Before the pandemic, concerns about food security were rife. This was shown in people willing to pay a premium for further awareness of sustainability; from knowing where their food is coming from and its quality to whether the supply is generated from a sustainable source going forward. Sustainable Share Market Index compiled by the Center for Sustainable Business at New York University reveals that sustainability-marketed products are responsible for more than half of the growth in consumer packaged goods from 2015 to 2019.
One would argue that the pandemic became an even more contributing factor pushing mass consumers toward safer and sustainable alternatives. For one, plant-based substitute for meat producer - Impossible Foods, has grown its retail footprint by nearly 100-fold since the start of the pandemic. Research shows that the global market for alternative proteins is expected to reach US$4.7 billion by 2027, which is accelerating at a pace that shows the reformation of the food industry.
“Everybody needs to eat and, fundamentally, access to food should be a right for all, but COVID this year has highlighted, more than anything, the fragility and interconnectedness of our global ecosystems,” says Lung. “The negative drawbacks of intensive animal agriculture, of zoonotic diseases, of the importance of food safety are reflected in consumers being much more conscious of, and willing to spend money on health and well being.”
The food tech ecosystem in China remains relatively new, which provides a huge opportunity with its growing urban, more affluent middle class. Consumers are actively looking for ways to incorporate safer, healthier foods into their diets and plant-based proteins are a popular choice. “The Chinese government has published guidelines to reduce its citizens’ meat consumption. A lot of Chinese consumers are increasingly aware of the impacts of their dietary choices,” say Lung. “But more than that, they are increasingly conscious of the origin of their food.”
Traceability, Transparency, Trust
Individuals' concern with food safety has been heightened by COVID-19. More than half of the people surveyed in a recent study believe food safety is a top 3 global issue, according to new research from the Mars Global Food Safety Center (GFSC). Consumers are increasingly worried about exposure risk related to food handling, preparation and transportation...
Navigating the Valley of Death
Advancement in food technology can allow us to completely rethink how and where we can cultivate our food sources. One of the more revolutionary developments in this area is that of ‘cultured meat’. “If you think about being able to grow meat for consumption without slaughtering animals, it’s really something,” says Lung...