Perspectives on sustainability
9 Aug 2022
Sustainability opens new (nutritional) horizons
One of the megatrends (not only) in the field of nutrition is sustainability, and not just since yesterday. Anuga and its conceptual sponsor, the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE), together with Innova Market Insights, presented the study "Sustainability Trends in the Food Industry 2021" last year. Christoph Minhoff, Managing Director of the BVE, on the results: "Our study shows how diversely, and innovatively German companies approach the topic of sustainability and implement it with many different facets - from new raw materials to higher ethical standards to technological approaches, everything is included.
One thing is indisputable: climate change, scarcity of resources and the decrease in available land demand responsible and sustainable action from all participants in the industry. This is also the view of established players right down to start-up companies, who presented concepts and products for a sustainable, future-proof food system that ensures security of supply under high ethical, social and environmental standards as part of the Anuga HORIZON Sessions at Anuga 2021.
Anuga Horizon Session at Anuga 2021 about the topic Sustainability with Alexander Piutti (SPRK), Jaclyn Schnau (Pumkin Organics) and Carolin Stüdemann (Viva con Agua)
From waste to value creation
One of the primary sustainability goals is to reduce CO2 emissions in order to slow down and, at best, stop climate change. After all, food waste is responsible for five times more CO2 emissions than air travel. Food waste contributes to ten per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. So, what could be more obvious than to dedicate oneself to preventing food waste ? That's what Alexander Piutti, founder and CEO of SPRK Global, an AI-based technology platform for B2B food exchange launched in March 2020, thought. "Unimaginably, 2.5 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year, 750,000 truckloads every day," the pioneer said. The fact is that 40 per cent of all wasted food is caused by overproduction, meaning that most food ends up in the rubbish before it gets to the customer. So, the problem lies in the supply chain, and it is precisely this that SPRK optimises. "With our global B2B food exchange, we offer the possibility to match surplus food with demand by distributing it efficiently instead of wasting it," Piutti explains the concept.
Anuga Horizon Session at Anuga 2021 about the topic Sustainability: Chart Food Waste SPRK with Alexander Piutti
The start-up's ambitious goal: to reduce food waste by half by 2032. A start has been made: After all, in the first year and a half, 400 tonnes of food could be brokered to partner companies (there are currently 50), thereby avoiding 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions. According to SPRK, the market potential of Food-Exchange is 480 billion euros. "SPRK enables the move from waste to value creation, protects resources and the environment and facilitates systemic change." The way it works is very simple: partners visualise surplus products on the platform, the algorithm searches and finds matches. Depending on the match, the products are either redistributed by SPRK's logistics partners, e.g. to manufacturers, caterers or NGOs, or further processed by partner companies, for example into soups, juices, ready meals, etc., and sold to interested parties such as canteens or clinics.
Focus on the consumer – healthy nutrition for babies and toddlers
Ethical and ecological values now occupy an essential position in the consciousness of consumers - once again accelerated by the pandemic. Consumers' expectations of products and companies are undergoing serious change. Pumpkin Organics, a company founded by Jaclyn Schnau in Munich in 2016, wants to meet this new awareness and places the needs of its target group, namely babies and their parents, at the centre of its strategy. "The current range of foods is not shaped by what we need, but by sales aspects," the native Canadian is convinced and wants to do things differently with healthy complementary foods and snacks for babies and toddlers. "My concept is based on nature and science instead of marketing and profit. It takes passion and authenticity to touch others," Jaclyn explains. The products are based on the assumption of nutritional science that the first 1,000 days have a lasting effect on a person's eating habits (so-called metabolic imprinting). Those who are fed a healthy diet as babies and toddlers are likely to maintain this for the rest of their lives.
Anuga Horizon Session at Anuga 2021 about the topic Sustainability. Chart Pumpkin Organics with Jaclyn Schnau
Jaclyn Schnau, who has experience in large food companies, wants to support parents in this endeavour with her sustainable range. It is not without reason that Pumpkin Organics' slogan is: "Vegetable love made easy." It goes without saying that all products are 100 per cent organic and use less sugar and no additives. In addition, only regional ingredients are used, and Pumpkin Organics is the world's first baby food company to be certified 100 per cent climate neutral. "Habits learned in childhood make a big difference. Through the variety of ingredients and recipes used, we, or actually the parents, support the development of their children's taste buds and establish healthy eating habits. Addiction to sugar is reduced and with it secondary diseases such as type 2 diabetes, which are becoming more prevalent in children today."
From St. Pauli to the whole world – sustainable water supply
In 2016, members of the UN defined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be implemented as an agenda by 2030. No. 6 includes water and sanitation for all. However, it is still the case that around 785 million people do not have a basic supply of drinking water, and 1.7 billion people do not even have access to basic sanitation.
Viva con Agua has been involved in precisely this area for almost 17 years - and has also been highly successful commercially. The Hamburg-based company proves that it is possible to combine sustainability and commercial success. Benjamin Adrion, former FC St. Pauli football player and founder of Viva con Agua, realised how important access to clean drinking water is during a training camp in Cuba. Consequently, he created the basis for a large, worldwide movement with the company in St. Pauli and has since been awarded the Federal Cross of Merit. "Today, we have about 10,000 voluntary supporters in Germany alone, including celebrity supporters such as Manuel Neuer or Barbara Schöneberger," says CEO Carolin Stüdemann and emphasises: "It is our concern to advance the cause not with a raised forefinger, but with joy."
Anuga Horizon Session at Anuga 2021 about the Sustainability with Carolin Stüdemann, CEO Viva con Agua
The concept of Viva con Agua is based on two pillars: On the one hand, the holistically designed WASH projects (water, sanitation, hygiene) are financed by donations. "Our approach is often playful and runs through sports, music or art events," explains the CEO. One example is the Millerntor Gallery in the stadium of the same name, during which visitors are offered a diverse concert, cultural and educational programme. The other pillar is represented by business models, such as the sale of mineral water or a hotel near Hamburg's main railway station, which is scheduled to open at the end of 2023 and where guests will do good virtually while they sleep. Carolin Stüdemann is certain: "A group of people can bring more attention to a cause, and consumption can change the offer. Moreover, start-ups have the chance to show that new ideas work and can thus become a role model for larger and often more cumbersome companies."
These examples show the range and opportunities that food sustainability encompasses. Anuga and Anuga HORIZON in Cologne are the place to be when it comes to facing the challenges of the future and discovering new initiatives and technologies that ensure sustainable and healthy production and prevent the exploitation of resources.
Sponsored by Anuga HORIZON