The food industry has a long and interesting supply chain – from what the livestock is fed to the way in which ingredients are created. Understanding sustainability is critical – and there are a number of ways that you can achieve this – regardless of where you fall within the food industry.
Transparency in the supply chain promotes sustainability – as does partnering with the right groups that will help with water conservation, waste recycling, and more.
Key-decision-making at every step can ensure that foods are produced in a sustainable manner, even if the end consumer doesn’t know it.
Permaculture is all about the concept of growing and producing food. You can incorporate sustainability into the food industry simply by using science to create a natural ecosystem.
Just because you don’t have a natural ecosystem that you can tap into in your backyard doesn’t mean that you can’t use science to design and maintain one.
Choose products that will grow within the environment that you create.
By growing more of what you need, it reduces your dependence on products that may have to be flown or driven to you.
Many customers within the food industry crave the concept of farm-to-table – and this is another way for you to expand on this concept.
Incorporate Industrial Enzymes
A variety of microbials and enzymes can be used in order to boost the productivity and efficiency of your crop production as well as product manufacturing. American Biosystems, for example, produces an array of enzymes that can be used to enhance the productivity of photosynthesis.
Further, there are soil enzymes that can reduce the amount of water that is needed, allow for crops to be more stable, and even serve as additives that will extend the life of the product being produced (such as cheese, bread, or juice).
It’s important to choose a supplier of microbial enzymes that you can rely on and that provides an array of enzymes so that you can utilize them in more of what you do.
There’s a lot of technology that can help you with sustainability. Many technological firms are even employing food scientists to tap into new ideas and more creative solutions.
The Internet of Things can add sensors into everything from soil to vats of product. This allows you to get the most out of your harvests and catch things before they spoil.
Artificial intelligence can even help with monitoring and decision-making. This can help you with calculating everything from the right amount of fertilizer to use to how much of an enzyme to use in the fermentation process.
Even utilizing web apps can help with online ordering and delivery systems, which can reduce the amount of waste that you have and even eliminate a lot of takeout packaging.
Create a Compost System
Composting offers a number of benefits, but it is sustainable because it reduces waste. You can reduce methane emissions and potentially eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers.
Depending on what goes into the compost bin, organic waste can be kept out of landfills. Everything from vegetable peels to grass cuttings and even cardboard egg boxes can be placed into the compost.
Take a Circular Approach
Everything comes full circle, so it’s important to jump into that – and networking with others who are in the circle can be extremely advantageous. Depending on where you are within the food industry (farmer, manufacturer, restaurant), you may want to work directly with others in the community. Talk to them about their commitment to sustainable food production.
You may be able to get the manufacturers to incorporate industrial enzymes. You may be able to get farmers to take a more conservative approach to watering.
Everything you do will have an impact. You may find that you’ll be able to reuse different supplies and have a more restorative design for your business model.
Packaging used to be a bad word. However, takeout is a major consideration in the restaurant world – and you can’t simply place food into people’s hands. It has to be packaged in one way or another.
Some packaging is sustainable in its design. It’s made from recycled materials, and it can break down quickly in a compost pile.
Some sustainable packaging to consider:
All of these can be utilized in one way or another. Much of it will come down to cost.
The food industry is rapidly changing, so you’ll need to stay up on some of the latest breakthroughs. Certain resources are being depleted rapidly, so sustainability is all about finding acceptable alternatives.
One such alternative is plant-based food – and it’s a highly innovative food category at the moment. The Impossible Burger was able to be an innovative solution partly because the research was done that helped to recreate the aromas and textures found in beef. Only, the Impossible Burger can be produced using less water and generates fewer greenhouse gases than the ground beef obtained from cows.
This kind of innovation is critical.
Focus on Sustainability
In many instances, it is possible for the food industry to apply a number of the principles that have been discussed. For example, industrial enzymes can be used in various ingredients such as cheese and bread to reduce the chance of spoilage. The Internet of Things can be used to track spoilage dates so that a manufacturer, artisan farmer, or restaurant can use items creatively before they spoil, thus reducing edible waste.
Any time that you can boost crop production and keep the products on-premises, you are choosing a more sustainable route as it will give you what you need without having to incorporate packaging and transportation.
As long as you emphasize the importance of sustainability within the aspects of the food industry that you control, there will be plenty of things that you can do. Talk to the community and get others involved. You’ll have more control over what happens within your own business model and assist others with their models, too.