17 essential reads on sustainability in food and drink

13 December 2021, 11:01 AM
  • Start your sustainability journey today with expert advice and must-read guides to the biggest environmental issues faced by the food and drink industry
17 essential reads on sustainability in food and drink

The growth of the conscious consumer has highlighted the importance of sustainability in the food and drink sector. The rising demand from shoppers proves that not only are environmental considerations good for the planet, but they’re also good for retailers’ bottom lines. Indeed, 29% of British consumers, who are responsible for £37bn of grocery sales annually, now consider themselves to be environmentally conscious, according to Kantar. 

As sustainability becomes increasingly linked to strong business performance, we’ve rounded up our top reads on the topic. Get ready to go green…

Sustainability facts vs myths

Learning to tell the difference between sustainability facts and myths is key to making the most of fast-growing eco opportunities. This year, we rounded up seven facts the food sector needs to understand about sustainability, from consumer buying habits to Covid’s impact on demand, as well as debunking four myths around food waste, biodegradable plastic and more.

The importance of eco-friendly packaging

Considering the packaging options available for fine food and drink products has never been more important. While these options tend to be pricier, the demand is clear: 83% of younger consumers showed a willingness to pay more for sustainable packaging, and sales of products marketed as sustainable grew more than seven times faster than products that weren’t. Read more about eco-friendly packaging here, the history of the sustainable packaging movement here, and the trends to know here.

Key sustainability problems to tackle

Understanding the issues that the food and drink sector faces when it comes to sustainability is the first step to tackling them. From the problem with modern supply chains to the threat of greenwashing, we asked experts about the biggest challenges that the sector needs to face up to and how they can achieve true sustainability and offer better products for their customers and the planet. Read about the six problem areas to tackle here.

A free downloadable resource

Covering business advice, need-to-know guidelines, sustainable sourcing and more, Sustainability: The Future is in Our Hands is a must-read for fine food industry players. This free downloadable white paper is packed with expert analysis, forecasts on the future of sustainability in the food and drink arena and tangible ways that your business can make meaningful changes. Download a copy free of charge here.

Meat vs plant-based

The debate over the environmental impacts of meat and vegan meat replacements continues to rage in the food and drink sector. With flexitarianism growing, understanding and promoting the benefits of locally sourced meat as well as plant-based alternatives to industrial meat farming can offer customers a more sustainable route to their evening meal. With the National Food Strategy targeting a goal of reducing meat consumption by 30% over the next 10 years, retailers need to understand the pros and cons.

Understanding the circular economy

Creating a circular economy, one in which products and materials are kept in continual use rather than going to waste, is a significant goal towards reducing waste around the world. As key players on the ground, fine food independents can begin to shift the economy towards one where less food and materials are wasted. Read more about the circular economy here, and how to get involved here.

Tapping into sustainable deliveries

Offering an eco-friendly alternative to unsustainable e-commerce giants and their super-speedy deliveries is one way that retailers can establish themselves as an environmentally friendly business. We explore how retailers are prioritising their products and suppliers over fast shipping in order to reframe the value of fine food and drink. Read more here.

Carbon labelling

The introduction of ‘eco score’ food labels has been lauded as an essential step forward in the fight to improve the sustainability of consumers’ diets. George Eustice, the secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, has said they have the potential to “address the urgent challenges of sustainability and climate change”. Experts have explained to Speciality Food how carbon labels work and why they’re so important here, and you can read more about the shift from calories to climate here.

Targeting net zero

Businesses today are clamouring to achieve net zero carbon emissions, but what does this gold standard mean, and how can food and drink companies get there? We speak to brands driving the change here, and learn how to make your first steps into carbon offsetting here. Plus, find out how the wider sector is tackling carbon emissions from farm to fork here.

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