Climate change is a major reason for the rise of pandemics in the 21st century. When it comes to the recent pandemic caused by COVID-19, climate change may have played an important role in its emergence by creating an environment that drove several species to virus-carrying bats to southern China.
As the earth is heating up, animals on land and sea have a natural tendency to head towards the poles to escape the heat. This means that animals that are coming into contact with each other or humans generally wouldn’t under normal circumstances, creating an opportunity for pathogens to be transmitted from one animal to another. Deforestation is also responsible for the habitat loss of many species of animals, forcing them to migrate and potentially come in contact with other animals or people and share germs. Livestock farms also serve as a source for the transmission of infections from animals to people. To curb this sustainable animal husbandry practices could potentially reduce infectious diseases and lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The climate change scare is real and is altering the very reality we live in. To salvage the existing situation, we have no other option than to adopt sustainable practices in every field, and industry.
Let’s look in detail how the food and beverage industry is using sustainability to be self-sustenant post-COVID-19:
1) Conscious/Green Consumerism
The consumers of today and tomorrow want to ‘go green’ even with their eating and drinking habits. The green consumer of today wants food and beverage brands to embrace a sense of responsibility towards the environment.
The food and beverage industry is being nudged by these consumers to produce healthier products, with more ethically-sourced ingredients and more transparent supply chains. The GenZ and Millenials due to their level of awareness often trace a brand’s sustainability record with QR codes or smart labels with a primary agenda of knowing where their food originates from.
2) Sustainability is great for branding
According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, “71% of consumers are actively buying more environmentally friendly products than they did five years ago.” If food and beverage players are capable of leveraging the concept of sustainability in branding they have the chance of improving their market share considerably.
3) Turning ‘food insecurity’ into ‘sustainable food security’
According to World Bank, “COVID-19 is estimated to have dramatically increased the number of people facing acute food insecurity in 2020. WFP (World Food Programme) estimates that 149 million people (including refugees) were acutely food insecure (i.e., facing food crisis conditions or worse) across 79 countries in 2019. COVID-19 is projected to bring the total number of acutely food insecure people to 272 million by the end of 2020 in those same countries.”
People all around the world agree that the food and beverage industries with the help of governments and consumers have to do their part to fight world hunger together. Consumers are increasingly aware of food security and how climate change poses as it’s a threat. In this effort, consumers are eating sustainably to have a lower environmental impact, moderating their portion size and checking their food waste.
Organizations such as the WFP work towards lifting people out of hunger who cannot produce or obtain enough food for themselves, providing food assistance to an average of 91.4 million people in 83 countries each year. Food brands worldwide are offering support through donation programs, new product development to provide more nutrition with less and new sources of food.
4) Rise of ‘New Foods’
2020 saw the rise of ‘plant-based’ foods, especially when it comes to the concept of ‘plant-based’ proteins.
This trend became widespread due to the rise of veganism and vegetarianism. Big food and beverage giants such as McDonald’s and Burger Kind went a step ahead and started testing plant-based burgers.
With the rise of niche diets, where cauliflower and almonds were used as pizza bases as substitutes to carbohydrate-rich options, and the concept of zoodles as a substitute for spaghetti, experiments with plant-based foods are here to stay.
5) Regenerative Agriculture
Sustainability in the food and beverage industry also calls for the practice to maintain the soil health of farming lands. This gave birth to the concept of ‘regenerative agriculture’ which promotes the need to:
- Restore soil health
- Rebalance water and carbon cycles
- Create new topsoil
- Grow food in a regenerative way
According to a report, “If the quantity of carbon in farm soils increases 0.4% each year, it could offset the 4.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions that humans pump into the atmosphere annually.”
Healthy soil resulting from regenerative agricultural practices holds more water and therefore requires less water to be added. Underground and hydroponic versions of regenerative agriculture are also emerging.
6) The ‘Green Metal’: Aluminum
When it comes to food and beverage packaging, especially the ‘one-time use only’ ones, the biggest culprit here is plastic.
Simon Lowden, president of global foods at Purchase, explained that “The vilification of plastic bottles represents an opportunity for beverage brands to elevate the simple aluminum can.”
Aluminum (also known as the ‘Green Metal’) is a champion when it comes to sustainability. It is a known fact that 75% of the aluminum that has ever been made or produced is still in circulation due to the simple fact that this metal can be recycled over and over again. The aluminum beverage can you recycle, might reappear as a car part or a window frame in its next life.
Beverage companies such as RightWater and PepsiCo are committed to ditching plastic for good and using recycled aluminum as its alternative.
To guide food and beverage companies and help them become self-sustenant, a Food and Beverage Service Consultant would be the best ‘go-to’ person. Food and Beverage Service Consultants are hired by F&B companies with a strong agenda of maximizing profits while also practicing methods that are technologically sound and environmentally friendly.
HPG Consulting has the Best Food and Beverage Service Consultants that help industries and independent entrepreneurs in the F&B industry to:
1) Plan and Implement strategies
2) Conceptualise and remodel patterns
3) Maximise profits while maintaining a low carbon footprint
4) Train and develop personnel and teams
5) Develop processes, systems, infrastructure, and mindset to evolve client businesses
6) Prepare clients to be ‘future-ready’
This is just the tip of the iceberg, expand your knowledge base and get in touch with HPG’s Food and Beverage Service Consultants.