The latest trends in the food and beverage industry suggest that sustainability is no longer the concern of a select few. From being a fringe issue of elite environmentalists, the carbon footprint of food and beverages is a mass priority today. Also, the consumers are shunning brands that cling to the erstwhile wasteful practices. Be it single-use plastics or fossil fuels, the very survival of food and beverage businesses lies in finding cost-effective alternatives.
Here are 7 important challenges that affect sustainability in the food industry:-
Alternative Sources of Energy
Among the top sustainability trends in the food and beverage industry, transitioning from conventional to sustainable energy sources is the biggest challenge. With depleting fossil fuel reserves and heightened global warming, there is a strong global lobbying force for alternative energy. Being a massive, multi-billion dollar, and multifarious industry, the food and beverage sector is facing the wrath of the environmental-conscious consumer. Moreover, the need of the hour is to find suitable renewable energy sources to replace the non-renewable ones. Most importantly, this shouldn’t hamper the efficiency of time-bound processes in the supply chain.
Depleting Soil Quality
Several decades earlier, the use of fertilizers and pesticides was rampant. The fertilizers and pesticides are considered necessary to boost agricultural production. Today they are perceived as an environmental hazard, detrimental to soil quality. As per 2022 food trends , there is impending pressure on food businesses to go pesticide-free and GMO-free.
Plantations versus Forests
Massive forest fires have erupted over the last decade. While some of these are associated with climate they have linked others linked with agricultural plantations. Clearing up forests for palm, sugar, and other plantations across Asia, Africa, and South America has been a pressing point. From devastating wildlife habitats to increasing air pollution, deforestation for the sake of plantation growing has been unequivocally condemned. Food businesses need to distance themselves from these practices and sourcing ingredients from such plantations.
Vegetarianism for the Sake of Ecological Sustainability
2021 food trends display a clear rise in the number of consumers embracing vegetarianism on account of eco-consciousness. This is a relatively new trend. Previous instances of people abstaining from meat primarily involved health concerns and ethical concerns. Now, the high carbon footprint of meat and seafood-based foods is the prime concern. Food brands have to gear up accordingly and change their offerings to match these evolved needs.
In both urban and rural spaces, biodiversity has declined to a great extent. Insects and other organisms in the lower ranks of food chains have reduced in numbers. This in turn has made food chains go topsy-turvy. There are multiple factors which altogether are contributing to it.
Lowering Water Table
The depletion of groundwater levels is an outcome of increasing industrialization and urbanization. Food businesses must display sustainability in water usage with eco-friendly practices. The most popular ones include rainwater harvesting, the use of recycled water for irrigation purposes, and drip irrigation. Else, the perception of indiscriminate use of water will cost your brand dearly.
Protecting Local Communities
The food and beverage brands that empower local communities by sourcing from them have a much higher consumer appeal. Instances of large conglomerates getting away with uprooting local residents are now passé. Sourcing fresh and local food ingredients is a lot more appealing than imported, exotic ones.
Also, the major food and beverage corporations today have to bear the brunt of the global sustainability drive. However, the general consumer perception always lays an onus on the company. Whether you are eager to launch a food/beverage start-up or already own a business in this gigantic industry is immaterial. Being aware of the challenges that affect sustainability in the food industry is of high priority for any business today.