Futures Feed

How are brands reducing food waste?

Breaking the Food Mould

Mar 01, 2020

FMCG food culture has meant that the last four generations of consumers have been spoilt for choice in a convenience culture that has often prioritised sell-by-dates and mass yield. Over time we have become accustomed to an over sanitised relationship with our food. Industrialism has meant that 'big food' producers could move beyond seasonal and indigenous yields to ultimately create an unnatural amount of unnatural food.

Today we simply don’t use food well enough. WRAP estimates that the total amount of food excess waste is 3.6 million tonnes per year and that if this waste was used and sold at market values, it could have had a value of £1.2 billion. In the face of an unsustainable future we are finally seeing brands begin to acknowledge the scale of the problem and find ways to effectively tackle excessive consumption habits and challenge the truths by which our food is deemed fit.

In this presentation we take a look at intelligent food recycling, a re-emergence of preservation methods and unpackaged formats that are moving an unsustainable system towards smarter systems that leverage every aspect of food life cycle. Even with these showcased innovations we realise there is still a lot of work and design thinking to be done to create a meaningful cultural shift around our food's true lifecycle.

Four key themes of Change

1. In-house farming

Making the cultivation, harvest and production of our food more efficient in nearby and urban areas

2. Intelligent storage

Tempering wasteful storage processes by transforming the production, transportation and retail part of the food chain

3. Edible longevity

Reusing left over food waste and transforming into new and desirable products, methods and processes

4. Symbiotic systems

Creating a more symbiotic chain back returning back to Earth more than we take experimenting with pollination, composting and regeneration

What is the opportunity in this space?

Packaging that leads to smarter preservation; Challenge the role of plastic to consider whether we can implement smarter storage designs that go beyond a protective and transportive layer, to help elongate shelf life.

Brand food journeys; integrate the stories of multiple states and lifespans of food, using every part of the journey as an inspiration and opportunity point, rather than just focusing on the end product.

Fresh beyond the fridge; We are seeing a surge in demand for fresh as consumers look to make the most of nutrients at foods optimal quality, but there are opportunities for brands in moving fresh from the fridge, to the freezer, the garden and into new preservation formats.

If you would like to download the full report, hear more of our thinking on Breaking the Food Mould or if you would like some tailored thought starters for you and your company, please get in touch below.

Image credits (from the top to the bottom of the page): Roughs snacks; Good Neighbor – Food Sharing by Julie Sanduski; Twiice.

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