ADM eyes eight emerging trends

Website Link (Article by Eric Schroeder)

Plant-based lifestyles, clean and transparent sourcing, and sustainable goodness are among the eight trends ADM sees fueling current and future global growth.

Drawing on research from its Outside Voice consumer insights platform, the company’s top trends for 2022 point the way for ADM’s innovation, renovation and development platforms, the company said. Many of the trends are being shaped by the coronavirus pandemic that has lingered for the past 18 months.

Consumers today continue to navigate a tumultuous environment that has uprooted every aspect of their lives,” said Brad Schwan, vice president of category marketing at ADM. “This has led forward-thinking brands to develop new solutions purpose-built to help consumers establish a sense of normality for themselves, their families and their pets. We’re seeing everything from foods, feeds and beverages that promote gut health to plant-based meat and dairy alternatives to biodegradable packaging.”

1. Balanced approach to diet and lifestyle

Heading into the new year ADM said it expects consumers to be more proactive about supporting their mind and body through a balanced approach to diet and lifestyle. The coronavirus pandemic has placed renewed interest on mental well-being, and ADM said it expects more consumers to seek effective ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Thirty-seven percent of global consumers expect the snacks they eat to improve their mental well-being, according to ADM’s Outside Voice research.

2. Plant-based lifestyles

Another continuing trend is the shift toward plant-based lifestyles. ADM’s research shows a flexitarian approach to eating has become mainstream as consumers look to functional, wholesome, plant-based nutrition to support healthy, environmentally friendlier lifestyles. Alternative proteins are likely to account for 11% of the total protein market in 2035, ADM said, driven primarily by COVID-19, which has accelerated interest in plant-based as a health-forward alternative for consumers who are paying attention to their body’s nutritional needs.

3. Gut health and overall well-being

Third, consumers are seeking foods, beverages and supplements that support gut health and overall well-being. As a result, ADM said awareness of the microbiome as central to wellness has grown over time. Data from ADM Outside Voice indicates that 58% of global consumers are aware of the potential benefits that bacteria in the digestive system can have on their overall health.

4. Clean Label

Clean label has been trending for several years and ADM said it expects clean and transparent sourcing to remain a key trend heading into 2022. Most recently, consumers have used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to place an increased emphasis on learning where their food comes from and trying to ensure the health and safety of themselves, their families, their pets and their communities. ADM said 58% of global consumers say they will be more attentive to locality claims as a result of COVID-19.

5. Better Pet Food

The humanization of pets has taken on greater significance and will continue to shape trends next year, ADM said. In fact, many consumers are transposing their purchasing values and preferences onto their pets. ADM Outside Voice found that 30% of global pet owners spent a significant amount of time researching the best food options in the last year.

6. Precise and responsible animal feeding

Precise and responsible animal feeding, and the interconnectedness of the animal product supply chain is another trend top of mind for today’s consumers, according to ADM. ADM said companies are taking steps to provide digital documentation explaining how animals are raised, particularly related to its consumption of antibiotics and/or growth hormones. Nearly half (49%) of consumers are willing to pay a premium for products with high quality assurances and verifiable safety standards, ADM noted.

7. Sustainable goodness

A seventh emerging trend is sustainable goodness. With nearly half of global consumers now more attentive to sustainability claims there has been a surge in demand for ethical production and sustainable sourcing practices — such as regenerative agriculture and carbon negative production to protect the food supply of the future, ADM said. Brands are responding by taking positions on environmental matters, aiming to reflect their commitments to increasing the sustainability of their production and distribution systems.

8. Advanced renewables and biosolutions

Finally, the importance of advanced renewables and biosolutions is coming to the forefront. ADM noted research showing 38% of global consumers are now willing to pay more for products made with sustainable materials. Additionally, conscientious consumers are paying close attention to seeking food, personal care and home care products that support the needs of their families, the environment and their local communities.


The City of Lancaster Approves 2.8 Million Square Foot High-Tech Sustainable Glass Farm

Website Link (Article by City of Lancaster)

The City of Lancaster is excited to announce that Bluehouse Greenhouse, Inc. (BHGH) is coming to the City to build a 62-acre greenhouse production facility that uses leading-edge technology to sustainably grow fruits and vegetables.

The BHGH facility will use an advanced closed loop sustainable ecosystem design to create the optimal environment for plant life, increasing quality, production, and consistency,” Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said. “This is the future of farming, and we are thrilled that Lancaster will help to foster this unique and critically needed agriculture technology.”

Greenhouse agriculture is a commercial and sustainable method of farming that has taken years of science, data, and optimization to reach its current stage. The technology was started by the Dutch after World War II, perfected over time, and adapted around the world as a better way to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. The enclosed glass and steel, climate-controlled greenhouses create the optimal growing climate for plants to thrive.

Our greenhouses will combine traditional agriculture practices with advanced technologies to grow the best tasting, highest quality produce,” said Ari Kashani, Founder of BHGH. “We are advancing agriculture to the new era; a more sustainable one. Our controlled greenhouses will produce 3,000% more yield per acre than a traditional farm, will use 90% less water, require 90% less human handling and will be free from any herbicides.”

