Environmental sustainability is the trend of the year


By Keith Nunes, Food Business News 



KANSAS CITY — Sustainability is the food and beverage industry’s trend of the year. While it may be unconventional to declare a trend of the year before the year is out, enough has happened during the past seven months to warrant such a declaration.


Credit must be given to Innova Market Insights, Arnhem, The Netherlands, which noted at the beginning of the year that, for the first time, consumers participating in the market researcher’s Lifestyle and Attitude Survey said health of the planet is their top global concern rather than health of the population. More specifically, Innova found product launches carrying environmental claims are growing at three times the pace of total food and beverage activity.


Innova’s insight came on the heels of the 2021 Consumer Goods Forum, which highlighted sustainability’s emergence as a significant trend as consumers stepped out from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers from the Boston Consulting Group pointed out at the time that people ranked sustainability of a product as a top three choice when making a purchase.


Food and beverage manufacturers large and small have endeavored to keep in step with consumer interest in sustainable products. Very often such efforts have been associated with the manufacturing process or packaging. Such initiatives include the use of renewable energy in processing, implementation of zero-waste supply chains, the purchase of carbon credits, or the use of recyclable or compostable packaging, to name a few.


While worthwhile, these actions focus on process over the actual formulation of a product. That’s why this year’s Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Chicago, also known as IFT FIRST, was so important. It was at that event where the sustainability trend appeared to reach a tipping point as numerous suppliers showcased individual ingredients produced through sustainable initiatives.


Leading the way were…