The importance of sustainability has taken center stage in the food industry in recent years, especially as the global awareness of food wastage, poverty, and climate change continues to grow. Recent studies have shown that food waste takes up more space than any other product in landfills in the United States. In 2022, food wastage in the country amounted to a gargantuan 80 billion pounds. That’s more than any other country in the world.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s no way back. The trends in the food and drink industry in the US have been shifting dramatically towards a zero-waste policy. This shift is in line with sustainability measures taken around the world. Individuals and companies alike are becoming far more conscious about the way they deal with food, eating, and waste. This is a fantastic first step in the fight to create a more sustainable and healthy way of protecting food sources, and in turn, the planet. The following trends are contributing to this shift.
Distilleries Looking to Reduce the Footprint of Producing Alcohol
The process of making alcohol, just like the process of making any other food product on the planet, comes with its own environmental and social impacts – most of which are negative. The use of raw ingredients like apples, grapes, potatoes, and barley coupled with the production methods and distillation process all influence the footprint that a single bottle of liquor leaves behind. It’s estimated that on average, one 25 oz. bottle of spirits produces 6.5 pounds of carbon dioxide.
The most harmful part of alcohol production is the distilling process. To mitigate the situation, many distilleries now embrace a sustainable approach to reduce the effects of this process. Using distillery wastewater as fertilizer and converting edible biomass into fish foods are just two ways of reducing the negative impact.
Meat Alternatives On The Rise
Meat alternatives are nothing new in the United States or the rest of the world. Currently, 22% of people on the planet are vegetarian, while in the US, 5% of consumers are vegetarian or vegan. These are relatively high numbers that are continuing to rise year on year as the harmful effects of animal farming continue to make themselves known. Furthermore, it’s not only vegetarians who are contributing to the decrease in meat consumption, but many non-vegetarians are also making a conscious choice to reduce the amount of meat in their diets. Flexitarian diets are proving popular, as are days like Meat Free Mondays.
The Rise of Insect Cuisine
Suitable, sustainable protein alternatives don’t only come from plant-based sources. Insects are also a sustainable option for the eco-conscious eater. Westernized countries may be taking their time to adjust, but according to The Guardian, insect-eating is on the rise almost everywhere else in the world. The production and consumption of cricket flour continues to expand, with many experts in the sustainable food industry believing that this trend will be the one that will shape the future of our food.
All in all, there seem to be positive changes being made every day to preserve our food sources and our planet. These are just a few of the trends contributing to the shifting food consciousness.