As an example of the sustainability of greenhouse farming, a standard head of lettuce grown in the field consumes about 28 gallons of water from seed to harvest. In a greenhouse, the consumption drops to less than 2 gallons. The 62-acre BHGH Flagship facility will produce over 50 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables annually to be distributed to local and regional markets.

BHGH has worked closely with the City’s Planning Division to ensure that Lancaster’s standards for building efficient and sustainable structures were met. “The project will bring hundreds of new construction jobs to the City, as well as over 200 permanent skilled jobs,” said Ari Kashani.

Innovation, technology, sustainability, and productivity drive the City’s long-term success for supporting forward-thinking industries and has earned the city a third time win as Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation’s ‘Most Business-Friendly City.’ With an abundant source of natural light, dry manageable climates, excellent transportation linkages, and a strong, supportive local community, Lancaster is the ideal location to ensure highly productive and profitable operations. Lancaster was also strategically chosen for its proximity to a dense hyper-local population with over 24 million residents in Southern California alone.”

Today, over 60% of vine crops consumed in the United States are imported from other countries. “There’s an increasing need to replace imports with domestically grown produce,” said Kashani. California is one of the largest agricultural states in the country but increasingly faces climate and water challenges. “For agriculture to remain a dominant industry, farming practices must leverage today’s technological advances. With the future of field farming becoming ever more uncertain, greenhouse agriculture is becoming more of a necessity,” said Kashani.

This marks the beginning of an important movement that can become a model for the entire nation to build secure and self-sufficient controlled agricultural environments,” Parris said. “It’s a whole new, more efficient and sustainable way to cultivate, produce, and feed our country.”

Antelope Valley Engineering, a local design and engineering firm with deep roots in the Antelope Valley, is leading the master planning and engineering effort for this intricate agro-park development. The facility is slated to break ground in Winter 2021/2022 and plans to be in production with fruits and vegetables on the market in late Winter 2022.

About Bluehouse Greenhouse

Bluehouse Greenhouse is an ag-tech company focused on the development and operations of commercial scale, high-tech greenhouses, and energy centers to support the growing demand for high quality, sustainable and traceable fresh produce.

We are the pre-eminent supplier of high-quality, greenhouse-grown fruits and vegetables to our leading distribution partners. We provide consistent, reliable, and traceable produce year-round through the highest food safety and service levels to strengthen U.S. production and achieve food independence in a sustainable, environmentally focused way.

Our Flagship Facility will be a platform to showcase a larger plan to move a significant portion of the produce market to controlled and sustainable environments. The Company has a unique vision for the future of agriculture real-estate and is working with the world’s leading innovators and engineers on curating the most innovative Food + Energy production and distribution facility on the West Coast.

With diminishing natural resources, increasing production costs, a shortage of labor, and an increase in demand on food safety regulations, Bluehouse Greenhouse recognizes the current challenges faced by farmers and agricultural landowners alike. Our unique approach combines the values of traditional agriculture real estate + the security of today’s cutting-edge, innovative, and advanced controlled farming practices to provide our stakeholders with sustainable, high-yielding ag-tech Investments.

Bovine and ovine meat co-products valorisation opportunities: A systematic literature review

Website Link (Journal by Shirsath et. al. 2021)


  • Meat co-products can be a valuable source of biomass.
  • They can be used to produce food, feed, fibre, fuel and fertilizer.
  • They also have many high value applications, e.g. bio-medical and oleo-chemical.
  • Valorisation will require changes to industry operational and business practices.
  • The industry can address sustainability challenges through bioeconomy principles.



Everyday operations in the red meat industry generate large quantities of offal and meat co-products. These traditionally are not valued as highly as prime cuts of meat, and can represent a threat to the environment and human health, if not disposed of or processed properly.

In this way, they can represent a cost rather than a potential income stream. A requirement to sustainably feed a growing global population, and to find renewable bio-based alternatives to fossil-derived food, feed, materials and energy, provide new valorisation opportunities for such biomass.

Scope and approach

To identify such opportunities, a systematic literature review was undertaken, considering edible and inedible offal and co-products as raw materials. The initial search of academic databases identified 11,058 papers of potential relevance.

Following removal of duplicates, out of topic articles, articles for which a full-text was not available and other quality related factors, 23 review papers and 94 full research papers remained for analysis.

Key findings and conclusions

The results highlight the large variety of potential products that can be produced from meat co-products and offal, including applications in food and human nutrition, pharmaceuticals, biomedical, oleo-chemical, animal feed, pet-food and fertilizer.

Capitalising on these opportunities is likely to require demonstration and industrial-scale development, and changes to operational as well as current business practices within the industry.

However, the creation of a circular bio-economy model with positive economic, environmental, and social impacts will increasingly be required to enable the industry to address challenges relating to sustainability.

What does the future hold for advanced recycling?

Website Link (Article by Hannah Cole)

A recent report from RaboResearch suggests that the advanced recycling industry continues to expand, with a high volume of collaborations and projects being announced in 2021, and new players emerging in regions including East Asia. However, criticisms of advanced recycling are also mounting, impacting the outlook of some of the industry’s biggest companies.

In March, RaboResearch reported that there could be 140 advanced recycling plants worldwide, with a total capacity of three to four million metric tonnes, by 2025. The group’s new report, released in September, draws on its earlier predictions for the advanced recycling industry and gives some idea of how this growth may be achieved.

