Sustainability and Food Waste in European Markets

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Perceptions of Sustainability and Food Waste: Germany

This research provides information on German consumers' perceptions of sustainability and food waste. Consumers in Germany pay special attention to sustainability standards; however, only about 13% of these consumers seem to be receptive to recommendations and are willing to make efforts to reduce food waste. Details on their perceptions are available below.

The Importance of Sustainability

  • Last year, the IUBH University of Applied Sciences surveyed the personal attitudes of Germans to sustainability. This survey found that "Germans pay special attention to sustainability standards for example, organic or Fairtrade labels — when it comes to food: 69.8% consider that important."
  • According to a Statista report, as of 2020, a total of 8.16 million Germans completely agreed that they would be willing to spend more money on environmentally friendly products.
  • A McKinsey study found that due to the COVID-19 crisis, two-third of German consumers say it has become more important to limit the impacts on climate change. Approximately 90% of consumers believe that there is a need to further reduce pollution. These consumers now recycle and purchase products that are in environmentally friendly packaging.
  • German consumers have embraced more sustainable behaviors, with 52% making significant changes to their lifestyle to lessen the impact on the environment.

Importance of the Issue of Food Waste to Consumers

  • According to a German study, "58% of the consumers never or almost never waste food". However, only about 13% of German consumers seem to be receptive to recommendations and are willing to make efforts to reduce food waste.
  • There appears to be a potential for improved food management. About 50% of food waste is rated as avoidable by German consumers themselves. In terms of age, older Germans have a lower tendency to waste food.
  • Estimates by Thünen Institute reveal that "52% of the total amount of food waste is generated by private households." This percentage corresponds to roughly 75 kilograms per person per year.
  • The German government introduced a program, Too Good for the Bin, as an educational policy tool to curb food wastage. Isle Aigner (the Minister for Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection) claimed that the campaign has been a huge success, earning an overwhelming response that has triggered numerous activities throughout Germany.
  • According to Aigner, there have been positive responses from institutions and companies, as well as all the citizens who take part in the action. Overall, the government claims that the initiative has increased enthusiasm and awareness for food waste in Germany.

Perception of Relationship Between Food Waste and Sustainability

  • Currently, research indicates that German consumers do not view food waste as an issue that is closely related to sustainability. Surveys and interviews reveal that people are quick to throw away their food due to the accessibility and abundance of food at supermarkets.
  • Also, consumers usually assume that they waste very little food. The average German household does not seem to be aware of the amount of food waste they are contributing.
  • While discussions about environmental issues and sustainability keep increasing, it remains unclear how German consumers perceive food waste and how far they are aware of the problems resulting from food waste.

Suggestions for Communicating Sustainability

  • Currently, attention to sustainable articles and their production is at a high level in Germany. A recent study by inRiver reveals that 49% of German "consumers are willing to pay more for a product if it is clearly labeled as consisting of recycled materials or fully recyclable." Therefore, it is advisable to be transparent towards consumers as this has an influence on their purchasing behavior.
  • For instance, "57% of consumers would return fewer items if retailers provided more information about the environmental footprint of a return."
  • Secondly, a variety of personal reasons are important to German consumers when they are deciding to buy fairly traded products. Among these, the leading reasons "are being sure the manufacturer had not used child labor, fair prices for producers, as well as the quality of the product itself." Therefore, it is advisable to communicate these details to German consumers.
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Perceptions of Sustainability and Food Waste: UK

Most consumers in the United Kingdom consider themselves 'environmentally friendly' and are actively switching their purchase choices based on perceived sustainability. Additionally, about 75% are concerned about food waste.

Consumer Perceptions Towards Sustainability

  • Shoppercentric's most recent report reveals that nearly 80% of UK consumers claim they are 'environmentally friendly' in regard to their purchase decisions.
  • Roughly 72% perceive that a sustainable spending behavior requires one to purchase sustainably sourced goods. However, "69% perceive it is buying packaging that is recyclable."
  • According to a study from InRiver, 65% of young consumers in the UK will reconsider their purchasing decision if brands provided better information around the sustainability impact of the products they buy. In fact, 63% consider this very important and would stop using a brand if it was not sustainable.
  • Currently, about 20% of young consumers in the UK only purchase sustainable products. "When committing to a purchase, the key factors considered are sustainable packaging (6 percent), materials (6 percent), ethical production (5 percent), and carbon footprint of delivery (4 percent)." However, 41% and 25% of consumers still hold price and quality, respectively, as the most important purchase drivers.
  • A new study from Capgemini Research Institute found that 80% of consumers are rapidly switching their purchase decisions based on perceived sustainability. Additionally, the study also found that 61% of consumers in this region are willing to purchase products with sustainable packaging options.
  • KPMG polled more than 2000 consumers in the UK and found that at least two-thirds (67%) are more conscious today than five years ago about the sustainability impact of the products they buy. And 53% claim it's the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure the goods purchased are sustainable.
  • Another survey undertaken by YouGov found that 71% of UK citizens want to see more funds channeled towards renewable energy.

Consumer Perceptions Towards Food Waste

  • A poll of 2000 UK adults found that more than 75% are concerned about food waste. More women (79%) than men (21%) are more bothered, expressing their anxiety.
  • According to Rachelle Strauss, founder of Zero Waste Week, "It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Great British Public is growing more and more concerned by the amount of waste that ends up in landfill or at the bottom of the ocean."
  • Roughly 56% of UK consumers perceive that food wastage is morally wrong, according to a survey carried out by IPSOS.
  • The majority of consumers consider the need to reduce cost as the top reason for food waste management, according to a recent survey.
  • However, consumers' perception of what they waste is not correct; they tend to perceive that "more prepared food than raw ingredients is thrown away, but composition analysis suggests the opposite."

Association between Food Waste & Sustainability

  • Research indicates that most UK consumers perceive food waste as a waste of money or an ethical drawback, to some extent, "while the negative effects on the environment seem to have little importance in their perception."
  • Earlier studies in the UK found that many consumers fail to recognize "that food production and distribution generate carbon emissions, which link food waste to environmental problems."

Suggestions for Communicating Sustainability in the UK

  • Clarity Sustainability Ltd has published a 13-page article to illustrate how to communicate sustainability in the UK. One of the subjects of discussion includes "to understand the different motivations for sustainability."
  • The Guardian News also shares an article on how to communicate sustainability, including checking claims, transparency, strategic partnerships, and more.
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Perceptions of Sustainability and Food Waste: Switzerland

Two-thirds of food wastes in Switzerland is avoidable. A vast majority of consumers in Switzerland understand the environmental impact of food waste and they consider reducing food waste in the country to be of high priority. Communicating the need to reduce food waste in Switzerland can be achieved through government regulations and independent awareness campaigns.

Food Waste in Switzerland

  • According to Switzerland's Federal Office of Environment, two-thirds of food wastes in the country is avoidable.
  • Studies found that approximately 2.8 million tonnes of food are thrown away in Switzerland across all supply chains as of 2017. This equates to about "330 kg of avoidable food waste per person per year, or 37% of agricultural production (i.e. food produced in Switzerland and abroad for consumption in Switzerland)."
  • One-quarter of the food-related carbon footprint in Switzerland is contributed by food waste which amounts to less than half a tonne of CO2 equivalent per person per year, costing about CHF5 billion ($5 billion) per household.
  • About 52% of the environmental impact of food waste is generated by households and catering, 27% is contributed by the processing industry, trade contributes 8%, and food production accounts for 13%.
  • A statement by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) noted that "despite a relatively low environmental impact per kilogram, fruit and vegetables also have a significant impact on the environmental balance sheet because they are thrown away in large quantities."
  • Bread and bakery products, cheese, beef, and fresh vegetables are the most common food that is wasted in Switzerland.

