Food Sustainability in 2024
Jan 14, 2024
The last couple of years have been a time of extreme changes in weather, climate, and landscape across the globe. Human activities, fish farming, and the mass production and consumption of food are driving temperature records to alarming heights, triggering climate-induced disasters like heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, and floods–which damage the livelihood of humans and crops.
As responsible producers, manufacturers, and retailers, identifying key trends–societal, technological, or environmental–and being salient to them is key to pushing sustainability across every process from sourcing, developing, marketing, and consumer engagement.
Here are some trends that are expected to come this year.
Ancient grains and crops are making a comeback. There are thousands of edible plant species, yet we are only eating a small percentage of them. Governments and food research organizations will focus on adding biodiversity to the agricultural landscape, paying more attention to orphan crops like finger millet, yam, tubers, and roots. These crops are highly nutritional too, much like our conventional ones such as rice and wheat.
Whole plants as whole alternatives for meats. While the plant-based industry is seemingly growing every quarter, many of the meatless farms and companies are seeing a huge decline in sales. Most of these ‘meat alternatives’ usually contain high amounts of saturated fats, sugars, and salts, pushing demand for cleaner products.
Interest in beans, whole grains, and pulses will surge, aiding the food industry’s transition toward a more sustainable agri-food system while potentially improving the health of humans and the planet.
Understanding ‘greenwashing’. The term involves the act of making a product, policy, or activity appear sustainable or ‘eco-friendly’ when these foods actually have more potential for harm. This act poses a great threat to the credibility and reputation of food businesses as more and more policymakers plan to introduce penalties and fines.
Traceability across the food chain. Buyers, vendors, and investors are now looking for suppliers that provide transparency and traceability across their value chain. This would mean that brands need to be able to communicate all documentation on the steps of the supply chain, ensuring their practices are responsible. This initiative also helps to buy the consumers’ trust and loyalty.