RaboResearch identifies a number of advanced recycling projects that have been announced in the last six months, focused on testing or rolling out new technology, securing feedstock, and investing in infrastructure solutions. This includes intentions to build more than 70 additional plants.

Announcements from companies already involved in the industry include Brightmark’s plans to put US$680 million into a plastic-to-fuel plant to treat plastic waste and PureCycle Technologies’ proposed investment of US$440 million to build a cluster location in the USA. Notably, these investments are focused on North America, a key market for advanced recycling.

Another significant announcement is TRACKCYCLE, a blockchain-enabled traceability solution for hard-to-replace plastics, supported by CirculorTotal EnergiesRecycling Technologies, and Innovate UK. The TRACKCYCLE solution is aimed at ensuring compliance with manufacturing standards at every stage of the advanced recycling process. RaboResearch adds that this announcement addresses a criticism of the industry: lack of traceability in the value chain.

Showing interest from elsewhere in the value chain, oil companies are reportedly becoming key investors in advanced recycling. Shell announced the acquisition of a 21.5% equity share in the technology provider BlueAlp, a joint venture that will potentially involve conversion units being built in the Netherlands and Singapore. Meanwhile, BP has reached a memorandum of understanding with Brightmark to explore opportunities for plants in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

According to the report, packaging convertors and feedstock suppliers are the most active parties across the value chain in speeding up the rollout of advanced recycling. RaboResearch claims this interest has grown since its last report and is likely to continue expanding. Convertors and suppliers apparently gain valuable experience from partnerships with the advanced recycling industry, as well as strategic access to chemically recycled feedstock that enables companies to meet escalating recycled content targets.

Some of the major partnerships announced by convertors and suppliers include Sealed Air’s US$5 million investment in the Closed Loop Circular Plastics Fund and two supply agreements from Berry Global, which is seeking to secure chemically recycled PP.

2021 has also seen the rise of East Asia-based companies becoming more active in the advanced recycling industry. The South Korean company SK Geo Centric has set the target of becoming the world’s largest urban oil field using plastic waste and, as part of its commitment to this goal, has made significant investments in Loop Industries, Brightmark, and PureCycle Technologies. Other companies emerging in this market include Mitsui and Kumho Petrochemical, both seeking to establish advanced recycling plants in the region.

While RaboResearch implies that these investments show increasing interest in developing advanced recycling into a large-scale and commercially viable industry, there are still many practical, financial, and economic challenges going forward.

This includes criticism from NGOs and media outlets, which have argued that the technology is still unproven, too costly and has a worse-than-advertised environmental impact, while planned investments have faced ongoing delays. Critics also claim that the technology is a greenwashing tool for companies to avoid other waste management solutions that have drawn more widespread negative attention.

Some of the biggest criticisms levied at the advanced recycling industry have come from Hindenburg Research. In one report, the research group lambasted PureCycle’s approach to funding, claiming it had not yet generated any revenue despite garnering large investments, and suggested that the company was seeking to scale up some of its advanced recycling technologies despite safety concerns being identified at the laboratory level.

In another report published in 2020, Hindenburg Research critiqued Loop Industries for similar issues with funding and revenue, and published comments from previous employees of the company that implied its technology for breaking down PET into its base chemicals to produce virgin-quality resin was “impossible”. As noted by RaboResearch, both reports resulted in significant fluctuations in the companies’ share prices – with PureCycle’s dropping by 40% on the day Hindenburgh Research’s report was published. PureCycle is also facing a class action lawsuit from investors – the results of which may have consequences for the entire industry – at the time of RaboResearch’s report.

However, even for some of the most criticised players in the industry, growth continues. As suggested by RaboResearch, the number of partnerships and investments announced in 2021 appears to show that collaboration will be key to continuing developments in the advanced recycling industry. Going forward, it is likely that companies will need to consolidate a more trustworthy image in order to attract further investments.

How Kingdom Supercultures is Using AI to Create a New Generation of Novel Ingredients

Website Link (Article by Michael Wolf)

Last week, Kingdom Supercultures, a company that assembles new novel combinations of naturally-occurring microbes into a new class of ingredients called supercultures, announced a $25 million funding round. The new funding round comes after a $3.5 million round the company raised in 2020.

Unlike many computational biology startups that have emerged in recent years, Kingdom doesn’t use precision fermentation technology or genetic engineering to build its new ingredient building blocks. Instead, the company is applying artificial intelligence and statistical analysis to analyze a massive database of existing cultures to discover new and interesting potential microbial combinations that provide new functionality, flavors, and more.

What we’re building is really trying to recapitulate what we already find in nature,” said Ravi Sheth, who sat down for the latest episode of The Spoon podcast with cofounder Kendall Dabaghi.

To do that, Kingdom has assembled what the company claims is the world’s largest biobank of cultures in the world. The goal, according to Sheth, is to create a much faster path to discovery than traditional microbiology.

It’s not dissimilar from a farmer cultivating different crops and choosing the best ones and putting them in the right places in the field and growing them and delivering them,” said Sheth. “In a very similar manner, we’re looking to nature embracing and learning from everything that natural biology has to offer. And we’re applying cutting edge kind of approaches in science and technology and computation, to then select them intentionally, really accelerate this process that we’ve already been able to do as a society.”

