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Sustainability trends in the food industry: sustainability as a driver for innovation

02 March 2022

At the start of the world's largest food trade fair ANUGA, the Federal Association of the German Food Industry (BVE) together with Innova Market Insights presented the study "Sustainability Trends in the Food Industry 2021".

Christoph Minhoff, General Manager of BVE, emphasized that sustainability is not a trendy topic for the food industry, but is in the industry's own interest. "Our study shows how diverse and innovative German companies approach the topic of sustainability and implement it with many different facets - from new raw materials to higher ethical standards and technological approaches, everything is included."

The results of the study show that sustainability has long been a key driver for quality and innovation and thus also an important factor for more added value and competitiveness of companies in Germany. For example, the production of plant-based meat alternatives increased by 39% from 2019 to 2020: production increased from 60,000 tons to over 80,000 tons with a value of 375 million euros. In addition to the pure increase in volume, the variety also increased: Between 2017 and 2020, the number of new products in the meat substitute sector in Germany grew by around 8 percent annually. The market for milk substitute products developed even more dynamically.

But meat continues to be consumed at a high level. The annual production value of meat and meat products is 100 times that of meat substitutes and accounted for around 38.6 billion euros in 2020.

But meat consumption has also changed and is becoming more sustainable. Since 2017, more and more meat products have been introduced that claim additional sustainability properties compared to conventional products. Compared to 2016, the range of products that meet increased ethical standards has almost tripled.

A dynamic development can also be observed in food packaging. The demand for less packaging material has led to packaging becoming increasingly intelligent, recycling playing an increasingly important role and alternative materials being used to conserve natural resources.

According to the study, the need for information is also increasing.
In the interplay of supply and demand, food manufacturers in Germany and around the world are reacting to the desire for more information with a transparency campaign of additional information and labeling on the packaging, QR and tracking codes with further information and detailed information on the websites.

"This development shows how much the current restructuring of our industry is based on ingenuity and technology and that it is constantly reacting to the needs of consumers. Because these products can only be used in the long term if the increase in sustainability pays off for everyone involved survive on the market," says Christoph Minhoff. "Sustainability should not be viewed negatively by being accompanied by sacrifices, restrictions or setbacks. Instead, the German food industry wants to ensure that natural resources are conserved, but that the joy of eating and enjoyment are preserved."

The Federal Association of the German Food Industry, together with the Federal Association of the German Food Trade and the German Hotel and Restaurant Association, is the conceptual sponsor of the General Food and Beverage Exhibition. Anuga is the world's largest trade fair for the food and food industry.

Together with the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the BVE operates a trade fair stand in Hall 10.2 / Stand A040 and shows innovative approaches for more sustainability in the food industry under the motto "This is how the future tastes" .

The study is available for download here 

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