By Catherine Conway, SRA Senior Account Manager
Last week I spent a fascinating day at the WRAP Annual Conference, entitled “Resource Revolution: Creating the Future”, where a variety of speakers from the world of business and government talked about the opportunities for resource conservation – how to make the most of what we have to ensure we pass something positive onto future generations. The conference saw the launch of WRAP’s new Food Futures report and a fascinating set of discussions all stemming from the the starting point that more people with more (Western styles of) consumption and fewer resources creates a big problem and there’s no escaping this fact. As WRAP says “The reality is that we are at a crossroads, a tipping point – as the decisions that governments, businesses and we, as consumers, make today will determine how and if we can meet the demands of future generations”.
I’ve had a chance to read the Food Futures Report – which identifies 15 priority topics and wanted to share with you the five that I believe will of greatest interest to SRA Members. Here’s our Top Five:
- Alternative feeds and proteins: Global meat consumption is expected to double between 2000 and 2050. Livestock products are a major source of protein, but alternatives are needed to address this key food system challenge.
- Aquaculture expansion: Aquaculture has the potential to be a key source of sustainable protein, however some aspects of current production methods pose environmental and social risks to food businesses and local communities.
- Conscious food choices: Consumer engagement with food has been steadily increasing with sustainable, ethical and healthy choices rising in importance. In the coming decade product transparency and storytelling will play a positive role in increasing trust and will help address important consumer concerns.
- Climate risks to food chain resilience: Climate change will significantly affect the food system – for example through its impacts on agricultural yields, food prices, the reliability of supply, food quality, and food safety. Businesses will need to build resilience into their supply chains to survive these shocks.
- Scaling sustainability standards: Over the past decade, voluntary private sector standards have become the dominant means of embedding and communicating sustainability performance within food and drink supply chains. However the costs of implementation and questions over their actual impact, means new approaches are being developed.
The report also highlights three main trends:
- the increasing challenges to food system resilience
- the explosion in data enabled technology
- the alignment of health and sustainability agendas.
To respond to these challenges, future supply chains will need to be re-modelled to be flexible, intelligent, and transparent (FIT):
- Flexibility will come from a range of attributes that encourage resilience.
- Intelligence will come from businesses and policymakers investing more in understanding, communicating and managing risks.
- Greater transparency will be needed to help highlight the hidden risks that come from the complexity of modern supply chains.
All in all it was a thought-provoking day that reminded me why we do what we do at the SRA, enabling our members to see these challenges as opportunities to be part of the solution, creating the food future we want to see in the world.
Read the full report here