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Sustainability in the food & beverage industry


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In addition to Clean Label and the great health boom, the wave of more sustainability in the food and beverage industry has also spilled over. If you follow these developments, you will make your products more sustainable - and thus more successful.

The times when we thought we could handle our planet recklessly are long gone. Almost every day, news reports about environmental natural disasters are reaching us via the media, and there are repeated scandals about employment in inhuman conditions in developing countries. Organizations, private initiatives, influencers and bloggers are publicly campaigning for the protection of the earth and its disadvantaged residents.


Sustainability becomes a mainstream demand

The demand for sustainability is no longer a trend today, it has become mainstream. Already 53 percent of Americans prefer to buy products that are environmentally friendly. Twenty-four percent of consumers in Spain say they are paying more attention to how a product affects the environment. Even 65 percent of UK consumers try to live up to higher ethical standards than the year before.
Source: Lightspeed/Mintel in „Sustain Juice Sales through sustainability“, Julia Buech 2018

Only five percent of the newly launched juices were positioned as environmentally friendly

In Brazil, an area directly affected by rainforest deforestation, drink-related environmental protection is a hot topic: 35 percent of Brazilian consumers say they would pay more for juices when environmentally friendly production methods are used. It is not without reason that Mintel highlights the global food & drink trend "Evergreen Consumption" in 2019. In fact, in 2018, only five percent of the launched juices were declared as environmentally friendly.

Source: Lightspeed/Mintel in „Sustain Juice Sales through sustainability“, Julia Buech 2018

According to the Rainforest Alliance, agriculture accounts for 80 percent of deforestation. "While fruit production plays a minor role compared to livestock and soya, juice brands can be part of the solution by focusing on sustainable sourcing," Mintel says.

Source: Lightspeed/Mintel in „Sustain Juice Sales through sustainability“, Julia Buech 2018

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Sustainable Business: Handling Resources

However, the subject of environmental protection in the beverage industry covers a much broader spectrum: In addition to the regional cultivation of raw materials, which ensures short transport routes and also strengthens agriculture, the focus is on the use of resources: Producing companies ask themselves how to irrigate the crops and whether to use water well systems. The energy supply for production also plays an increasingly important role.

Sustainability is far-reaching in cultivation and production. In addition to considerations on environmental protection and ethics, it also meets consumers' demands for natural products and ingredients: How responsible are sprays and pesticides handled? Are fruit and vegetables grown organically? Are animals kept appropriately? Where are additional raw materials purchased?


Plastic: Much less is more

Relevant especially for the beverage industry is the choice of packaging. The order of the day is to avoid waste as much as possible - on the one hand in production, on the other hand among the consumers themselves. In the UK, 2.2 million tonnes of plastic from packaging landed in the garbage in 2014, with 27% of consumers in the UK already avoiding packaging that is not environmentally friendly. Environmental protection is particularly important to the youth: 32 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds avoid products with environmentally harmful packaging.

When it comes to production, companies now literally win if they also reduce waste during production. By 2030, the EU has set itself the goal of halving the amount of food waste.

Source: Lightspeed/Mintel, „The Global Picture of Sustainability“, Mintel 2018

AUSTRIA JUICE focuses on sustainability

At AUSTRIA JUICE sustainability is the balance between economy, ecology and social issues. Sustainability is a priority at all levels: In the context of sustainable development, AUSTRIA JUICE, as a processor of fruit for the food and beverage industry, contributes to achieving some of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals. The raw material utilization takes place in a unique production almost completely in the main and by-products. In the production, among other things, the water already contained in the apples is used to further reduce the fresh water requirement of the processes.

As a member of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI), AUSTRIA JUICE currently has two contract-growing projects:

In Hungary, since 2000, AUSTRIA JUICE has supported local farmers in growing resistant apple varieties that reduce the use of pesticides by 60 percent. On the one hand, the farmers receive financial support for the replanting of the trees and, on the other, purchase guarantees. In 2007, a similar project was launched in Poland. Around 18 percent of the apples processed by AUSTRIA JUICE worldwide came from these two projects in the 2018/2019 financial year. Almost 100 percent of the direct energy demand is supplied by natural gas and 80 percent of the sites are already certified to ISO 50001.


Sustainability is the balance between economy, ecology and social issues. Environmental protection is a major topic in the food and beverage industry: Already 53 percent of Americans prefer to buy products that are environmentally friendly. Consumers are now demanding that companies buy their products with a clear conscience - and that sustainable economic activity is guaranteed throughout the entire production and supply chain.

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Cornelia KerschbaumerAuthor

Director of Marketing & Communication


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