In a way, the company’s fusion of advanced computational techniques with culture development is largely a product of the two founders’ backgrounds. Dabaghi co-founded a cybersecurity firm in the early 2010s which used advanced computational technology to scan websites for security vulnerabilities. Sheth was on a more traditional microbiology academic track, pursuing his Ph.D. with aspirations to become a professor. However, the two met at Columbia University and, after working on different research projects in the area of microbiome, started to discuss ways to work together.

I knew that I very much wanted to try to build a skill set that was at the intersection of both computation and microbiology,” said Dabaghi. “Which I think is reflected also in Ravi’s background and the way that we think as a company, which is that we don’t want to repeat a lot of the manual microbiology approaches that have been that have been like the primary focus of industry for the last like 50 years, but instead to use all of these new advances in computation, artificial intelligence, different statistical approaches to basically then be able to scan through all these microbes in different potential combinations and a much more efficient manner.”

You can hear my full conversation with the cofounders of Kingdom Supercultures on the latest episode of The Spoon podcast. Link

How packaging influences shopper’s perception of health

Website Link (Article by Nikki Hancocks)

New research provides insights into which elements of packaging have the biggest impact on the consumer’s perception of product healthiness, and how the demographics of the consumer will impact these perceptions.

Packaging plays a key role in impulse purchases and a key issue for companies developing functional foods is to be able to use the short purchasing decision situation to show the customer the benefits of the product, including its health benefits. Assessing the impact on health is a particularly difficult task for the consumer.

Previous research tells us consumers tend to use extrinsic characteristics​ as an indicator of product quality as well as perceived healthiness​ and they have to rely on these factors in a shopping environment. 

The aim of the current research, from the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, therefore was to examine which extrinsic features – shape, colour, health claims, ingredient claims, and domestic origin – result in a product that most plausibly shows the consumer that it has a beneficial impact on health. 

The team also aimed to assess the differences between consumer groups in terms of their perception of health impacts. 

Claims, colours and shape

The data collection methodology was an online consumer survey, which yielded 633 respondents via the university’s social media interface, between November and December 2020. 

Using images of a ready-to-drink smoothie product, respondents were shown two variations of the packaging, from which they could choose one that they felt looked most healthy. A total of 16 combinations were shown.

The team found that the claim “26 g protein per portion” increased the degree of credibility by 1.3 times, and the claim “rich in vitamin C” by 1.6 times, and the claim “with natural ingredients” doubled it compared to not displaying such a claim.Not all examined claims showed a significant effect – the use of ingredient claims makes the health effect more credible than health claims. Whereas the applied nutritional claim (“Contains no added sugar”) contributed to a more authentic demonstrations of the health benefits of the product, the effect of the examined health claim was not significant. When displaying this nutritional claim on the packaging, consumers were 1.7 times more likely to consider it beneficial to health.

Examining shape, the team concluded that using a column shape is the most advantageous, while there is no significant difference between the assessment of the health effect of the round and humanoid shape.

Their results indicate that if the manufacturer uses the column shape instead of the humanoid shape (hourglass type figure), consumers are 1.4 times more likely to assess the product as beneficial to their health.

Their results also suggests that if the manufacturer uses the colour white-blue instead of white-red as the emphasised colour of the packaging, it is four times as likely that the consumer will consider the product to be beneficial to their health.

They also found the consumer is nearly twice as likely to assess a white-green-packaged functional smoothie to be beneficial to health compared to a white-red one.

Results indicated a statement of domestic origin makes the health benefits of a product more credible. A functional smoothie with an indication of domestic origin on the packaging was nearly twice as likely to be perceived by the consumer as beneficial to health than a product without such an indication.

Based on the results, the product combination considered to be the healthiest was the one that was organic, white-blue in colour, included the statement “with natural ingredients”, an indication of domestic origin, a nutritional claim, and was square shaped.

Consumer demographics

The gender of the respondent influenced the assessment for two of the six attributes. Women assessed the health impact even more credible than men if column packaging was used instead of humanoid, and women also ascribed greater importance to the statements “Rich in vitamin C” and “With natural ingredients”. 

Respondents under the age of 36 were more likely to believe the health benefits of a smoothie containing either a nutritional claim or a health claim, than were the older age group.

Education played an important role in the case of two ingredient claims and packaging shape. Respondents with a higher education judged the claims “With natural ingredients” and “26 g protein per portion” more useful when assessing the impact on health, compared to those with a lower education.

On the other hand, respondents with a higher education were less likely to believe that a product with a round shape packaging was beneficial to health compared to humanoid shaped packaging.

Consumers with a higher general health interest were less likely to believe that an organic product was beneficial to health. Furthermore, those with a higher food involvement level were more likely to consider an organic functional smoothie beneficial to their health, compared to the less involved.

Those with a higher general health interest also assessed the shape differently: they considered a humanoid shape less credible than a product with a round shape.

The authors conclude: “Consumers are most likely to believe that product is beneficial to their health if it is primarily white and blue, organic and contains an ingredient claim. These are followed to a lesser extent by the indication of domestic origin and the nutritional claim, and least influenced by the form of the packaging. 