Consumer Perception of Food Waste and Sustainability

  • Consumers in Switzerland clearly understand the impact of food waste in the country and they support the idea of cutting down food waste even if it means they will have to spend more on food.
  • Their perception of food waste is that "when food is produced but not consumed, this leads to unnecessary CO2 emissions, land and water consumption and, in the long term, loss of biodiversity."
  • According to a survey report by the Swiss Environmental Panel, the vast majority of consumers in Switzerland understands that there is a moral, economic, and environmental problem associated with food waste. However, some consumers are of a different view.
  • It is also worth noting that those that agree that food waste impacts the environment overestimate the amount of food wasted by restaurants and retailers while underestimating the proportion of food waste generated by households and food processing companies.
  • However, "the majority of the Swiss population are already doing something to eliminate unnecessary food waste in their households, and are prepared to do even more in the future. Most consider the current voluntary efforts at household and company level to be insufficient, and are in favor of stronger, more binding measures by the state to reduce food waste."
  • Consumers in Switzerland generally consider reducing food waste to be of high priority and they consider how this is achieved, whether it is by government regulations compelling companies to adopt certain approaches or voluntary adoption by companies, to be secondary.

Efforts to Communicate the Impact of Food Waste on Sustainability

1. Through Government Regulations
  • Communicating the impact of food waste on sustainability can be achieved from a productive stakeholder dialogue through government policies and programs such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) which led the Swiss National Council to develop action plans towards preventing food waste.
  • The government of Switzerland has adopted plans to halve the "per capita of global food waste at retail and consumer levels and for the reduction of food losses in agriculture, trade, and the processing industry by 2030".
  • Achieving this goal would ensure that Switzerland would cut down the environmental impact of avoidable food losses across the nation by 39–61%, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 190–290 kg of CO2 equivalent per person.

2. Through Independent Awareness Campaigns
  • In Switzerland, the Impact Hub Geneva organizes an awareness program titled 'Food Save Challenge'.
  • The program was organized to support promising start-ups that tackle food waste in the country.
  • Speaking on the impact of food wastage in 2018, Erica Mazerolle — the coordinator of the program — said that "food waste is a sustainability issue that is very relevant to a place like Switzerland, especially when you look at the figures. Last September when we launched the program, we started with an awareness campaign through social media by sharing facts about food waste."
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Perceptions of Sustainability and Food Waste: Scandinavia

The Expat Insider Survey ranked Sweden (2), Norway (4), and Denmark (6) among the top 10 countries in the Environment & Sustainability Ranking. Nearly 9 in 10 consumers in Sweden and Denmark take responsibility for preventing food waste. 46% of consumers in Sweden do not trust sustainability claims made by brands.

Sweden

  • 88% of consumers in Sweden take responsibility "for preventing food waste."
  • 65% of consumers from Sweden "say they regularly ensure that product packaging is recycled."
  • While 28% of consumers say they "are willing to switch from a well-known brand(s) to unknown brand(s) that they perceive as sustainable," 49% consumers have already "switched to lesser-known brand(s)/organization(s) whose products/practices they perceive as more sustainable."
  • 72% of consumers "are hesitant to buy from organizations which they perceive as non-sustainable;" 31% of those who are hesitant "have already reduced spending from organizations they perceive as non-sustainable."
  • 74% of consumers discussed sustainability with others sometimes or often in 2020.
  • 72% of consumers said that their purchase decisions were influenced by sustainability.
  • 93% of expats in Sweden are "satisfied with the local waste management and recycling measures (vs. 60% globally)."
  • "The increased threat of climate change has led Sweden to power everything from buses to apartment heating systems by burning rubbish in low-carbon incinerators and using food waste to make climate-friendly biogas fuel."
  • Sweden’s population has embraced the need to sort and segregate household waste, the country is able to operate more than 34 'waste-to-energy' power plants that generate enough electricity to power 250,000 household.

Norway

  • 90% of expats from Norway believe "that the Norwegian government promoted policies that protect the environment."
  • 72% of consumers discussed sustainability with others sometimes or often in 2020.
  • 63% of consumers said that their purchase decisions were influenced by sustainability.
  • "As many as nine out of ten Norwegians are conscious of food waste. Only 10% said they didn’t think about it. People who were between the ages of 18 and 25 were the least conscious of food waste."
  • "20% of consumers in Norway are throwing away lesser food than they did prior to the pandemic."
  • "The Nordics are a hot- spot when it comes to fighting food waste and inspiring cases are not hard to find. Total Ctrl, a Norwegian based company, fights surplus by giving retailers better control of their inventory. Rub & Stub, a Danish restaurant, turns food waste into new dishes. Rescued, a Swedish based company, focusing on turning fruit waste into tasty juice."

Denmark

  • 85% of consumers in Denmark take responsibility "for preventing food waste."
  • "Denmark is a world leader in the food waste movement and has also developed a number of food packaging solutions that aim to offset in waste and refuse following the rise in ready meals and food on the go behavior."
  • 66% of consumers discussed sustainability with others sometimes or often in 2020
  • 67% of consumers said that their purchase decisions were influenced by sustainability.
  • 89% of expats are "satisfied with the waste management and recycling efforts (vs. 60% globally)."

Communicating Sustainability

  • 69% of companies in Sweden claim that "consumers are highly aware of their sustainability initiatives;" however, 44% of consumers in Sweden "say they do not have any information to verify the sustainability claims made by products" and 46% "say they do not trust the sustainability claims made by these products."
  • The most common reason for throwing away food in Nordic countries was that the food had passed its expiry date. Yoghurt and sour cream, which are products labeled with 'best before' and which last well beyond the expiry date, are food types that are often discarded when they are past expiry dates. Brand such as Q, Prior, and Tine changed their food product labeling on their dairy products and eggs to "best before, but not bad after."
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Perceptions of Sustainability and Food Waste: France

In France, consumers are highly aware of the importance of sustainability and this is reflected in politics with important movements having an environmental platforms and even laws passed against food waste. The issue of food is also highly debated in France, with a multitude of government agencies and associations focusing on this issue and promoting practices reducing it. There are many campaigns at all levels of government aimed at reducing food waste and promoting sustainability.

