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The Future Is Now... Sustainability, Part 2

In an earlier post we looked at sustainability in retail and consumer insights. Further evidence focuses on the growing demand consumers are putting on brands to help them be better consumers. So much innovation is happening in this space it is worth sharing insights form recent research around food, the planet and wellness.

2 topics are consistently getting noticed.

food security

Soil Health is one of the many ways we can begin to change the trajectory of our food supply chain quickly.

In September 2019, 19 global companies, including Danone, Kellogg’s, Barry Callebaut and Unilever, joined the World Business Council for Sustainability to protect and restore biodiversity in their supply chains and product lines.

US-based FMCG company General Mills has vowed to advance regenerative agriculture across one million acres of US farmland by 2030. It has also committed to a three-year, $2bn coalition with US non-profits The Nature Conservancy, Soil Health Institute and Soil Health Partnership to develop educational programs and tools (including an open-source self-assessment app) for farmers.

US snack brand EPIC Provisions has committed to sourcing 100% grass-fed cattle by 2021. The company has purchased land damaged by overuse to raise grass fed bison. Raising grass fed cattle if done properly can restore the overused land. As a result the company has debuted the first product to with a Land to Market Ecological Outcome Verification seal (science based certification for the food and fiber industries from The Savory Institute)

At a recent conference - Food Matters 2020 - much of the discussion was around how brands can do better for themselves, consumers, and their suppliers by shifting their model to being purpose led.

“We need to think about the three ‘P’s’ of the bottom line: people, planet and profit. We need food that ensures fairer trade relations, is fairer to the planet and provides fairer income to producers. Does it mean less or no meat? Or is it about better quality meat from better methods of production?”

Barbara Tocco, UK research associate at Newcastle University.

plant focus

It’s no secret that plant based diets are on trend right now. Brands are taking notice of the growing numbers for plant based, and vegan consumers. Plant based diets are often connected to the 3 “P’s” of the bottom line as Barbara Tocco noted at a received conference. With in this space supermarket brands have an opportunity here to connect with consumers. Supermarkets typically have strong connections with their shoppers . Shoppers trust them and often consider their local supermarket as their store. Private label is often offered at a favorable price point for consumers and if done right trust carries over from the brand to the product. UK Supermarket ASDA has initiated plant based private label. “The role of the brand is to have tasty, 100% plant-based meals and sides that celebrate plants, and they must have a health and sustainability bias. [We’ve used] 100% recyclable trays and it’s all Vegan Society approved,” - Joanna Johnson, head of private label innovation at UK supermarket Asda.

The rise in popularity in plant based eating and plant based diets has uncovered category gaps in product offerings. Opening the door for new product innovation. Cheese is one area that is notably lacking. According to food expert .... Carole Bingley, senior associate principal scientist at UK research analytics company RSSL “It’s difficult to replicate the mouth-feel of cheese.”

While it is proving difficult for producers match texture and consistency with cheese it hasn’t prevented new innovation in this possibly lucrative space.

Looking forward to more discovery + innovation!

Julie Dugas

One of the Heads

Studio | H2G

I’m one of the heads at Studio | H2G. I’m not a writer (which you may have picked up on quickly!) I am passionate about the business of retail, consumer behavior and trends and dialogue around that thinking.

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