A move towards a sustainable global food system is urgently required for the sake of the planet — so it’s no surprise that consumers are demanding more sustainable products and services.
“Businesses that have a strong purpose, that understand how they can make society better, will be embraced by society and will be around for a long time.” – Paul Polman, vice chair UN Global Compact.
“Companies that don’t have sustainability as part of their core value proposition need to act now to protect against future reputational impacts and loss of market share,” said Shikha Jain, author of this study. “Companies must invest, innovate and transform their business models now to protect their long-term profitability and viability. The rise of sustainable disruptors and increasing consumer awareness will all serve to drive the expectation for affordable sustainable alternatives.”
Research suggests that consumers are more interested than ever in making sustainable food choices, which can be defined as “food consumption patterns that are beneficial for human health, nutrition, environmental, ethical and economic domains.” Consumer decisions are increasingly influenced by sustainability factors; a major study in 2021 highlighted that 85% of people worldwide have shifted their purchase behaviour towards being sustainable in the past five years. This study suggested that consumers “also see themselves as the agents of change,” making it clear that the need for companies to adapt is more urgent than ever.
However, navigating an increasingly complex food environment is confusing, and there are often barriers in place preventing consumers from making informed choices. How can someone make a sustainable decision about which foods to eat without knowing the full story of their environmental impact?
Knowledge is power
The old adage that knowledge is power rings true. When consumers have access to adequate and accurate information about their food choices, this recasts them as valuable players within their own food systems. As knowledge has a direct impact on consumer autonomy, it also feeds into social empowerment. Since food is directly tied to nutrition — and unhealthy dietary patterns are associated with rising rates of nutrition-related chronic diseases — it can also be viewed as a form of health literacy.
“Health literacy has been defined as the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health. Health literacy means more than being able to read pamphlets and successfully make appointments. By improving people's access to health information and their capacity to use it effectively, health literacy is critical to empowerment.” – WHO, 2022.
We’ve already seen how tracking and reporting carbon emissions is critical for reducing your business’ impact on climate change. While improving the sustainability of your organisation, it also places more power in the hands of your customers.
What does this mean for my business?
It’s clear that providing accessible information is of importance to your customers; indeed, the results of this study indicate that food labelling around environmental and social responsibility is of more value to consumers than has been previously suggested.
The takeaway? Meet the growing consumer appetite for sustainable business practices by measuring and minimising the carbon and water footprints of your operation. Empower your customers to make informed decisions through employing a labelling system that is comprehensive in its methodology — based on accurate, evidence based and up-to-date data — but easy to understand on the front end to ensure inclusivity.
Dishing it up
Foodprint by Nutritics is your business’ new best friend when it comes to carbon tracking and labelling. This brand new environmental impact tracking and reporting system has a specific focus on quantifying and reporting scope 3 emissions in the hospitality and foodservice sector (HaFS) and automating environmental labels to relay information to your customers.
We’ve brought our best-in-class food data expertise to automate the carbon and water labelling process, allowing you to communicate your sustainability credentials to your customers without any drain on your time or resources. Our proprietary technology automatically matches your foods, recipes and dishes to peer reviewed LCA data sources, with a specific focus on country of origin.
In addition to being able to measure and track your emissions, Foodprint empowers both food businesses and their customers to make more informed, environmentally-conscious decisions. Not only do you gain visibility and control over the carbon footprint of your supply chain and a new understanding around the impact of your purchasing, but Foodprint can also add a carbon footprint score to packaging, dishes and promotional materials. Build trust in your brand, taking your customers with you on your sustainability journey.
Eager to learn more? Check out our free webinar ‘Your Foodprint — Carbon Food Tracking Made Simple’, in which our panel discussed the complexity of tracking and reporting scope 3 carbon food missions, shared insights on the benefits of displaying a carbon footprint to the customer and demonstrated Foodprint.
For details on what Foodprint can do for your business, get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org.