What is Sustainability in the Food Industry?

Sustainability and food security are interconnected concepts that directly impact the food and beverage industry. Food sustainability centers around using resources responsibly to ensure continuous nourishment for subsequent generations, protecting the future of our planet and people. As the global population expands, the food industry must adopt new production processes to meet the growing demand for fresh, healthy, and safe food.
The Importance of Sustainable Food Production
The United Nations projects that by 2050, 68% of the global population will live in urban areas. Urbanization often leads to inequality and reduced food security among the urban poor. Fostering proactive, sustainable food supply networks is imperative for the survival and prosperity of modern society.
Adopting sustainable food production practices also helps preserve the natural environment and mitigate the risks of impending climate change that may have devastating economic effects.
Sustainable food production includes reducing carbon and other gas emissions that contribute to the greenhouse effect. They also help preserve scarce resources, protect biodiversity, and maintain the fragile ecosystems that sustain life.
Recent reports found that 49% of global consumers consider sustainability when shopping for food and beverages1. Manufacturing sustainable products may help your brand resonate with a larger buyer market and increase your overall customer base. A separate study found that consumers tolerate higher prices for sustainable goods versus standard goods across all price points2. Providing a sustainably-made product range may help you increase turnover in the long term.
5 Sustainable Production Practices for the Food and Beverage Industry

  1. Adopt a circular resource consumption model
    A circular model involves reusing or repurposing discarded components of your production line to reduce your waste and landfill contributions. Introducing incentivized packaging programs, such as returnable bottles, refillable cups, and collectible containers can help get your customers involved in your sustainable efforts. Donating surplus goods is another circular production approach.

  3. Build ethical value chains
    True sustainability extends beyond your business and helps build stronger surrounding communities. Building ethical labor practices help you create a healthy work environment that supports a dignified standard of living for your workforce. Choosing ethical suppliers to source raw materials, natural flavorings, and other ingredients can help you build a more sustainable final product.

  5. Support responsible farming practices
    Supporting farmers who respect the natural ecology of the local area is a driving force behind the sustainability movement. Choose growers that implement seasonal crop rotation and avoid monocrops to preserve soil quality and protect biodiversity. Consider animal welfare when sourcing meat and dairy products, and choose fast-growing, low-impact crops wherever possible to reduce water consumption and pesticide use.

  7. Increase efficiency through technology
    Using technological innovations to automate your production process can be more efficient and sustainable. New automation software can help sort produce to reduce waste and improve your quality control to eliminate defective goods. Modern machinery often uses less water and energy than older models, preserving scarce resources while saving operational costs.

  9. Reduce overall carbon emissions
    Food production is responsible for 30% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change3. Monitoring your distribution channels and choosing low- or zero-emission food transportation methods will drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Using natural extracts to bolster flavor profiles helps reduce your need for imported or exotic ingredients.

Establishing sustainable food sources starts with the food and beverage industry. Growers, manufacturers, and distributors must adopt sustainable operational practices to preserve international food security for future generations. At Advanced Biotech, we are passionate about partnering with eco-conscious business owners to build sustainable food supply networks. Please contact us for more information.

1 https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/19026-consumers-seek-more-significant-sustainability-benefits
2 https://www.nature.org/en-us/what-we-do/our-insights/perspectives/food-industry-market-analysis-green-recovery/
3 https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sustainability/