Major food companies vying to demonstrate environmental commitments
In 2009, as a demonstration of its environmental concern, Kingsmill became one of the first large food manufacturers to include products’ carbon emissions on its packaging.
In the following years there was limited movement by other manufacturers to do the same, that is, until recent widespread environmental concern almost entirely reversed that trend.
On 9th January 2020 Quorn posted to its website the carbon footprint data for 30 of its top selling products. They also intend to include each product’s carbon footprint on its respective packaging by later this year. Following suit are two of the world’s largest food producers, Nestlé and Premier Foods, who, in response to investor pressure amidst a general environmental push, are also exploring the possibility of implementing carbon footprint labelling. Similarly, fast food providers McDonalds, Domino’s Pizza and KFC have all been asked by investors to implement policies to sustainably reduce their environmental impact.
Aside from the environmental benefits, investor led pressure indicates growing market opportunity for food and drink producers that will not be going away any time soon. Consumers are becoming far more conscious of the health and environmental impact of their food and drink and are more loyal to brands which facilitate this. 66 per cent of 9,000 participants polled from the UK, the US, Italy, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden, stated that they feel more positively about companies that make a concerted effort to reduce the carbon footprint of their products. Hence the explosion we have seen in recent years of environment oriented advertising and plant-based food options in supermarkets and fast food venues.
Food producers are, therefore, looking to capitalise on these trends and advertise their environmental commitment and steps to the public. As demonstrated by Carlsberg, Coca-Cola and Absolut, who in the past year have all announced a venture to offer paper bottle alternatives of their products. Accordingly, it appears that we are going to see far more environmentally friendly market practices from food and drink producers in the coming years.
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This article was prepared by George Bogle.