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Sustainability increasingly top of mind for consumers

Mindful choices are driving more of consumer purchasing – and that’s good news for sustainably sourced and produced emulsifiers.

2018 is poised to be a year of growing consumer conscientiousness in the world of food and nutrition, according to the most recent Innova Market Insights trend forecast. As reported by FoodIngredientsFirst, the number one consumer trend in 2018 is ‘mindful choices’, which includes decreasing food waste and increasing value-driven purchases.

 

Not wasting away

As the general impact of food waste is increasingly understood, consumers are responding to the staggering statistic that up to 40% of food produced for human consumption never makes it onto our plates. Many food producers are tackling the economic, environmental and humanitarian outcomes of wasted food, and consumers increasingly expect manufacturers to give preference to sustainable, non-wasteful options. 

Without even knowing it, however, consumers may already be on the path to decreasing food waste by buying products that use sustainable, plant-based emulsifiers. That’s primarily because the simple step of choosing items containing sustainably sourced and produced emulsifiers does two very useful things. 

First, emulsifiers extend shelf life by reducing spoilage, lengthening the period during which foods maintain their visual appeal, and improving their texture and mouthfeel during consumption. And second, using sustainable, plant-based emulsifiers, such as those compliant with the Segregated RSPO (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil) supply model, lengthens shelf life while simultaneously ensuring greater sustainability.

 

Value-added

The FoodIngredientsFirst post, called Food waste, consumer values and online innovations among key 2018 trends goes on to say that decisions around food and nutrition are increasingly values-based. As consumers become more thoughtful and knowledgeable, they choose to spend on products from companies that give them peace of mind.

Today’s discerning consumers are more aware than ever of the potential environmental and social consequences of food production. Aspects such as CO2 neutrality, ethical sourcing and material traceability are becoming more important – and these considerations are more likely to encourage consumers to select providers who are committed to protecting the environment, supporting local communities and ensuring food safety throughout the whole manufacturing process.

A growing number of companies already demonstrate their commitments in these areas by supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And it appears that consumer trends for 2018 are well-aligned with SDGs that promote ‘good health and well-being’ and ‘responsible consumption and production’.

One proviso, however, is the need to balance the move toward ‘clean label’ products against the ability of regulated and safety-tested additives such as emulsifiers to help ensure there is enough food for the world’s growing population. In a world without emulsifiers, many people and regions would most likely not have the resources required to produce or purchase clean label products – and the typically short shelf life of such products would only compound supply problems.

 

Motivating sustainability

Food and nutrition trends for 2018 point to consumers shopping with their consciences and prioritising sustainability. This shift increases the likelihood that both consumers and providers will make mindful choices that can help our environment and provides strong motivation for food manufacturers to support the SDGs, including selecting sustainable options whenever possible.

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