“However, we found that in the perception of health effect even the shape that resembled the humanoid shape differed significantly from the columnar shape. In addition, we consider it an important part of our results to point out that while health claims do not significantly affect the credibility of the health effect, nutritional claims do. The smoothie with the simplest packaging was the least likely to be perceived by respondents as having health benefits. This means that consumers were least likely to believe that the packaging was beneficial to health if it was red-white, not organic, did not contain any ingredient claims or health claims, did not have a domestic origin label and was angular in shape.

“In the functional food market, a significant proportion of products are withdrawn by companies shortly after launch. The results of our research may help manufacturers to create and present packaging in a combination that consumers are more likely to believe has positive health benefits. 

“Although our research results have shown which features contribute the most to making the consumer believe that a product has a beneficial effect on health, the question arises whether the combined use of so much information would be good corporate practice. It is possible that packaging with much less information more effectively presents the healthiness of the product to the consumer. Further research may aim to gauge how much information a manufacturer should use on the packaging to convey a sufficiently credible effect on health to the consumer.”

The authors note that a big advantage of online sampling is time- and cost-effectiveness but it also involves drawbacks, such as lower response rate or non-representative samples. They also note that the distribution of the respondents in this research was biased in several respects, such as the respondents’ education and gender.

Source: ​ “I Believe It Is Healthy—Impact of Extrinsic Product Attributes in Demonstrating Healthiness of Functional Food Products” (2021)​

How to avoid the greenwashing trap

Website Link (Article by Oliver Morrison)

New reviews on misleading claims in early 2022 will pressure companies to provide concrete evidence of their sustainability credentials in an increasingly green-focused and consumer-led market. What does this new regulation mean for brands? Caroline Greenwell, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm, weighs in.

With more shoppers and investors than ever considering the environmental impact of food and beverage products, authorities are upping the ante against potentially misleading environmental claims from businesses. The UK’s Environment Agency has announced a project to standardise metrics to measure the environmental performance of the food and drink sector. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority also recently published a ‘Green Claims Code’ to help companies ensure their environmental claims do not deceive their customers.

But a shortage of guidance is currently one of the biggest challenges for food and drink producers at the moment, believes Caroline Greenwell, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm. ‘At the moment it’s a case of watching this space and working with the existing guidance’. Caroline Greenwell, Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys.

“We welcome the work the Environment Agency is currently doing to try to standardise metrics for environmental performance in the food and drinks sector,” ​she told FoodNavigator. “It is hoped this will help genuinely encourage eco-friendly firms to publicise their green credentials and incentivise other firms towards greener manufacturing processes. Further international collaboration may come as a result of the upcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow. But at the moment it’s a case of watching this space and working with the existing guidance.” 

The current guidance is very much in its infancy, with greenwashing only recently being taken seriously by the regulators, she added. “Our expectation is that the guidance and rules will become more detailed over time.”​The CMA’s code, for example, was published following extensive consultation​​ with businesses. Nestle strongly welcomed the guidance. But it wants further direction on what is meant by “implicit” versus “explicit” environmental claims. “This concept remains vague and its scope is unclear, which would make it difficult for businesses to identify and address,” ​ it said, asking: “Could a product that depicts the natural world or animals be considered implicitly indicating environmental credentials?”

According to Greenwell, this question touches on a very important point: that the guidance is very nuanced. Brands are understandably anxious about what might constitute implicit environmental claims which could inadvertently come under criticism, she told us. “Our view is that producers should always err on the side of caution and consider what impression a consumer could take from an image or other depiction in designing their marketing materials. The CMA Green Code makes clear that this includes claims in advertising, marketing material, branding (including business and trading names), on packaging or in other information provided to consumers.”

Caution pays 

Producers should also now be cautious of using broad terms like “environmentally friendly”, “eco” or “sustainable”. This is where many companies are falling foul of the rules and the CMA have reinforced this message in their current guidance.

“Broader, more general or absolute claims are much more likely to be inaccurate and to mislead,”​ warned Greenwell. “Terms like ‘green’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco-friendly,’ especially if used without explanation, are likely to be seen as suggesting that a product, service, process, brand or business as a whole has a positive environmental impact, or at least no adverse impact. Unless a business can prove that, it risks falling short of its legal obligations.”

The ASA has published some principles which are helpful in this area and which food and drink producers should be aware of. They should:

  • explain the basis of environmental claims and qualify claims where necessary;
  • ensure the meaning of the terms they use are clear to consumers;
  • hold robust evidence for claims and comparisons;
  • use a ‘cradle to grave’ assessment when considering a product or service’s environmental impact and base claims on the full lifecycle impact, or otherwise explain clearly the lifecycle limits of the claim; and
  • not mislead consumers about the environmental benefit of a product or service

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have also compiled a list of principles, which are broadly similar to the ASA list. Claims must:

  • be truthful and accurate;
  • be clear and unambiguous;
  • not omit or hide important information;
  • compare goods or services in a fair and meaningful way;
  • consider the full life cycle of the product; and
  • be substantiated.

Why a vacuum of guidance means firms risk falling foul of the rules 

One area where the rules will become more detailed over time concerns carbon neutral claims. For example, it might be confusing to consumers if they see a ‘carbon neutral’ label on a product that might have achieved this via offsetting, a practice which many don’t believe is truly transparent.

