4 key trends for food sustainability in 2021

These are 4 food trends that are making 2021 more sustainable.



"The agrifood sector was the main sector that suddenly needed to be protected," commented EIT Food RisingFoodStars manager Annick Verween, in an episode of the Food Fight podcast.


In fact, with the changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, eyes are looking to the future. Both in the agrifood sector, as in any other sector, it is necessary to predict what is yet to come, so that we can all innovate and adapt quickly to the new reality.


As we move forward in 2021, we see new trends, preferences, behavior and priorities for consumers. Along with this, there are also new opportunities for startups and innovators.


This list highlights that sustainability has a pronounced influence on the 2021 food trends:



1. Sustainable and reliable supply chain


Food systems affected by climate change, a growing demand for limited resources, a rapidly growing global population... This is the current scenario. Due to it, consumers begin to become more aware of threats and change their consumption habits, increasingly opting for sustainable brands at all stages of the food chain. According to Accenture's 2020 report, 60% of people have been making more sustainable and ethical purchases since the beginning of COVID-19.


Thus, many brands also begin to improve their strategies, becoming more responsible, transparent and traceable.


New sustainable technologies and innovations are also emerging to support and manage supply chains. Solutions that facilitate the productivity of producers - also benefiting their income - while ensuring food security and preserving the environment are increasingly in demand.



2. Zero waste


Every year, about a third of the food produced in the world - approximately 1.3 billion tonnes - is lost or wasted. And with the pandemic, food waste and loss has increased.


Given this, a new trend is reaching the conventional market: the effort to reduce food waste. New strategies like upcycling are emerging, giving "old" foods a new life. The spread of new techniques and recipes for the reuse of surpluses and leftovers is also on the agenda and are things that we can all implement in our homes.



3. Sustainable packaging


Another trend in 2021 includes the growing concern of brands to develop or change their packaging, making them more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Compostable, recycled or biodegradable packaging then appears. Plastic has been left in the background and even large multinationals in the food sector are substituting plastic cups, spoons and straws for more environmentally friendly solutions.


This not only favors the planet, but also the image of the brands in the eyes of customers, who care about the packaging almost as much as they care about the content inside it.



4. Technology will skyrocket


There is no doubt that since the beginning of the pandemic, online courses on gastronomy have increased, online purchases of food have skyrocketed, new ways of producing food have been seen ...


The digitization of services will be a necessary development in the food supply system. Not only to meet the needs of consumers, but also to guarantee the traceability, sustainability and transparency of products. In addition, more and more investments should be made in new forms of production. Vertical farming is an example. Thus, convenience and technology are another trend of 2021 and innovative solutions in this area are likely to have great chances of success.



What other trends could be included in this list? What solutions will be able to respond to the new agri-food challenges?


These and other trends are driving the agrifood industry and today, it is more important than ever to follow the consumer's needs. BGI, together with EIT Food, is committed to building an inclusive community of agri-food stakeholders, helping to transform the food system by supporting talented and innovative entrepreneurs and teams. If you want to be part of the EIT Food chain and be the next successful agrifood startup, keep up with our programs:


EIT Food GEA | EIT Food RIS Fellowships | EIT Jumpstarter


Also read: 3 lessons learned from binge watching Netflix's The One


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