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The Consumers Gradual Shift Towards More Sustainable Eating

Whilst browsing around the vast choice of delicious food options in today’s supermarkets, it’s probably fair to say that most of us don’t think about where the food has come from and how it got to the store.

A few generations ago, exotic foods like avocados and mangos for example, hadn’t even been heard of let alone winning a space in our fruit bowls. Nowadays, these foods are so readily available, we take it for granted that we can buy them when and where we want.

Because we are now used to a wide choice, consumers have an incredibly high expectation when it comes to purchasing food products. Over recent years we have perhaps become more focused on obtaining food of the highest quality and variety (at a reasonable price) as opposed to the farming and manufacturing processes behind its production.

Sustainable production methods mean that food can be produced without harming the environment through inefficient farming or transportation methods. However, the majority of food found in today’s supermarkets is the product of an unsustainable food system.

Constant high demand has driven food manufacturers and farmers to produce more and more, with little consideration as to how it is going to be sustained in the future. 

Therefore, in order for our food to be produced, it is likely to have been dependent on foreign oil, over-framed soil, contaminated water and even caused disease in the plantations.

The impact of animal farming

Modern animal farming methods are one of the worst culprits when it comes to its unsustainable food production and this is having a detrimental impact on our planet.

Due to such a high demand for animal products in developed countries across the world, meat and dairy production is reported to take up 83% of farmland and produce 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions[1].

A change is needed and is coming

Following the release of hard-hitting documentaries and news coverage, people are becoming more aware of the negative implications of food production and non-recyclable packaging on the planet, which has resulted in a consumer shift in recent years. Many people are adopting more plant-based diets and are altering their purchasing habits. Opting for seasonal produce, buying locally grown food and even growing their own produce are some examples of ways in which consumers are attempting to eat more sustainably.

Savvy brands and retailers are responding to this consumer shift, using their packaging and various marketing activities to showcase their endeavors to become more sustainable. For example, supermarkets in France, (which has been named Europe’s top country for food sustainability), have been banned from throwing away unsold food and have strategies in place to half it’s current food waste by 2025.[2]

As more information is released about the impact of food production on the planet, the likelihood is this consumer shift will continue and major brands would be wise to respond to this seed-change now to reap the rewards in the future before it is too late.