Sustainable Eating and the Environmental Cost of Food

July 2021

Environmental concerns over the future of the planet are changing the perspectives on food. An increasingly conscious consumer base wants products that are committed to areas like animal welfare, fighting food waste, plastic pollution, organic production and social commitments. This report analyses key sustainability trends driving change in the food and nutrition industry and delves into how companies are reacting to get up to speed into this space.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

The climate emergency clamours for a change in food systems

Around 40% of the land surface of the planet is being used for agriculture, and this is increasing on a yearly basis. It is deteriorating ecosystems and having a dramatic impact on climate change. There is an emergency to transform the food system so a more sustainable future can be achieved.

Public bodies push for more sustainable supply chains

Governments and institutions are setting measurable targets and initiatives, such as the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, to build a sustainable and resilient food system. Businesses need to adopt communication strategies that are more transparent and aligned with the broader company’s sustainability goals.

Purpose-driven commitments as a key strategic differentiator

Accessibility and inclusivity of food is a need that has accelerated on the back of the pandemic and that consumers are paying more attention to. Ethical commitments that support vulnerable communities and promote local sourcing and food provenance are spurring.

Environmentally-friendly innovation accelerating across the food supply chain

There are a range of developments happening with the aim of reducing wasted food and packaging (eg upcycling food), supporting farmers to transition their land to organic and improving the welfare of animals with the aim of reducing the number of intensive farms.

Consumer engagement is pivotal

Transparency is increasingly demanded by a growing consumer base that seeks sustainable food products. It is crucial to engage through honest narratives that connect with consumers from a more personal perspective. Social media is a key platform to raise consumer awareness about the goals and achievements.

Key findings
Race for more eco-friendly innovation in the food industry as consumer demand skyrockets
Examining sustainable eating and the environmental cost of food
Exploring sustainable eating and the environmental cost of food
Sustainable eating and the environmental cost of food in depth
Climate-friendly innovation
Socially responsible initiatives
Organic for me, organic for the planet
Plastic-free future
The fight against food waste
Animal welfare
Sustainable eating and the environmental cost of food in focus
Companies are meeting the needs of consumers using various strategies
Climate-friendly innovation: Infarm leads vertical farming to reduce environmental footprint
Socially responsible initiatives: FamilyMart supports local communities utilising physical outlets
Organic for me, organic for the planet: Danone accelerates its organic portfolio
Plastic-free future: Asda establishes partnership with fmcg players to tackle plastic waste
The fight against food waste: I Am Grounded and the Upcycled Grain Project (ANZ)
Animal welfare: Waitrose rolls out app to assess emotional wellbeing of animals on the farm
Sustainable eating and the environmental cost of food
Key industry takeaways
Challenges to overcome
Become tomorrow’s next leader

Packaged Food

In packaged food we consider two aspects of food sales: 1) Retail sales. 2) Foodservice. Retail sales is defined as sales through establishments primarily engaged in the sale of fresh, packaged and prepared foods for home preparation and consumption. This excludes hotels, restaurant, cafés, duty free sales and institutional sales (canteens, prisons/jails, hospitals, army, etc). Our retail definition EXCLUDES the purchase of food products from foodservice outlets for consumption off-premises, eg impulse confectionery bought from counters of cafés/bars. This falls under foodservice sales. For foodservice, we capture all sales to foodservice outlets, regardless of whether the products are eventually consumed on-premise or off-premise. Foodservice sales is defined as sales to consumer foodservice outlets that serve the general public in a non-captive environment. Outlets include cafés/bars, FSR (full-service restaurants), fast food, 100% home delivery/takeaway, self-service cafeterias and street stalls/kiosks. Sales to semicaptive foodservice outlets are also included. This describes outlets located in leisure, travel and retail environments. 1) Retail refers to units located in retail outlets such as department stores, shopping malls, shopping centres, super/hypermarkets etc. 2) Leisure refers to units located in leisure establishments such as museums, health clubs, cinemas, theatres, theme parks and sports stadiums. 3) Travel refers to units located in based in airports, rail stations, coach stations, motorway service stations offering gas facilities etc. Beyond the scope of the foodservice research are captive foodservice units that serve captive populations around institutions such as hospitals, schools, and prisons. This is also known as institutional sales.

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