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Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen sustainability becoming a hotter topic than ever before, with more consumers supporting food businesses who adopt an ethical mindset. However, with instability throughout the food supply chain caused by the recent energy crisis, how can you become more sustainable whilst minimising costs?

In this episode of ColumbusCast, I’m joined by Andrew Newton, Food Consultant at Columbus, and special guest Jim Laird, CEO of ENOUGH Food, to discuss how food manufacturers can become develop better sustainable practices.

What does heightened awareness around sustainability mean for manufacturers?

From the rise of veganism to the incorporation of new, alternative food ranges to reduce environmental impact, food manufacturers have a lot on their hands when it comes to acting more sustainably. For example, a key statistic raised in the Cop27 summit was that almost 60% of meat now accounts for all food-production emissions.

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With ENOUGH Food, its navigated this challenge by growing its own alternative protein, ABUNDA, extracted from fermented sugar, replacing both meat and fish across production lines. With its focus on reducing the number of animals that are being slaughtered year on year, ENOUGH Food currently developing a factory that’ll eventually produce a ‘cows worth of protein every couple of minutes.’

Although consumers are paying more attention to climate change, as a food manufacturer you’ll need to not only provide sustainably produced products, but also sell them at the right price due to the financial crisis. However, this is much easier said than done. With increased costs across the food supply chain including:

  • The price of raw ingredients
  • Rising energy bills
  • Labour costs

You must constantly think outside the box to maintain profitability whilst also improving your carbon footprint.

food manufacturers

What steps can you take to become more sustainable?

  • Ensure you’re compliant with industry regulations – Governments are stepping in to help reduce the impact on climate change. With new policies such as achieving net-zero carbon by 2050 in the UK, there’s been a push towards reducing carbon emissions across production lines now rather than further down the line
  • Introducing alternative products with no compromise on taste and cost – when meat alternatives were first available, like Burger King with its plant-based whopper, Jim mentions they were priced up to 20% more than their meat counterparts. However, we’re seeing price parity as highlighted by the Food To Go Conference earlier in 2022, increasing the popularity of sustainable alternatives

food manufacturers

  • Be flexible to change – whether this is through rebranding from a meat manufacturer to an alternative one, or incorporating new processes to reduce carbon emissions, it’s important that you can embrace change to keep ahead of your competition

How can technology help you become more sustainable?

Looking towards introducing new technology not only allows you to be resource efficient so you can drive down costs, but also enables you to be more adaptable to meet consumer demands. By implementing the right technology, you can:

  • Reduce waste across production lines with enhanced traceability and visibility tools
  • Improve health and safety for your workforce by using automated technology in hazardous areas of your production lines
  • Take advantage of renewable energy, with solar panels not only being more cost efficient during the energy crisis but less harmful to the environment

food manufacturers

Listen to our podcast episode to find out more…

Scroll to the top of this blog or search ‘ColumbusCast’ in your podcast app to gain more insight into how food manufacturers are becoming more sustainable in an ever-changing industry, including:

  • How ENOUGH Food is improving the taste, texture, and quality of their alternative meat to adapt towards sustainable trends
  • More ways that technology will help you improve your carbon footprint

Alternatively, our plant-based infographic explores why incorporating vegan products within your product portfolio can provide investments and opportunities for growth, as well as some more tips on how you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Interested? Get your copy below.

Download the infographic


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