Consumers might therefore think a product is better on these grounds without having the appreciation that another company might be committed to a slower but more robust carbon-reduction strategy without offsetting.

Greenwell recommends producers should refer back to the principles as outlined by the CMA and ASA, but admitted we are in ‘something of a vacuum of guidance, particularly of a ‘uniform and global nature’.

For example, how easy it is to make truly carbon neutral claims after considering the whole lifecycle of a product? The likelihood is those who make such claims – similar to generic claims such as ‘environmentally friendly’ – may well find themselves in hot water with any applicable regulator, Greenwell warned. “We sympathise with businesses at the moment who are having to deal with this complex area without detailed guidance covering every scenario. Adherence to the core principles and the exercise of a conservative approach towards claims while this situation subsists should ensure that companies don’t inadvertently fall foul out of the rules.”

Another challenge for food and drinks producers is complying with the rules in multiple jurisdictions, particularly as there aren’t any internationally agreed standards. “Some countries such as the UK and the US are more active in this space than others, but globally such regulations are very much in their infancy,”​ Greenwell observed. “Producers will therefore have to keep on top of the evolving regulatory landscape in multiple jurisdictions to ensure they don’t fall foul of any future regulations.”

An example of a food producer falling foul of the regulators in the UK is meal kit subscription service Gousto. The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) last year found it had made false claims about its packaging on a number of blog posts in which they claimed its Eco Chill Box was “100% plastic fee and recyclable”.

This case was particularly interesting, Greenwell noted, because it concerned blog posts as opposed to branding and packaging. “So we would urge businesses to pay as much attention to their social media marketing as their more traditional marketing collateral.”

Gousto has since looked to pioneer eco-labelling to help customers to make more environmentally conscious dinner choices​.  

The end of greenwashing? Or more opportunities for some firms to deceive customers? 

Greenwell further cautioned that ‘genuinely eco-friendly firms’ are ‘probably’ going to struggle to get the recognition they deserve given the scepticism that is emerging of brands’ green claims as a result of greenwashing.

“Ultimately the focus is on weeding out those who are presenting misleading claims, rather than seeking to validate the claims of those who are genuinely accurate,”​ she said. “One would hope that with enough reporting and calling out of the misleading claims, consumers will be in a position to make their own, informed choices and those eco-friendly companies will be rewarded for their genuine environmental commitment through consumer loyalty and increased revenue.”

The use of soluble gas stabilization technology on food – A review

Website Link (Article by Esmaeilian et. al. 2021)


  • Consumer demand for minimally processed foods is rising.
  • Thermal and non-thermal methods tend to reduce food quality for extending shelf life.
  • Soluble gas stabilization technology improves conventional food treatments efficacy.
  • Soluble gas stabilization combined with conventional food treatments is reviewed.



Increasing the shelf life of perishable food products contributes to lower food waste and the possibility of widening distribution outreach in the food value chain.

Soluble gas stabilization (SGS) technology is a pre-step process of dissolving carbon dioxide (CO2) into the product before packaging. This technology shows promising results on the lab-scale to limit microbial growth and other deteriorating mechanisms in food products.

Scope and approach

This review aims to gather available research results on the effects of combining SGS technology or dissolved CO2 with thermal and non-thermal processing technologies. The effects are structured according to the microbiological shelf life and safety as well as food quality parameters such as texture, color, drip losslipid oxidation, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) degradation.

This paper reviews the SGS effects alone and in combination with conventional food treatments on the parameters mentioned above.

Key findings and conclusions

Improving thermal and non-thermal technologies efficacy meets the demand for better food quality while being more economically feasible. Combining dissolved CO2 with these treatments, as hurdle technology, considerably enhances the bacteriostatic effect of the treatments, mostly without compromising the product quality.

However, it is highly dependent on the product kind, treatment method, experiment protocol, and composition and concentration of the product microbiota.

Moreover, the extent of positive synergistic effects could be promoted by addressing specific problems such as gas layer formation during sous vide treatment.

This paper provides a better understanding of the SGS effectiveness, performing beside conventional food processing technologies, for the full-scale implementation of the technology.

Consumers demand more choice and innovation in low and no alcohol drinks

Website Link (Article by Rachel Arthur)

Despite the growth of the low and no alcohol category, only a third of consumers say they are satisfied with current products on the market, according to a new survey. So what can be done to improve them?

Research carried out by flavour and fragrance company Givaudan across 6,000 European consumers shows that 60% of alcohol drinkers in Europe are reducing their consumption.

The key drivers behind this ‘mindful drinking’ trend include improving general wellbeing (38%) saving money (33%) and improving physical fitness (31%).

Consumers seek out low/no alcohol products across three key occasions: low-key moments of the day (often at home, like reading outdoors or taking a bath); moments of casual conversation (such as over food, like a dinner party); and upbeat times shared with others (a night out with friends).

And yet despite this demand and the size of the opportunity, only a third of respondents in the survey said they were satisfied with current products on the market, suggesting greater innovation in the space is desperately needed. Specific issues were found with the taste of products (35% identified this as an area for improvement) and lack of depth (29%), while 24% of respondents said products weren’t easily available.

