The future of food is one in which circularity and sustainability thrive, where waste is redefined as a valuable resource to be used again and again, supply chain collaboration is second nature and environmental and social impacts are minimal. Helping cultivate this future is the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the BBC, which are equipping key industry stakeholders with the necessary tools to achieve their sustainability ambitions and drawing attention to the pioneering retailers, farmers and producers driving the change.
According to the report, member companies made significant headway on each of the organization’s environmental goals, which include reductions in CO2 emissions, food waste, water usage and packaging. FDF members, which include Britvic, PepsiCo and Mondelēz International, reported an absolute reduction of 51 percent in CO2 emissions from their use of energy in manufacturing operations in 2016 compared to the 1990 baseline.
FDF also revealed that members participating in its most recent waste survey achieved the organization’s target of reducing food and packaging waste sent to landfill to effectively zero (<0.1 percent) in 2015. In 2017, FDF published Packaging for People, Planet and Profit — Sustainability Checklist to help companies optimize their packaging systems in order to improve the sustainability of their value chain. FDF members continue to work with other parts of the packaging chain on improving the recycling of packaging, particularly plastics, with a focus on design aspects.
The continued consumer paradigm shift to plant-based diets
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In terms of water, reporting FDF members reduced their absolute water consumption by 35.8 percent between 2007 and 2016, with the amount of water consumed per ton of product reduced by 36.6 percent over the same period. These results represent a considerable contribution to the wider Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (FISS) industry target.
In addition to showcasing industry-wide progress, the report shares case studies from FDF member corporations Bettys & Taylors, Britvic, Coca-Cola European Partners, Mars, Matthew Algie, Mondelēz International, PepsiCo, Pladis and Warburtons.
The publication of the report coincides with the public launch of FDF’s Sustainability Resource Hub, an online platform providing information on various sustainability tools that were previously only available to member companies. The Hub contains information on voluntary certifications, collaborative platforms and practical tools to help businesses advance their sustainability agendas. The project is a key deliverable on FDF’s ambition on sustainable supply chains. The organization hopes the Hub will help businesses identify relevant and credible mechanisms to increase and maintain the resilience of their supply chains, both independently and in collaboration with other stakeholders.
“The food and drink manufacturing industry continues to deliver progress against our environmental ambitions. The Sustainability Resource Hub is the next step on our journey to support a shift towards integrating sustainable sourcing into decision making at all levels throughout the supply chain and achieving our Ambition 2025. We hope this tool will provide companies, particularly small-to-medium sized ones, with practical guidance to contribute to their sustainability goals,” said Helen Munday, Chief Scientific Officer for the Food and Drink Federation.
“Following the publication of the 25-Year Environment Plan, we look forward to working closely with government and other key stakeholders on evidence-based approaches to sustainability, including dealing with plastic waste and protecting and enhancing Britain’s natural capital.”
Meanwhile, the BBC is on the lookout for innovative manufacturers, retailers, producers and individuals that are helping revolutionize the food system in the UK.
The media outlet is now accepting nominations for the Future Food Award, part of the Food & Farming Awards 2018, which celebrates ambitious and ground-breaking ideas found within the food supply chain from initiatives by national retailers and major food and drink manufacturers to new models being put into practice by farmers and producers.
Innovations and ideas should address sustainability, access, health, energy or waste; and any initiative that is scalable, commercially viable and applicable to food production and distribution in the UK can be nominated. Nominees are assessed based on the scope of and motivation behind their projects, the impact they have already had in the UK and their potential to transform the wider food industry in the long-term.
Last year, the Award was won by Growing Underground, an underground hydroponic salad farm situated 33 meters below the busy streets of Clapham in south London. In addition to slashing food miles, the business is carbon-neutral, uses 70 percent less water than traditional agriculture and all nutrients are kept within the closed-loop system to remove the risk of run-off.
The Future Food Award is one of a series of awards dedicated to celebrating “those who have done most to promote the cause of good food.” Among the categories open for nomination this year include Countryfile’s Farming Heroes Award, Best Food Producer and Best Shop or Market.
The deadline to submit nominations for this year’s awards is January 29.