Global health takes center stage as consumer concerns about food’s environmental impact escalate
June 15, 2021 — While sustainability and planetary health are key considerations for the modern, conscious individual, there may be regional differences among specific consumer concerns. Innova Market Insights highlights that the priorities for eco-centric consumption are highest in the South and East American markets.
Research suggests that levels of interest in sustainability are greatest in emerging markets in Asia and Latin America, which have seen an increase in regional launches of vegan and cellular innovations over the past year.
This Innova report was released shortly after the conclusion of this year’s G7 summit, in which the climate crisis and its intrinsic link to global food systems was a topic of critical discussion.
Asia’s pivot towards eco-centrism
The high rate of interest in sustainability in Asia is most likely due to greater direct exposure to the adverse effects of environmental damage and climate change, and a lack of more sustainable choices in these regions.
“In Asia and Latin America, air pollution and water shortages are major concerns. This is due to the existing impact they have on local health and livelihoods, ”explains Innova Market Insights.
“Litter and landfills are of particular concern in Indonesia, which is believed to be home to the world’s largest landfill site. “
The rapidly evolving Asian food scene has proliferated with new regional plant-based launches inspiring new iterations of traditional cooking staples over the past year.
For example, Tokyo-based Next Meat recently unveiled vegan yakiniku grilled Japanese meat in Singapore. At the same time, Haofood’s peanut-based chicken made its debut in Chinese and Indonesian recipes through various partnerships with Shanghai catering.
Cell culture foods are also uniquely positioned for “significant growth” in Asia. Developments in this area include new regulatory approvals for Singapore-grown chicken bites and Mitsubishi Corporation’s series of investments in cell-based seafood and no-slaughter steak.
Latin America plans to scale up sustainable food
An equally significant shift towards planet-friendly diets is being noted in South America, where the cell-based meat grown by Aleph Farms will hit Brazilian tables. The Slaughter Free Company recently signed a new agreement with global meat and feed company BRF to co-develop and produce cultured meat using Aleph’s patented production platform, BioFarm.
Brazil is currently the world’s third largest meat consumption market, behind China and the United States. Despite this, the plant revolution has already started to gain a foothold in the region, as evidenced by new local introductions of vegan brands such as Fazenda Futuro (Future Farm).
Innova Market Insights reports that while more than 80 percent of Latin Americans believe more should be done by industry and national leaders, this belief is lower than 60 percent among American consumers.
Developed economies remain drawn
Even in more developed economies – where there is a long history of exposure to sustainable choices – there is always an interest in doing more.
In Europe, Innova Market Insights reports that the health of the planet is “a concern almost equal to the health of the population”.
This sentiment is evident even at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has brought health to the fore. It was particularly supported by consumers in France and Germany.
“Plastic waste and ocean pollution are key issues in Europe after significant media coverage and a general shift in society’s attention to the impact of plastic on the planet and alternatives to plastic,” says Innova Market Insights.
With the opening of commercial channels for insect-based ingredients in the EU, mealworm protein is increasingly recognized as a highly sustainable and quality source of protein in this market.
In the near future, it is expected that the weakening of the stigma surrounding edible insects will lead to the popularization of snacks, cookies, appetizers, pasta and burgers made from this new, highly nutritious food source. .
Demand for greener brands intensifies
The report shows that general interest in the environment continues to grow. In 2020, an average of 21% of consumers around the world said environmental factors had become more important to them.
Innova Market Insights reports that up to a third of respondents intend to improve their environmental impact during the year.
“In general, consumers are increasingly aware of the food they eat, its origin and its overall impact on the planet as well as the carbon footprint,” notes the market study.
“Understanding and helping solve environmental problems in local markets while supporting consumers looking to improve their environmental impact are ways in which companies can strengthen their sustainability strategies,” the company says.
“Agile brands and manufacturers around the world are stepping up their sustainability game as the demand for sustainable products continues to rise. “
By Benjamin Ferrer
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