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7 sustainable food trends to watch out for in 2019

This year is expected to be an important one for the sustainable food industry. Specialist consultancy Ecovia Intelligence has compiled this handy summary of seven sustainable food trends we can expect to see coming through in 2019. 

Mainstreaming of organic foods. Organic food sales will continue the positive trajectory, with distribution continuing in mass market retailers (supermarkets, hypermarkets, discounters). Almost all such food retailers in Europe and North America are now marketing organic foods under their private labels. Private labels will continue to gain market share. In some countries, including Denmark (Coop) and Canada (Loblaw), the leading organic food brands are already retailer private labels. 

Growing prominence of plant-based foods. With Veganuary barely underway, we have already seen the introduction of new fishless fingers, chickenless tenders, as well as omnipork make headway in Asia. Expect to see more plant-based product launches in retailers and foodservice establishments as veganism and ethical consumerism converge. 

Reducing packaging impacts. Consumer concerns about plastic pollution in the oceans and landfill is putting pressure on food companies to address their packaging impacts. More organic & sustainable food companies are expected to move to biopolymers and other sustainable packaging materials. 

Expect to see some disruptive innovation like EOSTA’s Natural Branding concept; the laser mark has saved 6.3 million pieces of plastic in the first year. In recognition of the innovation, the organic fresh produce firm received the Sustainable Packaging award at the 2018 Sustainable Food Awards. 

Investments and acquisitions. More dedicated sustainable food enterprises are expected to be snapped up by large multinationals this year. Unilever recently acquired The Vegetarian Butcher; it previously bought leading organic food firms in Brazil and the UK. More investment is expected into organic & sustainable food firms from the financial community. 

Sustainability schemes and labels. The ethical labelling trend will continue as more such schemes are introduced, and as adoption rates rise. Some of the labels that are gaining popularity are Non-GMO Project, Vegan, and Gluten-free. 

The market share of certified commodities will continue to rise. Over a third of all coffee, a quarter of cocoa, and almost a fifth of tea is already certified according to voluntary 

sustainability schemes. More companies are expected to adopt in-house sustainable sourcing schemes, following the lead of Starbuck (CAFÉ Practices), and Mondelez Foods (Harmony). 

Ethical retail initiatives. The Dutch retailer EkoPlaza came under the spotlight in 2018 for introducing the first plastic-free aisles in its organic food supermarkets. Expect to see more natural & organic food retailers adopt plastic-free aisles, as well as zero waste retail concepts. 

Growing power of millennials. The millennials are already some of the most avid buyers of sustainable & organic products; they will wield greater influence as their spending power continues to rise. As they buy more from online platforms, Amazon and other e-retailers will gain market share for sustainable products. 

The Sustainable Foods Summit (www.sustainablefoodssummit.com) will be covering these developments and much more in their North American, Asia-Pacific, European and Latin American editions. 

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About the Author

Jim Manson

Writer & Editor
Jim Manson is editor-in-chief of Diversified Communications UK‘s natural and organic publishing portfolio. He’s written widely on environment and development issues for specialist magazines and national media, including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times, and World Bank Urban Age

Articles by Jim Manson

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