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Sustainability as an engine of growth

Sustainability is trending among consumers across the world and all the signs are that this is set to continue. Not only is sustainability a basic condition for development and legitimacy, it is also a competitive parameter throughout the entire food sector – among producers, retailers and food service.

Sustainability is in the global spotlight. The quest for sustainable consumption permeates the attitudes and behaviour of an ever-growing number of consumers. Whereas the past 10-15 years have been all about individual health and living a healthy life, the focus has now shifted to the world at large.

Now it’s all about ensuring that consumption goes hand in hand with the environment, with animal welfare and, indeed, the entire planet. The growing interest in sustainability arises from a concern among consumers about the very survival of the world.

Read also: New partnership to create sustainable protein

Consumers are also preoccupied with the consequences of global warming and the pollution and accumulation of plastic in nature. Moreover, as the global population increases, the wish to make better use of our sparse resources is increasing. With a global population expected to rise to around 10 billion in 2050, new and better ways of producing and consuming food products are required if everyone is to be provided for.

Consumer responsibility
For consumers, sustainability and food encompass many different aspects – from the way food is produced on farms to their own shopping and consumption habits. In this respect, consumers are keen to assume responsibility and make a difference with their behaviour. There is now a strong awareness of the importance of avoiding food waste and many shoppers now bring their own carrier bags with them to reduce plastic waste.

Read also: Food trends 2018

Many ways to sustainability
In the same way that everyone can agree that health is good, increasing numbers of people agree that we need to consume and produce in a way that does not adversely affect the ability of future generations to put food on the table. But just as health can be interpreted very differently by consumers, the way in which sustainability is interpreted and employed can vary significantly too.

It can be difficult for consumers to understand the sustainable aspect of different types of production. Each can be sustainable in its own way, but consumers can have very different views of what constitutes sustainability and what does not. Moreover, there are certain dilemmas attached to the wish for more sustainable consumption.

Consumers are demanding a responsible attitude from food producers and the retail sector and work is already underway in the Danish food sector to boost sustainability in food through new developments and innovation. This includes finding solutions to release the potential in the circular bioeconomy, increasing resource efficiency and minimising the environmental footprint.

Read more: Danish Pork Production and environment