Importance of Sustainability in Mainstream Conversations

  • In March 2019, one such debate was organized between the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer and french youth in the town of Tours, just over 200 km from Paris.
  • The theme of the debate was sustainability, energy transition, and citizenship.
  • The Ministry of Education is committed to the fight against climate change, and supports energy transition as well as sustainability.
  • Meetings were organized on the 15th of March all over French high schools to discuss climate challenges, and try to find solutions.
  • According to a survey conducted by Yougov, sustainability is the main concern for French people, even before unemployment, safety, education, or social protection.
  • 26% of French people ranked sustainability first in their list of concerns, compared to 13% for unemployment, in second position.
  • When broken down by age group, 37% of French youth aged 18-24 years old consider the environment as their first concern, compared to 21% of French nationals aged between 45-54 years old.
  • According to another study, 26% of French people are concerned with sustainability, but claim that their main reasons for not being more active in their contribution is lack of time, but another research found that the real reason was financial, with 37% of French respondents worried that consuming in a more sustainable way would have an impact on their purchasing power.
  • This is even more true for the age group between 25 and 34, who are the ones even more concerned about sustainability issues.
  • In terms of restaurants and food outlets, over 90% of French people consider that sorting food waste and tracing products is important, and 66% of them would be ready to pay more to reward establishments who adopt sustainability measures.
  • A study also found that the large majority of French people were aware of good practices to implement to reduce waste.
  • 92% of French people take into account the robustness of products, 75% the possibility to repair the product, and 64% the environmental impact of the product's components.
  • In addition, half of French people claimed their awareness of a new anti-waste law proposed by the government.

Importance of Food Waste Issue

  • 70% of French people think of themselves as being responsible in terms of environment and sustainability, according to a survey conducted in July 2019.
  • Responsible behavior in terms of sustainability includes reducing waste on a daily basis, including plastic bags, consuming seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as reducing water and energy consumption.
  • It also means having a balanced diet, reducing meat consumption, as well as preferring organic products.
  • Another survey conducted by Yougov found that 92% of French respondents found that food waste was unacceptable.
  • Among the solutions proposed to reduce food waste in France, 30% of French people think that eating leftovers would reduce waste, 26% recommended a better planning for meals, 24% freezing food, and 10% checking the expiry date.
  • In research by the BVA Institute conducted in 2019, it was found that 95% of French respondents claimed to be concerned by the issue of food waste, with 57% claiming to be very concerned.
  • In terms of evolution in time, 63% of respondents claimed to be more concerned about food waste than 2-3 years ago, compared to 33% who judged their preoccupation to be stable and 4% who claimed to be less concern than in the past.
  • The trend to be more concerned than in the past is stronger within the younger age group.
  • In terms of food waste, French people have implemented a series of best practices aimed at reducing it, such as having a shopping list (89%), consuming some products even when their expiry date has passed (88%), freezing leftovers (84%), menu planning (57%), and giving away food to family or neighbors (41%).
  • The main food waste item has been found to be bread with 23% of French people being guilty of this, followed by fruits and vegetables (21%), and unfinished meals (20%).
  • Food wastage is more common with under-35s and white collar workers.
  • France has now committed to halve its amount of food waste by 2025.

Food Waste and Sustainability

  • According to a study by BVA Institute on the negative impact of food waste, 38% of French respondents considered food waste as bad for the environment, 31% as a waste of money, and 31% as unethical.
  • Another study realized in May 2016 in partnership with ADEME found that 76% of French respondents thought that responsible food consumption represented a way to engage themselves in sustainability efforts.
  • The main government agency for the environment, ADEME, highlights in its website the impact of food waste on the environment and sustainability.

Suggestions for Communicating Sustainability in France

  • Countless private or state organizations have produced sustainability communications to push French consumers towards greater efforts.
  • One of them is a community called Gaillac-Graulhet, who released a guidebook to help reduce food waste.
  • The 7-page guide includes facts about the amount of food waste generated by each French person in a year, which is equivalent to 20 kg.
  • The booklet gives also the statistic for the region, which is even higher than the national average at 30kg/year, and describes the environmental impact of food waste in general.
  • Finally, the largest section is dedicated to practical advice and actions that can be take to reduce food waste.
  • These include meal planning, paying attention to expiry dates, and organizing the fridge/freezer efficiently.
  • The booklet ends with a recipe idea.
  • A government agency tasked with the environment called ADEME has recently published an article about food waste.
  • It featured statistics about the food wasted in France every year, in a similar way then the previous booklet.
  • The article started with citing the main reasons that explain the large amount of food wasted such as lack of food shopping planning, forgotten products at the back of a cupboard of the fridge, or cooking quantities too important.
  • The article goes on to give ideas on how to measure the right amount to cook, and also provide recipes.
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Perceptions of Sustainability and Food Waste: Spain

In Spain, over 7.7 million tons of food is wasted annually by just 42% of households. Despite this, 73% of Spanish consumers make their purchasing decisions with a basis on sustainability reasoning. This shows that even though sustainability and food waste are closely related, consumers within the Spanish market have not really established this link. A detailed overview of the research findings follows below.

Consumer Perception of Sustainability and Food Waste in Spain

Spanish Consumers Care about Sustainability

The Beginning of Food Waste Management in Spain

Suggestions for Communicating Sustainability

  • To communicate sustainability in Spain, an organization can leverage the opportunities that are available in the market i.e. because it has a lack of affordable substitutes - 58%, lack of accessible alternatives - 54%, and a low number of responsible organizations - 52%. In addition, the market is also plagued by a lack of information - 60% and an organization that addresses this can also successfully communicate sustainability with consumers in the market and curve out a section of the consumer base.
  • In Spain, male consumers exhibit a higher perception of sustainability than their female counterparts while age does not play a vital role in influencing sustainability. Consequently, another strategy for communicating sustainability in the country can be to target male consumers first because they will be more receptive to the provided messaging and communication as opposed to female consumers. Additionally, sustainability programs should be differentiated with a strict reference on age because this factor does not play a significant role in influencing sustainability in the country.

Key Takeaways

  • In summary, even though consumers in Spain care about sustainability i.e. 72% of consumers make purchasing decisions based on ethical sustainability reasons, there is still a significant amount of food waste, which stood at 42% in 2020 among Spanish households. Because of the conflicting figures from Spain, it was concluded that consumers in the country have not yet associated food waste with sustainability.
  • To combat the loss and wastage of over 7.7 million tons of food in Spain, the political outfit and administration is embarking on developing initiatives that are going to move the country towards social sustainability in the food sector.
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Perceptions of Sustainability and Food Waste: Netherlands

Consumer perceptions of sustainability and food waste in the Netherlands are generally positive. One survey found that 70% of Dutch consumers were either concerned about sustainability or were sustainable consumers. Another survey showed that 26% of households in the Netherlands waste less food after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Importance of Sustainability in Mainstream Conversations

  • According to a 2018 survey of the level of interest of consumers in sustainability in the Netherlands, around 34% of consumers were interested in being sustainable and over 35% were actively making sustainable choices. This means that 70% of consumers were either concerned about sustainability or were sustainable consumers. Only around 30% do not have an interest in sustainability.
  • The perception of a food production process that is increasingly industrialized had induced counter-reactions, such as a call for more sustainable and organic food. These changes are partly influenced by socio-cultural values.
  • Consumers are spending more on sustainable foods in recent years. Between 2013 and 2014, sustainable foods constituted 7% of total food spending and increased to 8.2% in 2015.

