In 2020, the Drinks Industry Sustainability index scored the strategies and practices followed by the beverage industry 4.8 out of10, stating the beverage industry was ‘’considerably behind’’.
Meanwhile, a 2021 survey conducted by Statista found that 20% of Gen-Z and 20% of Millennial participants agree that sustainability is an important consideration when buying food and beverage products in the US.
Sustainability is no longer a buzzword, or a badge to flaunt one’s environmental credentials – it is an absolute necessity. And the beverage industry is no exception. Here, FoodBev Media takes a closer look at the innovative ways in which beverage manufacturers and brands are reducing their environmental footprint.
Logistics and packaging
Nowadays, consumers have no qualms holding brands accountable for their social and sustainable impact, with many moving towards greener practices that cut carbon emissions.
Transportation (distribution and logistics) is a major contributor to these. In fact, heavy goods vehicles are responsible for approximately 25% of CO2 emissions in the EU.
I’m addition, the type of packaging used to haul goods around during transportation can impact the sustainability of a product/company. Buen Vato, for example, recently announced the launch of the “world’s first” tequila in a cardboard bottle, made from 94% recycled material, which will be lighter to transport and will reduce CO2 emissions.
The beverage industry is a huge contributor to the plastic waste problem, with only one in five plastic water bottles being recycled through the proper streams.
Back in May, UK ethical brand Honest launched the “world’s first” recycled reusable bottle. The Honest Bottle made from 100% recycled single-use bottles (rPET), while the cap is made entirely from recycled milk bottles (rHDPE).
Brands are also switching to other recyclable options. For example, Danone-owned Evian announced the launch of its “first-ever” sparkling water in recyclable aluminium cans.
Ingredients that are sourced locally not only promote sustainability but are also fresher and healthier. The farm-to-fork initiative, which first gained traction in the 2000s, aims to get as many manufacturers as possible to source produce from their local community instead of abroad.
Sourcing from local farmers and suppliers cuts the amount of CO2 generated by transportation as well as importation/exportation costs.
Companies are also increasing the nutritional profile of their products by using natural, clean label ingredients. Natural ingredients provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Givaudan recently partnered with Manus Bio to launch a natural, clean-label citrus flavor, called BioNootkatone, which can be used in a wide range of beverages. BioNootKatone uses a non-GMO sugar source and the company has described it as the most effective and sustainable natural nootkatone available on the market.
The plant-based food and beverage market is expected to reach $162 billion by 2030, up from $29.4 billion in 2020, according to a Bloomberg report.
Consumers are embracing plant-based eating and drinking, due to its health, ethical and environmental credentials.
According to The American Journal, plant-based diets are more sustainable as they use fewer natural resources and are less taxing on the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods.
Some key innovations include oat milk with added protein by Ripple Foods and Choc-o-lot with added fibre by Vita Coco. Both of these healthy drinks offer a boost of nutrition and are low in sugar. Additionally, the ingredients in these products are GMO-free and environmentally friendly.
Have you recently launched or are in the process of launching a new product or service that boasts sustainability credentials? The World Beverage Innovation Awards 2022 has the dedicated category ‘Best CSR/ Sustainability initiative’ to celebrate your contribution to a greener future!
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023