Finding the balance between food demand and supply in the most sustainable manner is one of the most critical challenges for mankind. The increasing awareness of environmental issues has accelerated sustainability-driven investments in different industries, including food and beverage.
As consumers realize their impacts on food consumption and production and climate change becomes an ever-increasing threat, manufacturers, retailers businesses, the entire food industry are coming under increased scrutiny. Society demands to re-evaluate their food production processes and make sustainability a part of their business models.
In the past decades, companies have responded to these demands by adopting a wide range of sustainability practices. These include the use of crop rotation, water-efficient fixtures, energy recycling, and top-quality tools such as servo filling equipment that guarantees the lowest level of product degradation.
Today, COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in the food and beverage supply chain, which has changed consumers’ perspectives in the supply chain and the way they shop for their basic needs. Amid these concerns, the food industry has been slow to adopt sustainability trends to make their businesses consumer- and environmentally friendly. To help you with your sustainability efforts, here are some major sustainability trends that will take shape in the food and beverage industry.
More than half of the consumer population are looking for products that will support a socially responsible and sustainable lifestyle. They do this by choosing their food and beverage based on sustainability considerations. Since more companies are now adopting clear and easy-to-read food labels, consumers are putting particular attention to ingredient lists and green labels.
Generally, consumers want to see organic and natural ingredients instead of chemical-based products whose ingredients have adverse effects on the environment and the human body. Taking the latter approach can easily put off consumers and move to other brands that contain healthful ingredients.
To persuade consumers that the company’s products are environmentally friendly, most of them are taking the shortcut by using greenwashing techniques in their marketing spins. They do this by using misleading information on product labels and making false claims on their marketing campaign. They make customers believe their company is doing their part in saving the planet, wherein they’re actually contributing to the problem.
This approach may work for some time, but it will eventually backfire on the company as more people are becoming more critical about the brands they patronize. They take time to read customer reviews and make product assessments before making a purchase decision. Once consumers outed a brand because of its misleading claims, the company may suffer from reputational damages that can take a serious toll on its sales and operations.
Sustainable supply chain
The food industry is increasingly under scrutiny because of the growing impact of climate change, which has changed consumers’ diets and reduced limited resources to meet the demand of the rising population. As these challenges continue to persist, consumers are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment. Many of them are looking for products that consider sustainability from all stages of the supply chain.
In a 2020 research study by Forbes, 65% of consumers prefer products that will help them adopt a more sustainable and socially responsible life, and 60% look for products and services from brands that are environmentally and socially responsible. These figures show that adopting sustainable practices puts companies in an advantageous position as consumers are becoming more eco-conscious.
Businesses can respond to this by including sustainable considerations in the entire supply chain. This will reassure consumers that the brands they purchase from are taking a stance on reducing environmental impact. Thus, adopting eco-friendly sourcing strategies in the supply chain will give the brand more traceability and transparency.
Another trend that’s been shaping the food and beverage industry is the renewed focus on sustainability-sourced ingredients. The determining factor for this approach is whether the brand uses ingredients that will not harm the environment. The criteria for sustainable sourcing may depend on the industry since each sector uses various approaches in food manufacturing. Each has its own sustainability standards depending on the use of water, energy, and other natural resources.
Another way is to focus on the management of supply chains through the use of sustainable food technologies. These include farm automation, agricultural drones, and other tools that boost food security and productivity throughout the supply chain.
Consumer trends are now moving towards sustainable living, and companies should respond by re-evaluating their business models to make sustainability a part of their social responsibility efforts. Not only these practices will help meet their environmental goals, but they can go a long way in enhancing their brand image and developing cost-efficient investment strategies.