It’s no secret that our company has been pushing for food manufacturers to adopt sustainable emulsifiers for their ingredient lists for some years now. We’ve certainly put a lot of investment into this direction, but there’s still a large part of the global market (most of it, in fact) that has yet to really jump on the sustainable ingredients train.
Perhaps it would help if I go back over the key reasons why we believe fully sustainable emulsifiers present a relatively easy option for changing at least some of the ingredients in food products to have a truly sustainable profile.
1: Sustainable emulsifiers directly address market demands
Recipes based on sustainable ingredients help to answer consumer and manufacturer health, safety and social responsibility concerns.
2: Palm oil sustainability is becoming a widely-recognised issue
Both palm oil and CO2 emissions are widely known and discussed environmental issues, lending more fuel to the advantages of kickstarting the sustainable ingredients list with sustainable palm oil- and carbon neutral-produced emulsifiers.
Reason 3: Sustainable emulsifiers are easily documentable
There are relatively few reliable yardsticks for realistically assessing whether a particular class of ingredients is sufficiently sustainable to offer full brand protection. But thanks to the existence of RSPO certification and widely accepted CO2 emissions documentation procedures, an emulsifier’s degree of sustainability is easily documented. And, while sustainable emulsifiers are a minor part of the ingredients list, they figure just as clearly on the label.
Reason 4: It’s usually a simple reformulation
Replacing the majority of ingredient types is likely to present a variety of production challenges. Not so with most emulsifier replacements – in many cases, it’s a one-to-one swap-over with no adjustment required to achieve the same end-product result.
Reason 5: It’s a market opportunity
Let’s not forget that creating products with a greater sustainable profile can open doors to new markets, too. And that’s a top priority for any food manufacturer hoping to grow its business and keep pace with a fast-changing world.
Hope on the horizon
While the swing toward sustainable ingredients may be moving slower than companies like Palsgaard could hope, there’s certainly hope on the horizon. At least, that is, if the results of a study carried out by research institute Ennova in 2017 (disclosure: the study was commissioned by Palsgaard) are to be believed. The study revealed that sustainable ingredients were already one of the top priorities for food manufacturers. In fact, 88% of the survey’s 276 respondents from around the globe stated that buying sustainable raw materials is important to their companies. And interest was even higher, at 91%, among purchasing department representatives.
Delivering on SDGs
Sustainably sourced and produced emulsifiers may be a minor part of your ingredients shopping list, but they’re powerful ones – and may be exactly what you’re looking for to support your company’s efforts toward the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Use them, for example, to make healthier products, reduce food wastage by prolonging shelf life, cut energy consumption during production, and support better working conditions in developing countries.
In a later post, I’ll connect sustainable emulsifiers directly to relevant SDGs, making it clearer how these multi-functional ingredients can contribute to your corporate social responsibility efforts.