Trends · 4min read

Top Food Industry Trends 2021 | Transparency & Communication

Good practices and open communication are the only way forward.

In this six-part series, we explore the biggest food industry trends of 2021.

Seed-to-table, farm-to-fork—Gone are the days when consumer trust was simply a matter of smart advertising. Studies now estimate that up to 25% of consumers are concerned about the country of origin that is listed on the foods and drinks they purchase. Transparency has become so critical in our day and age, that Innova even named it its leading trend for 2021. “Transparency triumphs”, the market research institute proudly proclaimed when it announced its top 10 F&B trends at the end of 2020. 

Transparency is not only about sourcing, but the entire food’s lifecycle: Where were the ingredients grown? What are the circumstances of the people who cultivated them? How far do the ingredients and final product have to travel to get to consumers’ doorsteps? What materials are foods packaged in? What initiatives are producers and manufacturers undertaking to reduce their CO2 impact? And to mitigate climate change? The list goes on.

Transparency is a big win for organics because if you are certified organic, you will have had to trace, document and prove the answers to many of these questions to attain certification in the first place. So while conventional food farmers and manufacturers are increasingly struggling to demonstrate the (un)ethical nature of their products and practices, for most organic players, transparency is merely a question of strong communication.  And this isn’t only true for conventional versus organic foods, but also for natural versus synthetics. With health effects of artificial flavourings, colourings and sweeteners coming under increasing levels of scrutiny, more and more food manufacturers are reaching for their natural counterparts.

Thankfully, information technologies and state-of-the-art traceability systems are making this easier than ever before. Meanwhile, political pressure to combat climate change, in particular, is mounting and Union-wide efforts, such as Europe’s new Farm to Fork Strategy seek to promote transparency. As a result, the entire food industry is being driven towards more ethical, environmental and clean practices.

Read more in Trend Watch #5: Sustainability!

Imagery: (1) Warren Wong, (2) Mleks Marinkovic


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