Importance of Food Waste to Consumers

  • Consumers in the Netherlands waste 34 kg of food on average per person each year.
  • A survey assessing the behavior of Dutch consumers before and after COVID-19 found that 26% of households waste less food after the pandemic but around 70% discards as much food as they do before COVID-19.
  • For those discarding less food, the reasons given include "less unexpected events (39%), cooking at home more often (34%), and better use of left-overs (25%)"
  • 20% of households are wasting less fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and meal leftovers, 20% are better aware of food waste, 21% pay more attention to proper food storage and "use-by/best-before" dates, 25% believe that people in their environment are more committed to preventing food waste, 19% believe that people in their environment discard less food, and for one-third of them, unexpected circumstances that result in leftover foods occur less often.
  • In another survey, 70% of respondents are prepared to cut their food waste. Their reasons include "the fact that it’s simply wrong, that it’s a waste of money and that many people in the world are hungry."

Whether Consumers Commonly View Food Waste As Closely Related To Sustainability

  • While there is an increase in spending on sustainable foods, there is very little information showing whether Dutch consumers commonly view food waste as closely related to sustainability.
  • Consumers generally do not differentiate between different food aspects, such as healthiness, safety, and sustainability. These different terminologies are used interchangeably. For example, consumers perceive the safety and healthiness of foods to be the same thing. Also, organic or sustainable foods are typically regarded as healthy. Generally, foods are categorized as good or bad.

Suggestions for Communicating Sustainability in the Market

  • Television advertising focused on influencing the food preferences of children below 12 years should be regulated or banned. Research has shown that television advertising influences the food choices of children below 12 years. Some countries have introduced effective regulations to reduce the viewing of food advertising by children. Belgium, Sweden, and Norway have outrightly banned television advertising targeted at children below 12 years. Australia prohibits advertisements directed at preschool children during television programming.
  • There should be more information to create more awareness of sustainable products. "Consumers expect that more awareness and availability of sustainable products will drive sales, and think that the government can help by providing information". Business owners can also help to create awareness by providing "information about shelf-life and saving products or offering guidelines or smart packaging giving consumers better portion control when buying and cooking."
  • The should be more effective communication on the proper use of “Use By” and “Best By” labels. According to Toine Timmermans of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality, around 15% of consumer waste is caused by a misunderstanding of the “Use By” and “Best By” labels.



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Part
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Perceptions of Sustainability and Food Waste: Portugal

While Portuguese consumers generally view the subjects of sustainability and food waste as important issues, there is currently a disconnect between their support of food conservation and the environment in mainstream discussions and their behavior on a day-to-day basis. Research indicates that direct educational campaigns that focus on informing consumers in Portugal about environmental issues and their role in addressing them can have a meaningful impact.

Importance of Sustainability

  • The latest available literature indicates that while Portuguese consumers are generally aware of and have a "positive attitude" towards sustainability, there may be dissonance between the importance of sustainability within mainstream conversations and subsequent consumer behavior.
  • As a whole, consumers in Portugal are "moderately informed about environmental issues" and believe that their efforts as individuals directly contribute to sustainability.
  • Beyond awareness, the most recent (2021) research into "green" perceptions in Portugal found that "consumers have a positive attitude towards the environment, they demand green products, and they attempt to read environmental labels."
  • Separate studies by REMark and the ISCTE Business School corroborate that sustainability is considered important among mainstream Portuguese consumers, given that the Portuguese "purchase green products moderately" and have a "more favorable perception" of brands that address issues of sustainability.
  • However, slightly older research (2018) also indicates that despite these clear signs of support for the environment and sustainable practices, Portuguese consumers "do not always translate their concerns into environmentally friendly actions."

Importance of Food Waste/Conservation

  • 2020 research from the journals of Sustainability and Science of the Total Environment similarly indicates that Portuguese consumers have a somewhat dichotomous relationship with food waste, given that they are aware of the importance of food conservation but produce substantial food waste every year.
  • According to the journal of Sustainability, mainstream Portuguese consumers have a meaningful level of awareness as well as a "positive" attitude towards food conservation.
  • Additionally, the journal found that there was no relationship between socio-demographics among the Portuguese and the level of importance these consumers placed on the issue of food waste.
  • However, more dated research in some cases indicates that food conservation may be a higher priority among the wealthy, educated and those without young children in Portugal.
  • Meanwhile, despite the consensus that the Portuguese view food conservation as important in concept, the journal of Science of The Total Environment reported as recently as last year that there is "noticeable food wastage" in the country, leading to a "current food unsustainability" in Portugal.
  • As evidence of the level of food wastage among Portuguese consumers, the country produces 1 million tonnes of food waste every year, which is equal to 17% of the food produced in Portugal for human consumption.
  • Ultimately, Science of The Total Environment suggests that an "overall lack of strong political commitment" towards food conservation may be partly behind consumers' willingness to waste food despite awareness on the subject.

Association between Food Waste & Sustainability

  • The journals of Sustainability and Science of the Total Environment also report that the Portuguese generally view food waste as connected to sustainability.
  • Notably, Sustainability found that Portuguese consumers currently have a "particular awareness of food waste and its social and environmental impact."
  • The Science of The Total Environment similarly noted that the food system was part of wider discussions about sustainability and the environment in the country.

Communicating about Sustainability

  • Meanwhile, the journals of Sustainability and Science of the Total Environment as well as The National Academies Press and REMark offer insights into communicating about sustainability in Portugal.
  • First and foremost, it's important to note that municipalities across Portugal already have in place extensive information and awareness campaigns on the subjects of sustainability and food waste.
  • Despite this base level of communication, however, the Portuguese are also known to respond well to additional direct education campaigns about both subjects.
  • For example, a study found that presenting college students in Portugal with information about how to avoid food waste resulted in a 15% reduction in the university's waste consumption index.
  • Similarly, an education campaign conducted in a Portuguese elementary school that included posters, menu planning lessons and rewards (e.g., stickers) resulted in a reduction in food waste between 0% and 40%.
  • Ultimately, REMark concluded that Portuguese consumers in general respond well when they are both made "more aware of environmental problems" as well as helped to "understand the importance of their individual behavior to prevent them."
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Part
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Perceptions of Sustainability and Food Waste: Belgium

Over the last 2-3 years, sustainability has become a key concern for the average Belgian consumer. A majority of them believe that sustainability is a key factor in their decision-making and are willing to make changes to their life style to support their beliefs. However, they are also very conservative and are slow to realize that food, specifically, has a big impact on the environment. This has lead them to be more careless with food waste

Consumer Perception on Sustainability

  • Sustainability is a key issue that has been growing in importance in Belgium for some time.
  • Over 90% of consumers believe that sustainability is an important aspect in their decision-making.
  • Almost half (49%) of Belgians live sustainably, especially when it comes to refusing plastic bags (71%).
  • About 64% of Belgians have noted that clean air and protecting the nature are important to them.
  • Over 80% of consumers believe that companies have a responsibility to keep the environment safe.
  • About 60% of Belgians, the majority of which are Millennials and Gen Z consumers, have also expressed a desire to change their habits to contribute to the overall sustainability.
  • The government is also heavily supporting the move towards a more sustainable future by implementing a circular economy that encourages companies to focus on their social responsibility and environmental impact more than before.
  • According to a recent survey by Statista, over 62% of Belgian consumers tend to buy ecological products, while 52% have noted that they prefer organic products.
  • According to a recent research article, Belgians are also open to paying more for sustainable products, with 53% indicating that "they would pay more for a product from an environmentally friendly company," 58% would pay more for a product with an environmentally friendly packaging, and "58% want to spend more on a product from a company that contributes to society."
  • As such, it is important for companies to recognize and specify how their product contributes to that healthier lifestyle that the Belgian consumers are striving towards.
  • It is also important for companies to provide clear and concise labels that identify all the important ingredients in a simple and comprehensive way.

