MSLGROUP’s latest publication – The Future of Food Communications – discusses the need for a transformation in how food and beverage companies communicate to reach consumers in the new conversation age. The report highlights five future food trends to watch out for, one of which is Food Waste Disruption.
The problem is astronomical, particularly in developed markets. In the US alone, wasted fresh produce is estimated to cost up to as much as $160bn a year, as almost half of fresh produce grown in the country is unsold because it doesn’t meet strict retail standards.
Arguably, the topic has been the biggest sustainability issue to hit mainstream media and public consciousness in developed markets in recent years. But interestingly, the companies taking a lead on the topic with the most innovative solutions aren’t the big retailers or producers. Instead, it’s the start-ups and social enterprises that have emerged to take centre stage in making food consumption more palatable.
- Back To The Roots provides kits that allow you to grown mushrooms from coffee grounds.
- Cerplus connects restaurants and buyers with farms and wholesalers in San Francisco with discounted deals on food about to expire.
- Similarly, OLIO is an app that connects individuals with neighbours and local shops to share surplus food in their area.
- Food Minder – a small disc with an LED that you add to your food and drink items – blinks when the produce is about to expire.
But until these start-ups scale up to become household brands, society needs the big guys like major retailers and producers to step up the and make a tangible dent in the overconsumption problem. There are some encouraging signs from emerging leaders in this space:
- UK Supermarket Sainsburys will sell banana bread made from a recipe using bruised fruit, and is encouraging shoppers to do the same and avoid binning the unsightly bananas.
- Unilever is taking a macro-approach working with NGO Hubbub and have launched a Joint Ambition for a Zero Food Waste Britain that aspires ‘to create a dynamic and broad coalition of organisations committed to helping households better understand the value of food and reduce food waste in the UK’.
When a company like WTRMLN hits a trifecta of zeitgeists – combining THE beverage trend of 2016 (trust me…), whilst also being made from surplus watermelons AND being backed by Beyoncé – you know you addressing food waste in your business model is here to stay.
Read Salterbaxter articles in The Future of Food Communications:
- Drop-by-drop: water footprinting for a sustainable supply chain by Caroline Carson
- Integrated sustainable thinking: a critical necessity for food companies by Arabella Bakker