Meet the occasion

The most important thing to bear in mind when seeking to improve products is not to expect a one-size-fits-all answer, warns Igor Parshin, Givaudan’s Regional Category Manager for Beverages.

The company’s survey makes it evident the category is catering for a wide range of consumers, desires and occasions – so it follows that innovations should be targeted towards sub-groups accordingly. 

Types of consumer and drinking occasion

Givaudan’s research groups mindful drinkers into 5 categories with different attitudes towards moderation:

  • ‘wellness warriors’ (seeking good health)
  • ‘balanced hedonists’ (seeking fun)
  • ‘self-control strivers’ (seeking control)
  • ‘cautious conformer’ (seeking value and belonging)
  • ‘pragmatic moderates’ (avoiding alcohol)

“It very much depends upon the consumer profile and the occasion, with a different focus in terms of ingredients, value, and taste directions required for each,”​ he told us.

“What is clear is that one size doesn’t fit all consumers or occasions, and this creates great opportunities for drinks manufacturers to develop alternatives that are targeted at special moments or specific consumer profiles.

“For example, top notes such as citrus create zingy excitement, berry notes are associated with fun, sociability and indulgence and elements such as hops and botanical extracts can add complexity, sophistication and authenticity to the taste.

“Mouthfeel and visual appeal are also important and creating the right look and drinking experience is key to creating a more satisfying and mindful moment for consumers.”

Innovations also need to go beyond the liquid itself, he continues.

“This is also quite a new category, and our research has also shown that creating the right experience and ritual is important for each drink and moment. 

“We look at whether products are more suitable for home consumption or a bar or restaurant as well as serving suggestions for consumers and what to mix with a drink, to create different experiences. 

“This is another key contributor to the overall experience of the drink and its ultimate success.”

Listen to what consumers want

Over in the beer category, Theo Wijsman, Product Application Expert Beverage, DSM Food Specialties agrees that it’s about focusing in on specific needs and desires of consumers.

With beer, the main health and wellness concern focuses on the effect beer consumption has on the waistline.

Another consumer trend within the no and low beer category he suggests brands tap into is the popularity of low and free-from gluten beers – according to its research, just over half of beer drinkers worldwide said they found a gluten-free claim appealing.

In response, DSM has been looking at how to formulate good tasting alcohol-free beers without gluten – specific protease enzymes can be used to help break down gluten chains in beers made with grains such as wheat, rye and barley. “The enzyme has no impact on the beer taste, foam or quality, enabling brewers to create gluten-free products without compromising on consumer experience.”

He also identifies the ideas of sustainable low and no calorie consumers as those gaining traction with consumers, particularly those that use locally available raw materials. “Using adjunct brewing solutions like Brewers Compass can provide the enzymes that are usually developed by malting barley and are needed to complement the enzymes naturally present in the crop. This reduces the need for imported malt and enables the use of a wide variety of locally available raw materials, supporting the local circular economy while also reducing costs and enabling greater flexibility in recipe formulation.”

What will tomorrow’s consumer be looking for?

Health and wellness will continue to drive the category over the next two years, predicts Parshin of Givaudan, while the concepts of creativity and experience will become more important.

“Consumers are increasingly seeking delicious drinks that do good for mind and body; 38% of consumers questioned in our research report choosing lo- and no-alcohol options to help improve their health and well-being. 

“This was the top answer in response to this question and we believe this will continue to be one of the main drivers behind consumers choosing low- and no- options in years ahead.

Low- and no-alcohol beer represents the biggest opportunity in low- and no-alcohol drinks (5% of the total beer market in 2020). In 2020 it is estimated at a total value of €5.7bn ($6.63bn) in Western Europe and is forecasted to grow to €8.1bn ($9.42bn) by 2025.

However, other emerging categories including low- and no-alcohol spirits, liqueurs, and aperitifs are catching up.

“With 30% of consumers saying they have been attempting to get more creative in the kitchen over the last 18 months a key trend is consumers looking to mix their own drinks at home. 

Home cocktails have become very popular, and consumers are looking for the option to mix drinks with new flavour combinations, giving them more control over the ingredients and an activity to focus on. 

“This trend toward wanting to create a unique and enjoyable drink at home will be a key factor in shaping the products that are created in future.

“Finally, getting the right experience, taste and format to complement life’s important moments – whether that is relaxing in the evening after work, or going out to a party, or a moment of connection with friends and family – is a big factor in consumer choice. As our research shows, each occasion calls for a different blend of tastes. As the way we socialise and choose to relax continues to evolve, new drinks will be created to complement these.” 

Wijsman of DSM says consumers will pay more attention to ingredients as time goes along – the company’s research shows 40% of consumers want to pay more attention to beer ingredients.

“Alongside this, ready-to-drink products that feature better-for-you claims are expected to accelerate in popularity, as consumers embrace ‘transformative’ beverages with new, exciting tastes. Hard seltzers, for example, which are low in calories and alcohol compared to spirits, provide an appealing option for today’s ‘sober curious’ consumers and have seen a wave of new product launches.” 

Collection – the foundation for flexible packaging’s circular economy

Website Link (Article by Packagingeurope)

Collecting flexible packaging is key for a circular economy because it sources the feedstock for future sustainable products and CEFLEX, an industry-led project, thinks minor adjustments to Europe’s existing waste systems can help send more of these soft plastics where they need to go.

