With the world’s population reaching an estimated (and staggering) nine billion in the next couple of decades, it’s become increasingly apparent that the focus on sustainability has made it to the top of many food producers priority list. Equally it’s now a core value in the consumer’s heart and mind. And as a result food choices are rapidly changing to support this value.  So much so, that marketers are weaving the message of sustainability into the overall brand persona so that it speaks volumes about the values a company possesses.

But what are companies doing to support sustainability? And how can we make choices to support this movement towards sustainability and transparency?

Females in Food has partnered with food and beverage ingredients company Directus to bring you an insight into companies making an impact in the sustainability and transparency arena across the globe. As well as addressing the sort of ways you can help the future of the planet by being more mindful of the food choices you make.

1. Whole Foods Market is an American supermarket chain that specialises in selling organic products.  They have named transparency as the top food trend for 2018. 69% of the consumers surveyed wanted more transparency about the company’s sustainability practice.  For manufacturers of food products – farm to bag or knowing where your food comes from is becoming more and more crucial. For consumers, there are apps available to rate how sustainable a food product really is.  HowGood is an American app that tells you the story behind your food.

2. Ethical labels also continue to be on the spotlight.  There were 55,100 new product launched globally in 2017 that had ethical food labels and made ethical food claims. This market alone was worth worth 709 billion Euro in 2017. More than 35,000 products that are on sale worldwide are fair trade certified. In 2017, 10% of food and beverages carried an organic claim globally.

3. So how can we live more sustainably?  Some of the ways we can do this is by throwing away less –reuse recycle and reduce food waste. BeGreen, a start-up company in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, is producing fresh and organic produce inside the city’s main shopping centre.  The company’s goal is to produce sustainable and healthy food for the urban community while also reducing the amount of food wasted along the supply chain.  The urban farm uses hydroponic methods to grow fresh and organic produce and sells it locally. BeGreen sells their produce to approximately 30 restaurants, four retail stores and directly to anyone who visits the farm.  They keep sales as close to the farm as possible, with the farthest shipment located only 10 kilometres away.

4. Bigger companies have an even bigger role in contributing to sustainability.  Dohler was recently awarded with the German Award for Excellence in the “Sustainable Leadership” category for exemplary sustainability management by the German Association for Sustainability.  The jury was impressed on how the topic of sustainability has been holistically integrated into the business strategy and culture. Due to Dohler’ s backward integration with their own controlled vegetable cultivation, farming and manufacturing in state-of-the art processing facilities they can offer sustainable, traceable and the highest quality ingredients regarding colour, taste and mouthfeel.  Processing the raw material so close to their origin not only guarantees authenticity but also helps to optimise logistics and therefore reduces the carbon footprint significantly.

5. Another way we can live more sustainably is to find more low environment impact foods.  Edible insects are one of them. Edible insects contain high quality protein, vitamins and amino acids and have only a small impact on the environment.  Entonote is one company in Italy who is actively spreading education about this topic and EntoCube offers technology to farm insects and insect protein ingredients for the food industry.   

Every single one of us can have a role to play in sustainability. We can do this by producing and purchasing sustainable food products, by recycling and by reducing food waste.  This way we can make sure that we leave behind a planet rich in natural resources for future generations to come.

Keeping on top of global trends is paramount when it comes to building your food and drink business. With consumers’ growing knowledge about what they eat and drink, and their thirst for alternative products, it’s no wonder manufactures are spending more on innovation and product development.

In this blog we outlined what’s trending right now but to stay on top of all the industry news can be overwhelming. Where do you begin to source your knowledge?