The food chain should be a food circle
2020, during the time In the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns about food supplies are heightened. This has prompted major changes to the way certain foods are produced: There is an increase in the use of regenerative farming principles—methods of growing food that also support nature, such as such as keeping soil healthy and stable, improving water and air quality, and improving local biodiversity—and expanding food production in and near cities, resulting in less waste.
In 2021, PepsiCo, Danone, Nestlé and Unilever—large-scale, multinational, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies — have announced that they are adopting regenerative farming practices on millions of acres of farmland. This has been complemented by growth in urban farming, with the vertical farming business Infarm recently opening largest urban farm in Europe, covering 10,000 square meters. These are important steps towards a sustainable and better food system for people and nature.
Today, we know that it is no longer enough to build food systems that are resilient to shocks like pandemics. In 2023, we will redesign food to help us solve pressing global challenges including climate change and loss of biodiversity.
To do that, the entire system needs to be recreated by design. This means that instead of shaping nature to create food, food needs to be designed to naturally grow. In 2023, FMCGs, retailers and innovators will take over this role, partnering with farmers to start creating a circular economy for food.
They will begin to choose ingredients that are not only produced renewable but also have a lower impact, are diverse and are recycled. For example, instead of making breakfast cereals using only conventionally grown wheat, the same product could be made from a mixture of wheat and peas grown using regenerative farming methods. According to a recent study, the production of cheese, cereals and potato products by this method can be 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the food industry and 50% reduction in its impact on biodiversity loss in Europe. This is extremely important as the current food system is a major cause of biodiversity loss globally and is responsible for a third of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
We’ve already seen the seeds of change grow in 2023. Brazilian coffee producer Guima Café, backed by Nespresso and reNature, is becoming a renewable coffee farm, producing a wide range of varieties. more raw materials from the same land and diversify its products. Products made with recycled ingredients are popping up on supermarket shelves, including Renewal Mill’s Brownie Dark Chocolate Blend and Seven Bro7hers’ Sling It Out Stout, aged using Kellogg’s Coco Recycled pops. British food company Hodmedod is looking at lesser-known but lower-impact foods like fava beans and black badger beans.
Policymakers are also taking action. In the United Kingdom, for example, new government programs reward farmers and land managers for services such as ensuring clean and abundant water is available for plants and wildlife, for allow them to thrive and contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Pilots are already underway and by 2023 more UK land managers will join.
This is just the beginning. In 2023, we will see the launch of an innovation challenge—powered by Everyone’s Postal Code Lottery—aimed at FMCGs, retailers and food innovators to bring more iconic food products made with low-impact, diverse, recycled and renewable ingredients. market. The development of these products will show the potential of circular design for food. The year 2023 will herald the beginning of the redevelopment of the entire food category, designed to let nature grow.