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Adapted from the 2022 "State of Green Business," published earlier this year by GreenBiz Group.Download the report here

Here’s an easy rule of thumb when it comes to sustainable food: What we eat matters more than how it is produced. For example, a plant-based burger patty with ingredients sourced from around the world will most likely have a lower environmental footprint than a local and organic beef patty.

Yet, the traditional focus of food companies’ sustainability programs has been on uncovering and improving the way ingredients were grown and products manufactured. Sustainability only enters the conversation after an existing product has been on shelves for years or after new products have successfully passed the innovation process. This is a big missed opportunity.

"When you’re thinking about a product that’s already on shelves, there are a few interventions that you can make to reduce emissions — things like changing packaging or changing a given supplier," says Julia Collins, founder and CEO of the carbon footprint startup PlanetFWD. "But frankly, you’re limited in terms of just how much reduction you can drive. But when we think about new product innovation, there’s a tremendous opportunity to drive emissions reductions during product development."

A new food design ecosystem

Slowly but surely, this awareness is spreading in business circles, and sustainability is gaining a spot in R&D shops. Instead of only focusing on sustainable production, companies are also considering the sustainability of the products themselves. This serves as an exciting environment for a new food design ecosystem of companies, technology platforms, startups and dot-connecting industry organizations.


“我们寻求为有助于农业多元化的成分和促进生态系统恢复力,粮食安全和饮食多样性的成分创造市场需求,”简单磨坊的可持续发展总监Christina Skonberg表示。yabo亚博88一种这样的成分是栗子,一种具有大的碳储存潜力的树木作物,该公司用作煎饼的新面粉。


将基于植物的蛋白质纳入主流的旅程并不快。豆腐,素食汉堡和其他早期的创新已经导致了几十年来的寿命。2019年,当不可能的食物与汉堡王进入合作伙伴关系时,突破突破,将植物的鲸鱼带到美国。2020年的趋势加速,因为消费者在Covid-19锁定期间投入更健康的饮食。销售plant-based foods增长了近两倍的美国整体retail foods in 2020, with 57 percent of households shopping for them. At the same time, most major food companies have their own plant-based lines.

As this market segment matures, it gives way to further specialization. Alternative meats are often criticized for being too highly processed and having complicated ingredient lists. In response, startups such as如今are bringing next-level food design to the industry. It creates "chicken nuggets" that bring home the environmental benefits of plant-based foods while counting on only seven pronounceable ingredients. There’s lots more innovation where that came from.

Big brand-startup partnerships

以较高的食物为中心的新产品是通过解决可持续发展前沿和中心的另一种恒星方式yabo亚博88大约8%源于食物损失和废物的全球温室气体排放。初创公司蕾丝Renewal Milland备食食品有限公司are at the forefront of a movement transforming ingredients that were formerly lost during harvest, left over as by-products in manufacturing processes or wasted due to minor imperfections, and turning them into new food products. Along the way, these upstarts are inspiring larger packaged food companies to follow suit.

Case in point:Danone与生产救援启动合作全收获to incorporate surplus fruits and vegetables into its new两个好yogurts.Del Monte通过启动进入机会臀部罐装豆类。Both products bring mass-market clout to food rescue. With the creation of theUpcycled Food Association2019年,运动也获得了有价值的组织机构。去年,该协会推出了世界上第一个升高的食品认证,发挥这种趋势在这里留下来增长。

As brands scale design innovations in these ways, they need reliable partners in crime. A range of software platforms has emerged, providing insights into the social and environmental footprint of each ingredient — a key first step toward uncovering better alternatives.

HowGood有一种这样的工具,帮助产品设计人员了解更换产品的成分是否可以在几下咔嗒声中影响其总分。Journey Foods通过人工智能(AI)软件,旨在提供有关其营养和环境效益的潜在成本和时间表的信息,以便提供有关成分交换的潜在成本和时间表的信息。Planet FWDis yet another player in the field, doubling down on insights from its extensive life-cycle assessment database that was 14 years in the making and is now available for commercial use.

With design-related innovations taking place at many corners of the food system, this new way of evaluating and improving product impact is starting to gain enough traction to make a difference in the industry’s overall sustainability performance. Stay tuned for step two: mainstreaming these approaches across a company’s entire food portfolio, rather than reserving it for special product lines.


Danone- 将可持续食品设计融入其业务的许多方面,从生产酸奶果实,以围绕可持续性发射植物的乳制品,并将研发流程为中心。yabo亚博88

HowGood- 适用于使用其产品可持续发展数据库的食品公司,以获得成分居民,以提高其社会和环境影响。yabo亚博88

如今— entered the food world in 2021 with a double design innovation: making tasty "chicken wings" from plants and limiting the recipe to just seven ingredients.

简单的磨坊- 正在从可以扩展再生农业实践并带回营养和作物多样性的成分开发新的食品。

Upcycled Food Association- 正在为基层运动提供家庭和认证,帮助它从利基到主流。