• Caterina Sullivan

How Does Sustainability Impact Food Safety and Quality in Your Business?



Previously, we have covered what it means to eat sustainably. In this article, we touched on the impact of food on economic, social and environmental sustainability, how you can switch to a sustainable diet and what your food and beverage company can do to improve sustainability.

The growing movement for socially and environmentally sustainable food is shifting the entire industry. It is not just the few businesses who are looking to source local and organic suppliers who use sustainable agricultural practices and ensure fair workplace policies, to transport food sustainable, reduce packing or use sustainable packaging. As more suppliers need to meet the growing demands for sustainability, companies who are not necessarily looking for sustainable production patterns are being positively impacted.

One of the biggest discussions at the moment is food security and the amount of food wasted each year. With the global population set to dramatically rise over the coming decades, food security is a major concern. In 2017, food insecurity was up by 2% with 821 million people in the world facing chronic food deprivation. Even developed countries experience food insecurity with almost 20% of Australia's population having faced food insecurity in the past 12 months. These statistics are staggering when compared to our food wastage in Australia. Approximately 3.1 million tonnes of edible food is wasted at a consumer level and a further 2.2 million tonnes is wasted at a commercial level. This is costing the Australian economy approximately $20 billion per annum.

These concerns around food wastage and food insecurity have led to organisations which are focused on closing this gap. The movement for 'ugly fruit and vegetables' has grown significant momentum recently as more people have become aware of the amount of perfectly edible food discarded purely based on aesthetics. There has also been a return to consumer participation in farmers' markets.

Consumers are looking to participate in healthier lifestyles, causing food and beverage companies needing to shift their ideals and values in-line with consumer demands. In the US, soda consumption is at its lowest in 32 years. Local food consumption is on the increase. This is causing companies to understand their consumers better to make informed decisions about how the company's values must be reworked to remain true to their own beliefs but also match that of their consumers.

The fair-trade movement has also gained momentum with more and more organisations looking for fair-trade certification before sourcing products. In Australia alone, over $377 million retail sales of fair-trade products were made in the 2016 / 2017 financial year. As more organisations become fair-trade accredited, other businesses will also secure their accreditation so as not to be at a competitive disadvantage.

These are just a handful of the impact of sustainability on food safety and quality. If you are a food and / or beverage business and would like to find out more information about how your business can become more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and market this effectively to your consumers, contact our team today!

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