Consumer Perception on Food Waste

  • Belgium is at the forefront of the sustainable revolution by specifically implementing and responding to the most recent sustainability trends.
  • The country ranks second in Europe in terms of recycled waste, recycling more than 77% of their total waste.
  • Consumers are very aware and knowledgeable about the importance of healthy food as well.
  • About half of Belgian consumers have noted that environmental concerns do play a role when buying food.
  • However, they are also very conservative and have been slow to realize the impact of food consumption habits on the environment.
  • About 54% of Belgian consumers have been reported to underestimate the importance of food consumption to the environment.
  • Belgium is one of the countries that wastes the most food in the world, with a total food waste of 87.1 kilograms per household per year.
  • Despite that, people have expressed willingness to change, with over 75% of the Belgian consumers expressing the desire to change their eating habits, while over 60% of them have noted that they are ready and willing to waste less food.
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Food Sustainability Brands: Germany

Some of the most successful food sustainability brands in Germany are Alpro and Veganz. Among other findings, we remark that the German population is very open to sustainable food since two-third of them are concerned with environmental and climate issues.

Overview

Food Sustainable Brands

  • In 2019, Latana surveyed 1,000 Germans to determine which vegan food brands they were aware of.
  • Although Germans tend to stick to homemade products, 74% of respondents had heard about "Alpro" which is a Belgian brand.
  • 33% of surveyed knew something about "Simply V."
  • 27% of Germans were aware of "Veganz."
  • 12% of consumers knew about "Made with Luve", followed by "Oatly" (9%), and "Naturli" (8%).
  • Then, they were asked about which vegan food brands would they consider the most and the respondents choose among the brands in the following order;
  • 75% of people choose "Alpro" as their first option.
  • 65% of consumers preferred "Veganz" as a second option.
  • 61% of the surveyed would choose "Oatly" as a third option.
  • 54% of the public would choose "Simply V."
  • "Made with Luve" and "Naturli" share 51% and 50% of the public preference respectively.

Alpro

  • They have a website for each country in which they operate.
  • Although their message is entirely in German, some products have their name in a mixture of German and English (Soja Joghurtalternativen), and some others have their name in English (Kids, or Absolutely).
  • Results revealed that demographic factors such as place of residence or age were not at play for explaining Alpro's success, but brand campaigns.

In the Market

  • Alpro is doing very well in the German market since its marketing strategy is focused on digital campaigns.
  • Its website has 70,92% of traffic coming from search, 24,24% of its traffic comes from direct marketing, 1,91% comes from referrals, 1,51% comes from their social media, 0,30% comes from emails, and 1,11% from the display.
  • In Germany, Alpro’s website is ranked 17,766 with a high engagement (489.28k visits in January 2021).
  • Besides, Alpro is part of the Danone portfolio which has more than 100,000 employees, it sells products in 120 markets and generated $30.66 billion in sales in 2019.

Veganz

  • Veganz was founded in Berlin, in 2011, and it “became the first vegan supermarket chain in Europe.”
  • Very soon, it broke into the vegan niche and managed to have 120 products over 18,000 stores in 28 countries.
  • Its website has the option to change from German to English.

In the Market

  • Veganz Group AG has 60 employees in Germany, it is made up of five companies, and it generated $13.74 million in sales in 2019.

Research Strategy

We conducted our research by looking for all the available information about food sustainability brands in Germany. We focused on determining the openness of German consumers to brands associated with food sustainability, We applied the criterion of brand-awareness and found that two of the most successful food sustainability brands in Germany are Alpro and Veganz. Alpro (a Belgian brand) is part of a multinational portfolio whereas Veganz is a local brand. We also included in our research relevant data that portraits their position in the market, their popularity, the tagline of marketing campaigns, and the language used in their websites.
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Food Sustainability Brands: UK

Two successful food sustainability brands in the UK are Quorn and Beyond Meat. Apart from a description of how each brand is doing in the market and the tagline, we also provided a one-sentence description and details surrounding sustainability to give the whole picture of food sustainability.

Brand #1: Quorn

  • Quorn is a meat substitute product that originated in the UK and is sold as a cooking ingredient and meat substitute used in several prepackaged meals.

Sustainability

  • Behind the scenes, Quorn works to minimize environmental impact by making the operations as efficient as possible. Quorn Mince uses "90% less land and produces 90% fewer carbon emissions than beef." Its water footprint is 10 times lower than that of beef mince. Some things surrounding sustainability that have been achieved since 2012 are:
    • A reduction of the carbon footprint in factories by 33%.
    • 80% recyclable packaging
    • 16% reduction of water usage per tonne.

Why was Quorn Selected?/ How is it Successful?

  • Quorn was selected because it is UK's number one meat-free brand, worth over £203m. It is the biggest contributor of absolute revenue in the meat-free market, increasing the frequency of purchases and introducing new shoppers to the category continuously.

Market Performance Besides Revenue

  • Quorn is the best-known meat-free brand in the UK. 1 in 4 people eat it regularly and it has a record of providing delicious products that mimic consumers' favorite foods, helping them adopt meat-free diets.
  • In a survey done on 250 working-age consumers, Quorn was the most well-known vegan/vegetarian food brand with about 50% of the respondents mentioning the brand by name. It has become a byword for non-meat.
  • Even with new entrants to the non-meat market, Quorn "clearly still dominates in the minds of the UK public."

Quorn's Tagline

  • The tagline, "helping the planet one bite at a time," is in English. This is expected because the UK is primarily English-speaking. The overall primary messaging is in English.

Brand #2: Beyond Meat

  • Beyond Meat makes meat from plants and the brand entered the UK market in 2018 through a partnership with Authentic Food Co.

Sustainability

  • A study done on Beyond Meat's products revealed that a Beyond burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, needs 46% less energy, has 99% less impact on water loss, and 93% less impact on the use of land compared to a quarter pound of beef.

Why was Beyond Meat Selected?/ How is it Successful?

  • Beyond Meat was selected because the UK is an important part of the brand's long-term growth strategy in Europe. In October 2020, the company announced that its Beyond Burger had been stocked in Sainsbury, a "popular and well-established British grocery chain." Additionally, the product is supplied to more than 41 Gourmet Burger Kitchen restaurants, adding to the already considerable list of restaurant supply arrangements and supermarkets accrued by Beyond Meat. This has widened its availability and proves its popularity. Sources say that Beyond Burger's products fly off the shelves.

Market Performance Besides Revenue

  • Among the new plant-based meat brands in the UK (which excludes Quorn), consumers have in most cases tried Beyond Meat (23%), according to a survey. This figure is set to keep increasing as the brand continues to introduce new products into the market (like the collaboration with McDonald's).
  • The future is bright for Beyond meat, with half the respondents in the survey saying that they intend to purchase items from the brand in the next six months.
  • Also, 76% of people that have previously purchased Beyond Meat say that they will buy it again in the future, indicating brand loyalty.
  • Among plant-based meat brands (excluding Quorn), Beyond Meat enjoys the most prompted and unprompted recall, and the highest purchase intent and history.

