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3 sustainable trends in the food and beverage industry

Not only livestock produce methane gas

During COP26, one of the most important global meetings to talk about climate change and the environmental challenges facing the world, recently held in Glasgow, Scotland, more than 100 countries, including Mexico, signed a qualified agreement as historical, in which countries commit to reduce methane emissions by 30% between now and 2030.

The importance of this commitment lies in the fact that methane is a greenhouse gas that, according to the United Nations, is responsible for more than 25% of the warming we are experiencing today, in addition to having the warming potential 80 times greater than that of carbon dioxide during the 20 years after its release into the atmosphere.

Despite the fact that methane is a greenhouse gas of which many characteristics are still being discovered and that until recently it was not so much mentioned, its production is more related to man and his daily life than is thought, since that 40% of the world's methane production is due to agriculture, putting the world's food systems at direct risk, causing the future of food to be rethought and how this need is met.

With the call that exists for the public and private sector to seek viable and real solutions to climate change, coupled with the transformation facing the world, all sectors are seeking to employ the most innovative measures, and that at the same time allow to continue with your processes in a useful and profitable way.

Due to the great role that the food and beverage sector plays in the face of this change, more and more companies in the industry are implementing different technologies and knowledge to integrate the circular economy into their value chain.

Some trends that have been adopted for the production and industrial activity to be sustainable while achieving the operational objectives are:

  1. Bioconversion: According to the Meat Atlas 2021, only 20 meat and dairy companies emit more greenhouse gases than Germany, France and Great Britain combined, and several studies indicate that the trend in the consumption of meat products is It is on the rise, making it one of the most polluting sectors of the industry for this reason. For this reason, Veolia, a benchmark in the responsible management of water, energy and waste, sees bioconversion as a unique opportunity to implement an innovative solution that, in addition to saving the planet, will be able to optimize the company's economic results.

This process works by using larvae of the black soldier fly, which is a scavenger and is found all over the world and whose reproduction is extremely rapid. When the larvae dry, they become compost to fertilize the land or a protein concentrate capable of feeding livestock, thus avoiding the methane emissions produced by these animals through their feces and belching.

  1. Solar energy: A Finnish solar-powered start-up breaks down water through electrolysis in a bioreactor, this produces hydrogen to provide energy for microbes that also use carbon. These microbes then produce a substance made up of about 20-25% carbohydrates, 5-10% fat, and 65% protein. Likewise, through a natural fermentation process similar to that used to make wine or beer, without the sugar used in alcoholic fermentation, it is replaced by CO2, an element that plays a leading role in agriculture. In this way, it is possible to contribute to the reduction of GHG gases.
  1. Edible tattoos: There is a trend to replace single-use plastic packaging with direct tattoos on fruit and vegetables, which can be safely ingested. This solution could have clear benefits to the environment as well as savings in glue, plastic, paper and provides energy efficiency since it uses less than 1% of the energy necessary to produce a label.

Several countries such as Australia and New Zealand have already started to tattoo their fruit and vegetables.

To implement actions for the benefit of the planet and that at the same time stop climate change, the preservation of human life as it is known depends and doing it as soon as possible opens a possible advantage in the face of the negative effects that climate change is causing.

To discuss this and other possible solutions, Veolia opened a space for dialogue with different actors in the food and beverage sector, in which solutions can be explored and ways to turn challenges into growth opportunities can be understood.

You can participate in the International Forum "Eco Efficiencies: The Transformation of the food and beverage sector", registering for free through the following link: https://bit.ly/3CLtkBv 

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