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  • Writer's pictureRayki Goh, MSc

Can Technology Reshape the Food and Beverage Industry and Save the Planet?

Did you know that the food industry's carbon footprint accounts for a significant portion of global emissions, or that transitioning to local sourcing could slash these impacts dramatically? How can we, as consumers, influence this pivotal change?

Can Technology Reshape the Food and Beverage Industry and Save the Planet?

Dear Food People,

 

Did you know the food we choose can significantly impact the planet? This week, we unravel the intricate web of factors affecting sustainability in the food and beverage industry. From tackling climate change to ensuring ethical sourcing within complex supply chains, it's clear we're facing big issues that demand a more nuanced approach than simply picking the cheapest dish on the menu. The real cost behind the dish is more than what we actually pay for.

 

Take climate change, for instance. It’s not just a distant threat—it’s affecting everything from water availability to crop yields, shaking up how we do business. And speaking of business, keeping track of products as they journey through global supply chains is like trying to solve a puzzle with pieces scattered across the globe. That’s where transparency comes in, with technologies like blockchain leading the charge to keep things above board.

 

Consumers are also pushing for change, and it's not just about what's happening behind the scenes. We're more health-conscious, ethically minded, and sustainability-savvy than ever before. Our choices matter, and as consumers, it takes more than just choosing local produce over an overseas import for our meals. Businesses are feeling the heat to step up their game, not just to keep up with trends but to survive.

 

Amidst the challenges, technology is playing a vital role in enhancing the transparency of food supply chains and streamlining processes. The shift towards local sourcing is not just about accessing fresher produce but also about fostering resilience and reducing environmental impact. Localising supply chains can help companies prepare for unexpected risks, such as climate change and trade policies, by reducing dependence on distant suppliers and minimising disruptions caused by geopolitical events or natural disasters. Prioritising local sourcing can lead to reduced transportation distances, lower carbon emissions, support for local economies, job creation, and community resilience. It also fosters innovation, enhances product quality, and strengthens relationships with suppliers. While there are challenges and costs associated with local sourcing, the benefits in terms of sustainability, resilience, and community impact make it a compelling strategy for businesses looking to build a more resilient and environmentally friendly supply chain.

 

And let’s not forget about the power of our voices. Social media has turned us from passive buyers into vocal advocates. Companies are listening, and they’re starting to change their ways to meet our demands for sustainability.

 

Let's consider the broader implications of our everyday choices, specifically focusing on the realms of food consumption and support for businesses. When we talk about hitting up the farmers' market, we're not just advocating for a fun weekend activity. We're talking about a conscious decision to support local agriculture. This choice has layers of benefits: it reduces the carbon footprint associated with long-distance food transportation, supports the local economy, and often results in fresher, more nutritious produce.

 

Supporting businesses with transparent sourcing extends beyond just food. This could apply to non-food supplies that the F&B industry uses daily. Companies practicing transparency in sourcing openly disclose where and how their products are made, including the labour practices involved and the environmental impact. By choosing to support these businesses, consumers are advocating for ethical practices across industries. It's a stand against exploitative labour and environmental degradation, as well as a vote for sustainability and accountability.

 

But why is this hard to understand or implement? Often, the connection between our individual actions and their broader impacts feels abstract. The immediacy of convenience can overshadow the unseen consequences of our choices. Furthermore, the complexity of supply chains and the lack of transparency in many industries make it difficult for consumers to fully understand the implications of their purchases.

 

Yet, through education and engagement, understanding and action are possible. By asking questions, seeking out information, and making conscious choices, individuals can influence market demand and push for systemic change. It's about recognising the power of collective action. While an individual's decisions may appear insignificant on their own, when combined with millions of others, they have the power to drive substantial changes in market trends and business practices.

 

Advocacy is crucial too. Speaking up for sustainability, whether it’s at the local level or on a broader scale, can drive real change. Whether it’s choosing products with eco-labels or opting for locally made goods, we’re shaping the future of the industry with every pound we spend. And hey, if you have any insights or suggestions regarding how we can address environmental or food sustainability concerns, or if there's a specific topic you'd like us to explore in our next issue, drop us a message at dearfoodpeople.com.


 

Further Reading:

  1. SAP Insights. (n.d.). For Resilient Supply Chains, Think Local. Available at: https://www.sap.com/insights/viewpoints/for-resilient-supply-chains-think-local.html

  2. Denny. (n.d.). Support Locally, Source Sustainably! Prioritize Local Sourcing for a Greener Future! [LinkedIn post]. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/support-locally-source-sustainably-prioritize-local-sourcing-denny

  3. Utilities One. (n.d.). Embracing local sourcing Supporting sustainable economies through building materials. Available at: https://utilitiesone.com/embracing-local-sourcing-supporting-sustainable-economies-through-building-materials

  4. UNA. (n.d.). Social License | Using Local Sourcing to Foster Relationships. Available at: https://una.com/resources/article/why-local-sourcing-is-the-best-way-to-build-social-license/

  5. Ernst & Young LLP (EY). (n.d.). How diverse sourcing can create more resilient supply chains. Available at: https://www.ey.com/en_us/supply-chain/how-diverse-sourcing-can-create-more-resilient-supply-chains


 

The information provided in our articles is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The content on our website, including articles, is not meant to endorse or promote any specific medical treatments, products, or procedures. The information provided is based on general knowledge and research at the time of writing. Medical practices and knowledge are constantly evolving, and what may have been accurate at the time of publication may not be current or applicable today.

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