Beyond Meat's Tagline

  • Beyond Meat's tagline, "Go Beyond," is in English. This is expected because the UK is primarily English-speaking. The overall primary messaging is in English.

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Food Sustainability Brands: Switzerland

How open are Swiss consumers to brands associated with food sustainability?
  • Swiss voters are casting their ballots in not one, but two votes which campaigners say will promote ethical and sustainable food:The first proposal, called "fair food" and The second, called "food sovereignty."
  • Opinions are divided. The market share for organic "fair" produce is growing in Switzerland, where around 10% of all farms, or 14% of farmland, is now organic.
  • Concerns about cost are also a factor, and the latest polls show "yes" and "no" voters are neck-and-neck.
Successful examples of food sustainability brands in Switzerland

Brand 1: Eaternity

Eaternity is the organization developing a solution for the food industry to measure exactly and efficiently the environmental footprint of food products. To enable smart decisions for the benefit of people, planet and profit. It went public in 2014 but it's story goes back to 2008. They are based in Zurich, Switzerland.

Sustainability Ideologies

At Eaternity they are convinced that they can reduce climate-threatening greenhouse gas emissions by half! This is equivalent of 1 ton of CO₂ per person per year. That's comparable to driving by car from the north cape (Norway) to Lisboa (Portugal).

They hope to achieve their sustainability goals by :
  • By reducing climate change- With educated, seasonal and regional food choices they can reduce the climate impact by more than 50%. Food is the most efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach the goal of maximum global warming of 2 degrees, set by the Paris Climate Accord.
  • Indicating forest protection-Tropical forests store massive amounts of carbon and hold 2/3 of all land-based species even though they only cover 5% of the Earth’s land area. They provide us with fresh water and they affect local and global climate and weather patterns. The production of soy and palm oil, timber production and grazing cattle are the main driver of tropical rainforest deforestation and lead to a tremendous loss in biodiversity.

Why was Eaternity Selected?/ How is it Successful?

  • Eaternity was selected because it has over 100 restaurants in Switzerland participating in its sustainability goals. They also have more than 8,000 markets with scored products.
  • Eaternity has also developed indicators for the carbon footprint, health, land-use change, good animal treatment, seasonality and the water footprint to help the food service industry make smart choices.

Eaternity's Tagline
Their tagline is "App'etite for change" which is in English


Brand 2: Partage Foundation

Created in 2005 by L’Armée du Salut, Le C.A.R.E., Caritas Genève, les Colis du Cœur et Emmaüs, the Partage Foundation has since become the main food bank in the canton of Geneva. With a mission to collect and sort unsold produces from shops and food companies in Geneva, and redistribute it for free to social associations and services that support feeding people in need in Geneva.
Sustainability Ideologies
It is based on three pillars of sustainability, this are:
  • Social- Partage supports people in need by supplying vital commodities to charities and social services.
  • Environment-Partage limits negative impact on the environment by gathering the surplus from Geneva-based food companies, by rationalizing its management of surplus and focusing on environmentally-friendly methods of transport.
  • Economy- The various services and benefits offered by Partage enable its representatives to be trained up and their employability to be improved, thus benefiting their professional rehabilitation.
Why was Partage Selected?/ How is it Successful?
  • Through its actions, Partage fight to reduce food waste, support professional reintegration and act in favor of the environment by using eco-friendly transportation through their electric scooters
  • It has also been able to acquire 97 suppliers (87 collection points) who supply Partage with foodstuffs and hygiene products , have over 10,000 liters of soup made and distributed over the winter period , host about 48 charities and social services supported over 9,800 people on average per week with 800 tonnes of foodstuffs distributed in 2018
Partage's Tagline
Their tagline is "La banque alimentaire genevoise" which is not in English
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Food Sustainability Brands: Scandinavia

Fiksuruoka and ResQ are successful examples of food sustainability brands in Finland. Consumers in Finland are open to brands associated with food sustainability, as evidenced by the large number of Facebook followers the companies' have, their revenue, and their number of customers.

Fiksuruoka

ResQ

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Food Sustainability Brands: France

Cémoi and Can Packaging are two examples of food sustainability brands in France. Cémoi is a leading chocolate brand in the country and a key player in manufacturing organic chocolate. Likewise, Can Packaging is a leading designer and manufacturer of sustainable packaging solutions, including cans made using approximately 92% to 98% cardboard.

Cémoi

  • Cémoi is a leading chocolate brand in France, and is among the few brands, along with Cargill and Barry Callebaut that dominate the French grinding industry, which experienced an average annual growth rate of 1.1% between 2016 and 2019. The company is also among the largest sustainable end producers of chocolate in France.
  • The chocolate brand takes part in the Cocoa & Forests Initiative aimed at curbing deforestation and forest degradation resulting from cocoa farming. Cémoi also runs a sustainability program, dubbed “Transparence Cacao,” which it started 2015 to help advance the lives of farmers in its expansive supply chain.
  • Transparence Cacao has so far sourced 30,795 tons of sustainable cocoa, trained over 21,784 cocoa planters, produces about 24% of aromatic cocoa that is adapted to its members’ needs and usages. Equally, the brand has over 15 community projects globally and has helped restore an estimated 1,425 hectares of land across the world.
  • Cémoi also participates in the Rainforest Alliance/UTZ certification, which is an “alliance of companies, farmers, forest communities, and consumers committed to creating a world where people and nature thrive in harmony.”
  • The company’s tagline is in French and reads, “The French chocolatier.” The messaging on its entire website is in French; however, it provides translation into English.

Can Packaging

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Food Sustainability Brands: Spain

Suntory and Feltwood successful examples of food sustainability brands in Spain. Suntory's sustainability initiatives include minimizing the sugar in its foods and beverages, producing near-natural products, minimizing wastes, sustainable packaging, efficient water use, procuring sustainably, and reducing emissions. Feltwood contributes to economic development by turning waste materials into valuable materials that are biodegradable, recyclable, and compostable.

Suntory

  • Suntory is among the top companies in both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages industry globally. The company has several locations worldwide, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Suntory’s head office in Spain is in Madrid and the head office contacts can be found here.
  • The company indicated that its values include growing for good, giving back to society by protecting water resources, and nurturing communities. Its 2019 revenue was about $21 billion and the company has over 40,000 employees worldwide.
  • Suntory highlighted that it places a high premium on its environmental, social, and corporate governance agenda and this is in line with its global vision of ‘Growing for Good’. The company's sustainability initiatives include minimizing the sugar in its foods and beverages, producing near-natural products, minimizing wastes, sustainable packaging, efficient water use, procuring sustainably, and reducing emissions.
  • Suntory reported that it had introduced low-calorie Schweppes Lemon, Orange, Pink, and Ginger Ale in Spain. The company indicated that its packaging in Spain was already 100% recyclable and that it was working towards a zero-carbon emission for 100% of its fleet by 2030.
  • Suntory highlighted that the company's Schweppes, Gaseosa, and Sunny Delight are among the leading soft drinks in Spain. The company's tagline is, "Follow Your Nature".
  • Suntory was selected for this brief because it has diverse sustainability programs in Spain, its drinks are among the top brands in Spain, and the company's revenue is in billions of dollars. On January 22, 2019, Fortune ranked the company 4th in the World’s Most Admired Companies (Beverage Industry) ranking.

