the modern day consumer that uses these tools to socially interact and keep their friends and social contacts informed.

Unfortunately, for a substantial part of the world all of this is not economically feasible. Therefore, the Western world is also working on food security solutions (allowing for scalable production and distribution of cheaper and safer food). In emerging nations, the introduction of basic health programs is being implemented. Novel technologies are used to advance the speed of growth of food to support the population living in Africa and Asia.

Apart from the poor segments of the population, emerging nations also have a growing and evolving urban middle class that shows an increasing demand for fresh convenience products (including freshly-cut fruits and vegetables, premium juices) that are already available in countries of the Western World.

In other words, we see a global and generic shift towards a healthier lifestyle and the consumption of healthier foods and beverages. Sixth Wave is therefore actively seeking and assessing companies with novel technologies and products enabling this healthier lifestyle in an ever more demanding world.

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