Exploring trends at the Sustainable Foods Summit

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The Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit took place in Singapore last month. The European edition took place in Amsterdam in June.

Ecovia Intelligence organised the summit to explore new horizons for eco-labels and sustainability in the food industry. Ecovia Intelligence describes itself as a specialist research, consulting and training company.

It has highlighted eight of the key outcomes from the two summits:

Proteins crisis in Asia

In his opening keynote, David Yeung, founder of Green Common and the Green Monday movement, said the Asian food industry is facing a “sustainability crisis”. The growing population and changes in food consumption are putting a strain on protein-production systems, he said.

Potential of clean meat

Shir Friedman, co-founder of the Israeli company Supermeat, believes the future is with clean meat: cellular meat grown in refineries.

Address packaging impacts

EkoPlaza, the Dutch organic food retail chain, has introduced plastic-free aisles in its stores. CEO Erik Does said “the idea behind the world’s first plastic-free supermarket aisle was to show what is possible. We do not want packaging-free food, but plastic-free packaging.”

Innovative packaging solutions

At the summits, there were several examples of plastic-free packaging. The Dutch company EOSTA, for instance, has introduced ‘natural branding’ laser marking for its organic fruit and vegetables. The move has saved 6.3 million plastic packaging units, 88 tonnes of plastic, and 396 tonnes of carbon emissions.

Need for creativity

Organisations should be creative in finding solutions to sustainability challenges. Jesus Cia, founder of Josenea Bio, showed what’s possible when companies “think outside the box”. The social enterprise has set up an organic farm in northeast Spain. It hires workers who are at risk of social exclusion and trains them for employment.

Blockchain technology prospects

Blockchain has the opportunity to revolutionise supply chains for agricultural products. Trust and transparency are the major sustainability benefits, according to ScanTrust Regional Director Tim Hadsel-Mares.

Vegan and vegetarian trend

Mr Yeung said 22 per cent of the Hong Kong population (1.6 million people) now practise Green Monday, going vegetarian each Monday. The move has saved 900,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, 375 billion gallons of water, and 300 million animals.

Know thy target customer

According to Bulletproof Head of Strategy Ed Silk, consumers see complexity, confusion and contradiction in the sustainable food industry. Brands need to target their customers more effectively to succeed. Ed gave the example of Quorn, which repositioned itself from a ‘vegetarian’ to ‘healthy-eating’ brand to broaden its consumer appeal.