Feltwood

  • Feltwood's vision indicated that the company seeks to become a brand in the generation of new technologies for the development of environmentally friendly biodegradable materials. The company highlighted that it contributes to economic development by turning waste materials into valuable materials that are biodegradable, recyclable, and compostable.
  • It contributes to social good by reducing toxins in the environment, helping improve farmer´s profitability, and enhancing the development of rural settlements. Feltwood's technology involves first turning agricultural waste into Feltwood Raw Material then transforming raw materials into Feltwood final products.
  • Feltwood's clients include farms that produce vegetables on a large scale and businesses that produce vegetable wastes. The company's technology was highlighted by several companies, including ABC, 5D, Retema, and La Razon. The list of companies working with Feltwood can be found here. Feltwood has had 2 investors, EIT Food and EASME who raised a total of about $560 for the company.
  • The company was selected for this brief for various reasons: Euronews named it among the startups that are changing the food tech landscape in Spain, the company has so far attracted funding from 2 investors, and the company was the National Impact Tech Winner at the 2019 Entrepreneur XXI Awards.
  • Feltwood's tagline is, "Double Positive Impact".
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Food Sustainability Brands: Netherlands

Tony’s Chocolonely is the most sustainable brand in Holland for the third time in a row. The brand is focused on producing and selling chocolate while closely following fair trade practices, strongly opposing slave labor and child labor, and sourcing cocoa from sustainable sources.

Tony’s Chocolonely: Product Adoption and Brand Awareness

  • Tony’s Chocolonely has been voted by Dutch consumers as the most sustainable brand in Holland for the third time in a row.
  • Tony's Chocolonely is focused on producing and selling chocolate while closely following fair trade practices, strongly opposing slave labor and child labor, and sourcing cocoa from sustainable sources.
  • The company's tagline is in English and reads thus, "Crazy about chocolate, serious about people."
  • Its mission is “together we make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate.”
  • The brand's sustainability reputation began in 2002 when Teun van de Keuken (founder of Tony's Chocolonely) took matters into his own hands by taking himself to court for knowingly purchasing an illegally manufactured product.
  • He then had a former child slave who worked in cocoa farms testify against him to strengthen his case.
  • The case was thrown out of court for being outside the judge’s jurisdiction, thus proving that no one was actually willing to step up and make the world of chocolate manufacturing an ethical place.
  • With the conviction that no chocolate manufacturer was interested in ethical practices, Teun van de Keuken decided to form his own company committed to ethical and sustainable production.
  • His first goal was to utilize slave-free cocoa, which he did with his first chocolate bar in 2005.
  • In 2007, an Amsterdam court acknowledges that Tony’s Chocolonely was made with slave-free products and labor.
  • In 2010, Dutch TV show Een Vandaag reported that the hazelnut that Tony’s Chocolonely was being harvested by children in Turkey. This made the brand immediately switch to use a Dutch hazelnut farm.
  • The company began expanding afterward and reached the United States in 2015. Today, Tony’s Chocolonely is now available worldwide with the same promise of ethically produced chocolate that it was originally founded on.
  • The name of the brand has an interesting but sad origin. Teun van de Keuken saw himself as the only person in the chocolate industry interested in eradicating slavery; that’s why he named his brand Tony’s Choco-lonely.

Brand Popularity

The Brand's Sustainability Efforts

  • Some of the company's sustainability efforts include;
    • The Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System formed by Tony’s Chocolonely
    • The child labor Duty of Care Act being championed in the Netherland senate by the company
    • Strong farmers professional cooperatives
    • Tony's Fairtrade against underaged and underpaid cocoa farm workers.
    • Reduction of the carbon emissions per bar of chocolate produced.

Zonnatura: Product Adoption and Brand Awareness

  • Zonnatura is ranked as the 7th most sustainable brand in Holland and the second, behind Tony’s Chocolonely, in terms of food brands.
  • It has two taglines, both in Dutch. They are "Biologisch dat het lekkerder" is (Organic that tastes better) and "Van nature lekkerder" (Naturally tastier).
  • Zonnatura is the leading organic brand with the widest range of 100% natural, purely plant-based food & drinks that are actively good for you.
  • Zonnatura is a sub-brand under the parent company, Ecotone (formally Wessanen Benelux), whose mission is to contribute to healthier products, healthier people, healthier planet.
  • The parent company is also B-Corp certified!
  • Zonnatura was founded in 1954 by a herbalist, Willem Smits.
  • Willem Smits was well-known for his vast knowledge of herbs and belief in nature's power and that food should be processed as little as possible.
  • The company said it has faithfully kept this philosophy for over 65 years.
  • According to the company, "with Zonnatura you only taste pure nature. With ingredients that are naturally full of flavor."
  • Zonnatura also selects ingredients based on what it does (its nutrient value). For example, Zonnatura's Nut Mix Bar provides good energy, thanks to the many nuts, while its cereals are rediscovered (ancient) grains known for their characteristic properties.

Brand Popularity

  • The brand launched a new digital campaign in 2020 dubbed, "Of course, every day is different."
  • Zonnatura is known as a brand that offers natural products. Lots of natural products. As a result, 'natural' can mean something different every day, as there are over a hundred different organic products to choose from.
  • With the new campaign, Zonnatura responds to the trend of natural, plant-based, and nutritious food.
  • The brand focuses mainly on conscious shoppers: energetic, positive women who are conscious of life.
  • The campaign, therefore, revolves around the busy life of this target group. The commercials portray this life recognizably and show that Zonnatura products fit perfectly within a natural, healthy, and dynamic lifestyle.

The Brand's Sustainability Efforts

  • The sustainability efforts of the parent brand Ecotone include;
    • Dam removal project for aqua life restoration
    • Ecological restoration through the planting of trees
    • North Branch Bennett creek stream restoration
    • Restoring Lick Run to health
    • Think Like a Mountain™ initiative.

Research Strategy

To provide examples of successful food sustainability brands in the Netherlands, we leveraged the Sustainable Brand Index™ 2020 report published by Sustainable Brand Index™, Europe's largest independent brand study on sustainability. From the list of successful food brands identified in the report, we selected brands that have provided further insights into their sustainability efforts in the public domain.
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Food Sustainability Brands: Portugal

Two successful examples of food sustainability brands that are focused on reducing food waste, reducing carbon emissions, and adopting sustainable practices throughout their product lines are Bel Portugal and Nestlé Portugal. While Bel Portugal is a market leader in branded cheese and healthy snacks sector, Nestlé Portugal is a key market player in the dairy sector. Both these companies manufacture some of the most popular consumer products in Portugal. The brands were selected based on their estimated revenues and how well their products are faring in the market.

