Over the past several years, sustainability in the food industry has moved from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have.” The pandemic hastened this transition with the abrupt shift to cooking all meals at home.
According to recent research by FMCG Gurus, 63% of global consumers say they’re paying more attention to ingredient lists than they did before. In the past, bakers focused mainly on ensuring their products had clean labels, but today consumers are looking for ingredients, processes, and practices that are not only healthy for humans, but also good for the environment. Nearly half (48%) said they’d made changes to their diets over the past few years in an effort to eat more sustainably.
More than half of consumers said sustainability claims are important across the major categories of bakery and snack products:
- 57% said sustainability is important for cakes and pastries
- 53% for biscuits and cookies
- 52% for bread
The push toward sustainability may have been primarily motivated by consumers, but now it’s coming from all directions — including investors, employees, and, perhaps most significantly, the competition.
Here are some of the current sustainability commitments from some of the biggest bakery and snack manufacturers:
- Mondelēz International has set a variety of goals to reach by 2025, including reducing end-to-end CO2 emissions by 10% compared to their 2018 baseline, making 100% of their packaging recyclable and labeled with consumer recycling information, and 100% sustainable ingredient sourcing by volume for their chocolate brands.
- Kellogg’s has committed to creating “Better Days” for 3 billion people by the end of 2030. They report that they have reduced their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the equivalent of taking nearly 2.5 billion vehicles off the road, achieved 76% recyclability of packaging globally, and ensured 28% of the electricity used in their facilities comes from renewable sources.
- Campbell’s Soup has committed to halving food loss and waste by 2030, responsibly sourcing 100% of their priority raw materials by 2025, and transitioning to 100% recyclable or industrially compostable packaging by 2030.
- Flowers Foods has set several goals to achieve by 2025: reducing GHG emissions and water usage by 20%, achieve zero-waste-to-landfill company-wide, converting 100% of packaging to recyclable/reusable or compostable, and sourcing 100% RSPO-certified palm oil for all cake products.
The bottom line message is that sustainability in the bakery and snack aisle is no longer a perk. It’s a mandate. In the next few articles, we’ll look at the different types of actions bakery and snack manufacturers can take to make their products and their operations more sustainable.