During 2020, As the Covid-19 pandemic deepened, concerns about food supplies were growing. This has led to major changes in how some foods are produced. For example, it keeps soils healthy and stable, improves water and air quality, improves local biodiversity, increases food production in and near cities, and reduces waste.
In 2021, PepsiCo, Danone, Nestlé and Unilever (giant multinational fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies) announced that they are adopting regenerative agriculture on millions of acres of farmland. This is complemented by the growth of urban farming, with vertical farming business Infarm recently opening Europe’s largest urban farm, covering 10,000 square meters. These are important steps towards a more resilient and better food system for people and nature.
Today, we know that building food systems resilient to shocks such as pandemics is not enough. By 2023, we will redesign our food to also help solve pressing global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
For that to be possible, the entire system must be reproducible by design. This means that instead of bending nature to produce food, we need to design food so that nature thrives. In 2023, FMCG, retailers and innovators will take up the mantle and start working with farmers to build a circular food economy.
They will start choosing ingredients that are not only regeneratively produced, but also low impact, diverse, and upcycled. Instead of making, the same product can be made from a mixture of wheat and peas grown using regenerative farming methods. This could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the food industry by 70% and reduce its impact on biodiversity loss in Europe by 50%. This is very important given that our current food system is a major contributor to global biodiversity loss and accounts for one-third of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
We can already see the seeds of change growing in 2023. A Brazilian coffee producer backed by Nespresso and Renature, his Guima Café is becoming a regenerated coffee plantation, producing more types of ingredients from the same land and diversifying what it offers. Products made with upcycled ingredients hit supermarket shelves, including Renewal Mill’s dark chocolate brownie mix and Seven Brothers’ Sling It Out Stout brewed with upcycled Kellogg’s Coco His Pops. I’m in. British food company Hodmedod is looking for lesser-known, low-impact foods such as fava beans and black badger beans.
Policy makers are also taking action. For example, in the United Kingdom, a new government plan will ensure that plants and wildlife have access to clean and abundant water for services such as allowing plants and wildlife to thrive and contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. It rewards farmers and land managers for A pilot is already underway and more UK land managers will be on board in 2023.
This is just the beginning. In 2023, an innovation challenge for FMCG, retailers and food innovators will be launched. It is supported by the Citizens Postcode Lottery to market more iconic foods made with low impact, diverse, upcycled and renewably produced ingredients. The development of these products demonstrates the potential of circular food design. 2023 will mark the beginning of a redevelopment of our entire food portfolio, designed for nature to thrive.