Around 26 million tonnes of plastic waste are generated in Europe each year with just under a third of that collected for recycling – it’s even less for flexible packaging where around 17% is transformed into a new raw material.

Most flexible packaging in Europe is collected through the residual general waste stream, but only some of it is captured in separate collection schemes,” said Michael Minch-Dixon, who works on collection at the Circular Economy for Flexible Packaging (CEFLEX) project, a collaboration of over 170 European companies, associations and organizations representing the entire value chain of flexible packaging.

We estimate that about 5.6 million tonnes per year of consumer flexible packaging is placed on the market. This includes plastic, paper and aluminum. Approximately 60% of this is mono material packaging to be sorted into recycling streams. These significant volumes of material need to be collected for sorting as we move to the circular economy – and collection is the key point where it moves from the consumer into a formal waste collection system” says Michael.

In a recent position statement, CEFLEX stakeholders agreed that 100% of flexible packaging must be targeted for collection and sorting, including on-the-go packaging. ‘Separate collection of flexible packaging at source is preferred or alternatively combined with other packaging, including rigid plastics, metal and beverage cartons’ states the position.

Waste needs to be made available for sorting in a way that maximizes recycling and material returned to the economy. Separately collected material tends to be easier to sort, cheaper to recycle and helps maximize quality” adds Minch-Dixon. “We need to make this easy, convenient and effective for consumers and sorters with a recognizable and harmonized approach across Europe.” Michael continues to explain there are also higher participation rates from society when there is kerbside collection, rather than a drop-off system.

Another element that should be harmonized according to CEFLEX is that paper and plastic flexible packaging is not collected together. “Whilst these two materials can, and are, sorted together, experience shows that it’s not easy and the contamination levels of both the paper and plastic bales are higher where sorting plants processes these together,” Michael says. 

A relatively ‘quick win’ to boost circularity?

Separate collection can and is happening – and  it doesn’t have to cost the Earth, as the systems are broadly already in place,” states Michael. According to CEFLEX, consumer flexible packaging is being separately collected in at least 18 EU countries and post sorting of municipal solid waste is extending the quantity of material targeted for sorting in key countries.

An entire spectrum of collection strategies, like deposit schemes for bottles for example, deployed across Europe exist and provide opportunities to collect more, better. But Michael believes scaling up separate collection would see Europe “make significant strides towards circularity” of flexible packaging with only minor adjustments to existing infrastructure and investment.

In Belgium, 95% of all household packaging was collected in 2020 through Fost Plus. Their ‘New Blue Bag’ of PMD mixed recyclables collected an additional 90,000 tonnes of extra packaging annually that, until recently, still ended up in the residual waste. An average of 8 kilograms of additional PMD is now collected per person.

Even when flexible packaging is not separately collected meaningful progress can be made. “In countries like Spain and The Netherlands there are examples of wind sifters and other sorting equipment being used to extract plastic packaging from the waste stream going into incinerators. This enables the incinerator to process greater volumes of material and also an opportunity for the packaging to re-enter the circular economy. Material can then go into a sorting plant and be baled into relevant fractions,” he outlines.

We have the understanding of the technologies, and they are operating at scale, so we just have to replicate best practice,” said Michael. “What we need to do is work on the business case for circularity on a national basis because each country has a different collection strategy.”

Putting the pieces into practice

CEFLEX suggests that collection systems have good potential to evolve – relatively quickly and easily compared to other end of life systems – to give far more access to raw materials for sorting and recycling.  For example, CEFLEX’s recommendations would not require a new fleet of trucks to start doing additional rounds or introducing dedicated containers and end collecting flexibles and paper together.

Separate collection scheme costs vary, but recent analysis by Suez commissioned by CEFLEX looked at real world data and put the cost of collection between €100–250 per tonne and a CO2e footprint of between 30–50kg CO2 per tonne in northern European countries.  

The main economic challenge facing widespread adoption of separate collection is found further up the value chain, where sorting and recycling facilities need the right infrastructure to incentivize the right collection of flexible packaging.

CEFLEX hopes their economic analysis and position paper can generate greater investor confidence in the right circular solutions. “The economics for recycling of flexible packaging is, by and large, not there yet. For example, if you want to sort out a non-LDPE (low-density polyethylene) flexible packaging and create a mixed plastic bale, you’re going to have to pay at least €200 a tonne,” Michael said. “But economic opportunities and environmental benefits are within reach; and a range of political and market forces are giving added momentum to the circular economy of flexible packaging.”

One systemic piece of the puzzle is Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). “Recycling flexible packaging needs the support of EPR schemes to bridge the difference between returning materials to the circular economy and what people are currently willing to pay for these products. Evolving the EPR system to incentivize better design as well as drive better sorting. Sorted bales currently have a wide range of values from +100 euro for very high-quality bales of municipally collected waste to -200€ for mixed plastics,” outlines Minch-Dixon.

But the bottom line is: if it isn’t collected, then we cannot make progress throughout the system. As we move to circularity and more ambitious recycling targets, there’s an additional incentive to put more thought into the collection, sorting and recycling of flexible packaging.”

Out of these three steps, we can and should be making light work of progress through separate collection to capture resources in the best way possible,” says Michael.