#1 Bel Portugal

  • Bel Portugal is a market leader in branded cheese and other dairy products in the healthy snack industry in Portugal. The company has six brands under its umbrella — Terra Nostra, Limiano, Laughing Cow, Mini Babybel, Boursin, and GoGo Squeez — all of which are key market players in the country’s dairy sector. Currently, the Bel Portugal’s products are present in over 51% of the country’s households.
    • Terra Nostra: This brand offers a large variety of cheese formats, butter and milk, and prides itself in developing its products through natural processes for better taste and higher nutrient content. Terra Nostra is a green brand that promotes sustainability and naturality in terms of creating value for consumers and employees.
    • Limiano: This brand specializes in cheese and claims to be the “favorite cheese brand of the Portuguese”. Limiano has been in existence for over six decades.
    • Laughing Cow: This brand produces cheese products that rank third in the list of the most sold cheese in the country.
  • In 2019, Bel announced a new business model that was designed to transform the company’s identity and bring more focus into sustainable food and practices. With the new model, Bel is committing to “championing healthier and responsible food for all”.
  • Bel Portugal’s tagline is “For All. For Good”. According to the company’s press release, the Bel’s tagline represents its powerful dedication to improve its nutrition, responsible packaging, sustainable farming, making products more accessible, and reducing its carbon footprint.
  • Across its brands, Bel has established a production line that significantly captures its entire approach to sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
  • According to the company’s Chairman and CEO, Antoine Fiévet, the company’s Sustainable Purchasing Charter exhibits their desire to have their “suppliers adopt sustainable development principles and to prompt continuous efforts to improve the social and environmental aspects of their businesses”. Bel is also a member of the World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

#2 Nestlé Portugal

  • According to an article published in the European Supermarket Magazine, a survey conducted by Havas Media Group revealed Nestlé to be among the top ten favorite consumer brands in Portugal. The company is actively striving to reach its goal of having zero environmental impact on its operations.
  • In 2018, Nestlé announced its new sustainable vision of expanding its efforts in working towards a waste-free future. By 2025, the company is expecting to have 100% of its packaging either reusable or recyclable. To accomplish its many environmentally-friendly goals, the company established the Nestlé Institute for Packaging Sciences, which is dedicated to research, develop, innovate, and create new sustainable packaging material for its wide range of products. Currently, the institute is exploring recyclable paper with new materials and compostable polymers.
  • According to the company’s website, “Nestlé Portugal is at the forefront of the commitment”. Some of these measures include — wood pallets to stir coffee instead of plastic, replacement of plastic cups with recyclable cups in vending machines, 100% recyclable bags for packaging products in the Avanca plant, the gradual replacement of the retractable film with one made from cardboard, and 100% recyclable structures used for packaging coffee in Porto roasted coffee factory.
  • Nestlé Portugal, in December 2020, was awarded a Lean and Green Star by the country’s President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, for attaining a reduction of its CO2 emissions by 20% through the GS1 Portugal sustainability initiative.
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Food Sustainability Brands: Belgium

Food sustainability practices are of high priority to the Belgian nation. Regional and city policies are seeking to address these issues, and food brands are receiving distinctions for their sustainable commitments. Alpro, originally a soy-milk producer, now offers over 120 plant-based products to meet the growing demands in Belgium and Europe. Belvas, an organic and fair trade chocolate manufacturer, has the distinction of being the "greenest micro-enterprise in Europe" and continues to work for social and environmental sustainability.

Belgium Sustainable Eating Food Policies

  • As a country, sustainability in food is a high priority in Belgium, as seen from food sustainability policies in multiple cities and regions, as outlined below:
  • One of the first European cities to create an urban food policy was the city of Ghent in Flanders, in 2013. The policy is called, Ghent en Garde.
  • Ghent en Garde has resulted in a boom for local food, by initiating a new logistics platform for professional buyers, and supporting suburban farmers' markets.
  • Through Ghent en Garde, surplus food is distributed to people in need, helping to alleviate poverty and reduce CO2 emissions.
  • In 2019, Ghent en Garde was a winner of the United Nations Global Climate Action Award.
  • In 2015, the region of Flanders created a Food Supply Chain Roadmap on Food Loss, with the goal to reduce food losses by 15% by 2020.
  • The region of Wallonia currently has a plan focused on tackling food waste that aims to reduce losses and waste at all levels of the food chain by 30% between 2015 and 2025.
  • Flanders has created a revised food triangle, which provides dietary guidelines for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. The triangle accounts for the health of people and the planet, and encourages people to eat more plant-based foods, and not waste food.

Alpro — Enjoy Plant Power

  • Alpro was founded in Flanders in 1980 as a soy-based milk producer. The company now offers over 120 plant-based products, from beverages to yogurt, pudding and ice cream. Alpro is a leader in the European market, and was acquired by Danone in 2017. The acquisition by Danone, regular significant investments in Alpro's Belgian production, and an ever-increasing amount of plant-based products indicates the success of the company in Belgium and in Europe.
  • In 2016, Alpro was one of Flanders Investment & Trade’s "Investment of the Year Nominees" for its EUR $65 million investment in its Wevelgem's production facility, located in Flanders. The investment went towards the building of a new automated warehouse and innovation center, which aim to capitalize on the growing demand for plant-based nutritional products.
  • Alpro's success is evident from its consistent double-digit growth across the European market. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has seen sales increase by 20%.
  • 37 countries are available to choose from when first visiting the Alpro website, indicating the success of the Belgian company on a large scale outside of Belgium itself.
  • Alpro has recently invested another EUR $30 million into its sustainability mission. The company has committed to using sustainably grown soy and nuts, cutting water consumption by half, and moving toward 100%-recyclable packaging by 2025. 2/3 of the investment are going towards the Wevelgem plant in Flanders to develop ways to reuse water and for the installation of the largest water purification system in Flanders in 2021. Currently 76% of the company's packaging is recyclable, and 60% of their soybeans are grown in Europe.
  • Alpro's Belgian Facebook page currently has 1,760,631 followers.
  • Alpro's English tagline since 2012 is "Enjoy Plant Power."

Belvas — Change the World a Bite at a Time

  • Belvas is a certified organic and fair trade chocolatier founded in 2005 in Ghislenghien. Their name comes from "Bel" for Belgium, and "vas" which expresses "good for the South," reflecting their commitment to the sustainable and fair sourcing of their ingredients.
  • Belvas works with all ingredients in a "traditional way with no additives or preservatives, no coloring or artificial aroma, no flavor enhancers, hydrogenated fats and GMOs." Additionally, the company bans chemicals and only sources from organic suppliers.
  • The success of Belvas as a sustainable brand is indicated by a number of distinctions. In 2009 the company challenged itself to become the first ecological chocolate factory, and in 2011 Belvas was recognized as the “greenest micro-enterprise in Europe” by the European Commission in Warsaw, winning the EMAS award in this category. In 2012, Belvas was nominated for the Silver trophy of the Economy Network Manager Alliances in Nord-Pas de Calais region. The company also won the Horizons award Hainaut (Sustainable Development award of the Province of Hainaut).
  • 55% of Belvas sales come from distribution to organic specialized independent stores, spread throughout Europe. Belvas is now successfully sold primarily in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, and is also available in the UK and USA.
  • Belvas has 1,345 followers on their Facebook page, which it actively maintains. Fans regularly like and share the company's posts.
  • Belvas's revenue is published as USD $11.42 million, with 33 employees and four companies as part of the Belvas corporate family.
  • The company continues to receive recognition in the media as a leader working for greater social and environmental sustainability, such as by a mention in leading magazine Knack on February 19, 2021. The article mentioned Belvas alongside supermarket chain Lidl, as brands who "are setting up leading initiatives to work towards higher incomes for cocoa farmers."
  • Belvas's sustainability mission is indicated in its English tagline, "Change the World a Bite at a Time."

Research proposal:

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Sources
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From Part 04