The boom in sustainable demand for purchases in every industry has seen exponential growth during the past few years, and the food industry is no exception. The rise of organic, sustainably grown, and cruelty free products are the results of some of the most called for changes. When going grocery shopping we now see organic labels, bio labels, farmer grown labels, among many others, everywhere. We see more plant-based solutions and recyclable materials used in plastic, but it is only recently that consumer trends are also leaning towards a demand from the industry in stopping food waste.
Many of us have watched documentaries on Netflix such as “Wasted”, “Our Planet”, etc., (if you haven’t done so, we highly recommend you to), which have brought much needed attention to this issue, continuing and expanding on the important trend of sustainable eating. But how has this translated to consumerism? Consumers are constantly expecting more from companies in the industries, as they should. It is no longer enough to write a small statement on the side of the packaging indicating the companies ‘continuous effort to creating a more sustainable future’. Consumers want honest and tangible accountability, and the industry knows it needs to adapt and new players are ready to fill in those gaps.
So how has the industry adapted in this case? It is starting to use technology to create new platforms to facilitate consumers’ needs regarding food habits, while keeping the comfort of purchasing products that we all seem to continuously desire. Some of these platforms that seem to be having greatest success are innovative app-based food delivery and pickup services such as GoodtoGo and Hello Fresh, two companies that have received global praise and recognition.
Hello Fresh just launched in Italy last month after seeing great success in the America’s. The business model is based on creating meal kits that are delivered right to your door, completely customizable, making the process of cooking a dinner for yourself of your family as easy as possible. The meals come with recipes and include all the ingredients you need to cook each one, with portioned ingredients, meaning you will not be having any leftover ingredients to deal with later. You are also able to select meals based on your dietary needs and preferences.
Another online platform that aims to reduce food waste is TooGoodToGo. The business model differs from that of Hello Fresh in that it essentially outsources its products by working directly with independent restaurants and grocery stores that wish to get rid of their leftover products for a small price. You may select from the range of restaurants and/or grocery stores available in your area to buy a ‘Magic box’, a box filled with products from that establishment that remain at the end of the day or are near their expiration date for a highly discounted price. You do not know what you will be receiving, but that’s half the fun.
But how sustainable are these platforms? Well it depends on how you look at it. In a way, they still incentivize consumerism, but on the other hand they are creating a positive effect in creating conscience in people’s minds like HelloFresh by allowing customers to feel the satisfaction of using all their ingredients without throwing anything away, or TooGoodToGo which gives consumers access food that would otherwise be likely wasted for a low price.
I am excited to see what the future holds in terms of sustainability trends within the food industry, and how consumers continue to shift their perspective on the importance of holding sustainable food practices. I am sure we will continue to see a boost in apps and platforms that bring us closer to sustainable eating, and see platforms such as Hello Fresh and TooGoodToGo continue on the rise. Are you ready to try them out?