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Anuga FoodTec India 2022

Sustainability trends: Taking a greener approach for a better world

Author - Vini Sharma

The food industry has consistently been at the heart of the world’s environmental, social, and economic challenges, from soil health to public health. Thus, maintaining and sustaining a constantly growing population on limited resources is a growing challenge. How we produce, consume, and value food is pushing the planet beyond its limits.

This has raised many hands in questioning the very existence of the coming generations and the future of this planet, leading to most industries realizing the true essence of sustainability, the food industry included. The urgency to ensure the production of safe, nutritious, and affordable food for people in a sustainable format has never been more realistic. These past years have led the world to learn and respond to the need for sustainable food production that can retain health and nutritional value while re-establishing the agricultural and farming livelihood on which many lives depend.

Where the market stands

According to the Research and Markets report, in 2021, the global green technology and sustainability market reached a value of 13.2 billion USD. By 2027, the market is expected to reach 43.2 billion USD 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 21.78% during 2022-2027. This has resulted in new and better sustainability requirements surfacing on various fronts. Several companies using recycled materials for food services are now driving the market.

Sustainability trends in the food industry

Many known brands have started responding to sustainability needs as now we stock our shelves with new products that promise plant-based eating while re-analyzing the value chain with equity and fair trade. The past years have also encouraged customers to practice sustainability and indulge in brands associated with green and sustainable products.

We can also observe daily new investments and innovations, speeding up the sustainability transformation. Several brands are now making a visible switch in their packaging, from single-use packaging to recyclable, reusable, and compostable material packaging.

As a step towards sustainability, even the Indian Railways and Air India have announced using eco-friendly paper in replacement of plastic packaging and wooden cutlery.

The food industry plays a significant role in sustainability, encompassing various aspects such as agriculture, production, packaging, transportation, and waste management. The food industry has started showing responses from spreading awareness about the production and consumption of protein and how they need rapid transformation to now elaborating on innovative alternative protein sources. This occurs as plant-based protein options expand and the sustainability of meat and dairy increases for a better tomorrow. Besides this, the rise of the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is promoting the usage of green technology and sustainability to reduce carbon footprint and minimize power and energy bills of manufacturing processes. 

Here are some sustainability trends in the food industry:

  • Plant-Based and Alternative Proteins: The rising demand for plant-based diets and concerns about the environmental impact of meat production have led to the growth of plant-based and alternative protein options. Companies are developing innovative plant-based products, such as meat substitutes, dairy alternatives, and plant-based seafood, to cater to changing consumer preferences.
  • Sustainable Agriculture: Sustainable agricultural practices are gaining traction to reduce the environmental impact of food production. This includes organic farming, regenerative agriculture, agroforestry, and precision farming. These practices aim to minimize chemical inputs, preserve soil health, conserve water, and protect biodiversity.
  • Food Waste Reduction: Reducing food waste is a critical sustainability focus in the food industry. Efforts are being made to address food waste at various supply chain stages, including production, processing, distribution, retail, and consumer levels. Initiatives such as improved inventory management, donation programs, composting, and innovative food waste recovery technologies are being implemented.
  • Sustainable Packaging: The food industry is exploring sustainable packaging solutions to reduce plastic waste and minimize the environmental impact of packaging materials. This includes using compostable or biodegradable packaging, lightweight, recyclable materials, and innovative packaging designs that extend shelf life and reduce food waste.
  • Local and Seasonal Sourcing: There is an increasing emphasis on sourcing food locally and seasonally to reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation and promote regional food systems. Consumers prefer locally grown produce and supporting farmers' markets, community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, and farm-to-table initiatives.
  • Traceability and Transparency: Consumers are increasingly interested in knowing their food's origin and production practices. Enhanced traceability systems and transparent labeling, including certifications like organic, fair trade, and animal welfare labels, provide consumers with information to make more sustainable and ethical food choices.
  • Water and Resource Management: Efficient water and resource management practices are gaining importance in the food industry. This includes reducing water usage in irrigation, adopting water-saving technologies in processing and cleaning, and optimizing energy consumption to minimize the carbon footprint of food production.
  • Carbon Footprint Reduction: Efforts are being made to reduce food production, processing, and transportation carbon footprint. This includes adopting renewable energy sources, optimizing supply chain logistics, promoting energy-efficient practices, and implementing greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies.
  • Sustainable Seafood: The seafood industry focuses on sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices to protect marine ecosystems and ensure long-term seafood supply. Sustainable seafood certifications, responsible fishing methods, and aquaculture practices that minimize environmental impact are being implemented.
  • Consumer Education and Awareness: Increasing consumer education and awareness about sustainable food choices and their impact on the environment are important trends in the industry. Food companies are engaging in educational campaigns, providing sustainability information on packaging, and offering resources to help consumers make informed decisions.

These trends indicate a growing recognition in the food industry of the need to address sustainability challenges and promote more environmentally friendly practices throughout the food value chain.

It is increasingly becoming evident that companies from around the globe will use technology for better sustainability and risk management in the future. From agricultural practices to global green technology, the sustainability market is expanding day by day and has the potential to grow exponentially worldwide.


Green Technology and Sustainability Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2022-2027 (

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