Earth Day 2022: Water-saving seaweed snacks, ADM pledges forest protection, no waste smoothies
22 Apr 2022 --- F&B brands are bringing an arsenal of innovations to the table in light of Earth Day 2022 with water-saving seaweed snacks, food waste-saving smoothies and sustainable cacao among the NPD making waves in the sustainability space.
FoodIngredientsFirst examines various products and solutions that illustrate how companies and start-ups are sharpening their focus on sustainability as consumers demand more planet-friendly products - in line with Innova Market Insights Top Ten Trend for 2022, Shared Planet. The trend, the perfect illustration of how Earth Day interconnects with food production and consumption, focuses on how industry and consumers can play their part in shaping a sustainable and prosperous future and how consumers now rank planetary health as their number one concern.
One sustainable example is the growing popularity of US organic seaweed snacking brand gimMe Snacks products which have been gaining traction recently. The seaweed category has grown more than63% in the last five years, gimMe reports, as consumer awareness about seaweed’s mitigation of climate change and health benefits continues to grow.
“Cultivating seaweed has become a positive resource to coastal communities during the offseason. Not only does it have positive benefits from an environmental perspective, but it also helps utilize the labor force during the off-season,” Annie Chun, co-founder, gimMe Snacks, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“Seaweed is easy to grow, sustainable and nutritious. Awareness about the nutritional benefits of seaweed and the presence of valuable nutrients, such as iodine, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins and antioxidants in addition to its growing usage in industrial, agricultural and feed-related applications.”
Upcycling in confectionery
Meanwhile, chocolate and cocoa giant Barry Callebaut underscores its Cabosse Naturals brand for Earth Day 2022. Artisanal chocolate brand Cacao Barry showcases the sustainability footprint of Evocao WholeFruit made with upcycled cacao fruit, a Cabosse Naturals ingredient. It was introduced by Cacao Barry globally in 2021 and received the World Food Innovation Award for “Best Artisan Product” this year.
Barry Callebaut adds how Cabosse Naturals is driving impact by upcycling the whole cacao fruit. Currently, brands are introducing products with the cacao fruit in chocolate, but also in drinks, snacks, icecream and more.
Annually about 14 million tons of cacao fruits are harvested worldwide, notes the company. Whereas previously, 70% of the cacao fruit was thrown away (as much as 10 million tons).
Now not only its seeds (beans) but also the dried peel, the fresh and juicy pulp are crafted into ingredients. The Upcycled Food Association calculates that if all harvested cacao fruit was used to the fullest, it would reduce the same amount of CO2 as planting 3.5 billion trees per year – which is an area bigger than France and Germany combined.
Smoothies tackling food waste
Smoothie brand reHarvest Provisions is slashing food waste with its better-for-you portable smoothies. Through its reHarvest + rePurpose platform, the company works with manufacturers and farmers to source, purchase and use discarded byproducts such as cauliflower stems.
Rather than using processed concentrates, purees, flavors, or additives, reHarvest uses the whole upcycled fruits and vegetables in their products. Each functional RTD smoothie blend reharvests about 30 g of fruits and vegetables, offsets over 4 g of CO2 and saves up to 30 liters of water from being wasted.
Shooting for supply chains free of deforestation
Aside from NPD centered on sustainable solutions to mark Earth Day 2022, tackling deforestation is also in the spotlight.
ADM has committed to achieving 100% deforestation-free supply chains by 2025, five years earlier than previously targeted. The accelerated timeline applies to direct and indirect sourcing of all commodities from every country in ADM’s supply chain.
“Our goal is to end deforestation in the shortest time possible. Every day, we seek to build a more resilient and sustainable food system that protects forests, safeguards biodiversity, and supports communities,” says Alison Taylor, chief sustainability officer, ADM.
ADM is on track to achieve its traceability goals in soy supply chains in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina by the end of 2022. The company has a high level of traceability to the mill in the palm supply chain and is working to increase traceability to plantations.
“This Earth Day, we are taking action for climate change through collaborating with farmers, our partners and customers to integrate sustainable practices at every step across our supply chain,” Taylor adds.
In addition, ProColombia, the agency charged with promoting exports from Colombia, has also pledged to produce cacao sustainably to alleviate deforestation.
The move forms part of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, a global effort to ensure deforestation-free cacao. Colombia’s cocoa export business has risen by 54% since the beginning of 2021, registering 5.1% year-on-year growth with revenues of almost US$32 million by the end of last year.
Being more transparent with consumers
Embion Technologies has also committed to measuring and sharing the company’s metrics from 2023 onwards. The company will reveal its impact performance metrics on each Earth Day anniversary.
“Earth Day helps to remind us of our initial aims as a company and that you sometimes need to step back and see the bigger picture and either set course, or course-correct if necessary,” says George Savoglidis, co-founder, Embion.
Some other notable nods to Earth Day 2022 come from the world’s biggest food company, Nestlé, which announced plans to support the construction of a new 50-MW solar farm in Spain through a ten-year power purchase agreement it signed with German renewables developer Baywa r.e. AG.
Also, Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I has partnered with EV Cargo to help cut emissions from transport at its Magor, UK, brewery, while Costa Coffee introduced a pilot of new plant-based lids which can be recycled in-store and at the kerbside. The lids produce 50% less lifecycle carbon emissions than their current plastic lids, notes the coffee chain. They will be trialed in 150 UK Costa stores and potentially rolled out to all UK Costa stores in 2023.
By Inga de Jong
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