From consumers to retailers to manufacturers, sustainability increasingly occupies everyone’s mind. This has led food companies worldwide to imbibe eco-friendly measures into their production processes. Developing sustainable products while lowering the impact of environmental risks is what sustainable technology is about. It focuses on innovation while caring for natural resources and social and economic well-being.
Food companies can benefit from using sustainable technology to operate smoothly with a deeper purpose during a sustainability revolution. Some of the boons include:
Easier management of suppliers and multi-tier supply chains
Automation of data analysis to get actionable information
Fulfillment of food industry standards and regulations
Traceability and transparency
Strengthening of brand trust and loyalty between the company, industry, and consumer
Food manufacturers stand to gain reduced production and operation costs, higher profits, and improved brand awareness by going green. Some sustainability measures manufacturers can adopt to reduce their environmental footprint are discussed below.
According to USDA, consumer demand for healthy food and beverages has grown over the past decade. With more and more of them leaning towards organic foods for better health, companies are offering organic products to gain market share. Using these products allows manufacturers to reduce the number of chemicals introduced into the environment and protect natural resources. Manufacturers are heeding consumer concerns by mandating that their suppliers follow sustainability guidelines.
Cutting down on energy leads to reduced manufacturing costs—simple tasks like turning off equipment when not in use help save energy. Switching to energy-efficient lighting and air-sealing the buildings reduce energy consumption and costs. Ensuring properly sized electrical cables and wires helps prevent fire hazards and electricity wastage.
Since all food products need to be packed to ensure quality and safety, focusing on sustainability in this step significantly prevents wastage. Using recycled and thinner packaging materials, less packaging material and smaller packages can help companies reduce waste and save money significantly.
The food processing industry is a water-intensive domain. In food plants, money can be saved by conserving and recycling water. Companies should review their water usage and switch to less water-intensive procedures to save resources.
Upgrading transport vehicles for optimum efficiency can help manufacturers make substantial savings. Improved routing, fuel-saving fleet technology, and training drivers in efficiency to reduce idle time can be very effective means to be sustainable.
Food tech startups making strides sustainably
Keeping in mind the demand for sustainable foods, food tech startups focus on attracting consumers by adopting innovative ways to go green. Some noteworthy startups going the sustainable route are:
The Switzerland-based food tech startup cultures meat and beef from animal cells by extracting sample cow tissues through biopsies or fresh meat. This avoids the need for cattle rearing for meat and offers ethically, environmentally, and economically sustainable food.
This sustainable coffee brand is based in India and enrolls the Adivasi communities in the Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh to maintain the coffee plantations in the area. The communities are now growing organic and certified specialty coffee, uplifting their socio-economic status.
Under The Mango Tree
This Mumbai-based company is a hybrid social enterprise promoting beekeeping and sourcing organic honey from cooperatives. It also trains small farmers in beekeeping. Their products are purchased from their website under categories like tulsi honey, Himalayan flora honey, wild forest honey, jamun honey, eucalyptus honey, litchi honey, and limited edition masala honey.
The Danish startup uses artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to make food sensors that predict food expiry dates. This prevents meat and fish wastage and reduces the carbon footprint.
This US-based startup produces carbon-neutral snack bars using plant-based ingredients like kale, maca root, coconut, almonds, peas, and lion’s mane. They create wrappers from bio-cellulose from soy that can be biodegraded and composted.
Food manufacturers are utilizing the rising awareness about sustainability to innovate and develop products that suit consumers’ eco-friendly demands. Companies should create awareness about their sustainability initiatives with stakeholders and consumers. This will help every brand keep the environment at the top of the list and push other companies to do the same. This will go a long way in advancing the food industry while having a low environmental impact.