Many people only think of sustainability in the food and beverage industry as reducing the use of plastics and finding alternative packaging materials. However, the reality is it stretches through the entire supply chain. And brands are starting to look at their processes holistically to see where they can improve operations and cut down on food waste.

Consumer Sustainability

Unilever wants to halve waste from its direct operations by 2025 and is working with suppliers and customers to reduce waste across the food chain – even hoping to tackle one of the trickiest issues, food that is wasted in the home. This could spark other brands to review their entire supply chains and commit to ambitious goals as well.

While brands have direct control over their internal processes and can take action to be more sustainable, they don’t have control of what happens to their products once it reaches the consumers’ hands. One way to address this challenge is to help educate consumers on the importance of cutting down food waste and informing them on why recycling the packaging is just as important.

Consumers don’t set out to throw away food. Rather, it is a result of chain that includes meal planning, shopping, properly storing food and consumption. Brands are trying to address this complex chain by providing resources to help educate consumers on how to more effectively meal plan, shop and store food in their homes so that it doesn’t expire and get thrown away.

Finding the Right Partners

Brands looking to help cut down on food waste are also looking at their internal processes and partners. It’s becoming more important than ever for multinational brands to work with partners who are aligned with their values and commitment to improving the supply chain.

Companies in the food and beverage industry work with partners on things like finding the right packaging for their products or transporting materials to their plants and then transporting their products from the plant to stores. So, when a brand commits to holistically becoming more sustainable, it behooves that company to find partners in those areas who are also committed to sustainable practices in their own operations.

Nowadays, consumers are more aware of companies that are committing to sustainable practices. In fact, a report from Barron’s found that consumers are willing to pay more for products that come from companies with sustainable practices. Almost 80% of North Americans want to know the origin of the products they buy, and 69% of these consumers would pay a premium for brands that provide this information, as well as pay a premium for products that use recycled materials.

With consumer buying habits further shifting to those companies with sustainable products and with consumers having a company’s sustainability information in the palms of their hands, it has become imperative for businesses to invest in sustainable best practices. And, when a company’s partners also practice sustainability, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Sustainability in Packaging

Packaging in the food and beverage industry is a perfect example of how a brand’s actions can positively or negatively impact the world from a sustainability viewpoint. Consumers can go to the store and physically hold and see the actions companies are taking to create protected, clean and sustainable packaging – all of which have become important features that have been compounded by the pandemic.

Whether it’s limiting the use of plastics or using recycled materials, packaging is often one of the first areas that companies turn to when beginning new sustainable practices. Switching from steel to aluminum packaging is one small example that can help brands improve their sustainable practices. Because aluminum is at the top of the recycling chain and can 100% recycled without there being any damages to its durability and quality, brands are starting to recognize it as an alternative to metal packaging that has traditionally been used within the industry. In fact, more than two-thirds of all aluminum ever produced in the world is still in use today, according to the Aluminum Association.

As the producer of the world’s first aluminum lug lid, we see our Aluminum Lug EEASY Lid as a solution for brands looking to become more sustainable. While traditionally used steel jar lids are recyclable, our new Aluminum Lug EEASY Lid provides brands with an option that has a higher recyclability rate, helping brands reach new levels of sustainable practices.