The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

An Industry Call to Action?

An Industry Call to Action?

Shoppers and Trends

July 27, 2008

 Over 100 years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt warned of the impending threat to our future prosperity wrought by the failure to keep a check on our “appetites”.The new catch phrase today in the food industry is “sustainability”. What does it mean? Why has it taken on such great importance? 
 
A study by the marketing consulting firm The Hartman Group, shows that nearly fifty percent of consumers have really no idea what the term sustainability means. There is a great opportunity for our industry to educate our customers regarding sustainability. Coupled with this opportunity is the lack of consumer knowledge of the role that farm technology plays to help sustain the environment by improving efficiency of resources devoted to production. With the combination of population growth and upgraded purchasing power of millions of poor people, the world will have to find a way to double its food production over the next forty years. According to farm policy authority, Robert L. Thompson, PhD., “If we double food production by doubling the number of hectares we farm, it would create massive environmental damage with large scale destruction of forests, wildlife habitat and biodiversity.”
 
This really brings into question the role technology and more specifically the role of antibiotics? Is selling food like milk safer or greener because it is raised without antibiotics?
 
Food/grocery retailers are being pressed to improve their image and support of sustainability. But with most consumers lacking the fact based knowledge to make the accurate determination, we all need to be very prudent in the decisions we make regarding food production – whether it relates to health & wellness, food safety or sustainability!  Let’s all play an active role in educating our consumers so that we can continue to provide healthy, safe and abundant food.