As the world celebrates the 51st anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Post and Anheuser-Busch are aiming to create new snacks they say are better for the planet.
Sustainability initiatives are one of the primary tools large food and beverage companies are using to not only reduce their environmental footprint but connect with consumers who take it into account when it comes time to decide what products to buy.
A study by Nielsen in 2018 found nearly half of consumers are likely to change what they buy to meet environmental standards. And those sentiments translated into real shifts in the industry, with sustainability-marketed products representing 54.7% of the total CPG market growth from 2015 to 2019, even though they made up only 16.1% of the category in 2019, according to a report last year from IRI and the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business. There could soon few a few more.
The partnership between Post and Anheuser-Busch marks a rare instance of two large CPGs bringing together their expertise — EverGrain’s reused barley protein and fiber and Bright Future Foods’ greenhouse gas-removing grains and targeted sustainable agriculture practices — to create offerings that fit with sustainability trends gaining momentum in the food space.
It also makes good business sense as companies could benefit from increased sales and positive exposure through a suite of new products. At the same time, the businesses are helping protect an environment that produces the same ingredients they need to make their foods and beverages.
“This collaboration allows us both to leverage our deep-rooted knowledge in agriculture and food processing to pioneer creative and sustainable new solutions for tackling the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges,” Mark Izzo, CEO of Bright Future Foods.
The collaboration builds on Bright Future Foods’ first product launch and what it claims is the first ever climate-positive snack, Airly Oat Cloud Crackers. The oats have a negative carbon footprint. Each box of Airly crackers sold removes greenhouse gases from the air with the unique oat supply and carbon credits offsets, Bright Future Foods said.
Other food companies of all sizes are slowly making inroads in the space to produce foods that are better for the environment or cutback on waste.
Mondelez International said last December its innovation hub, SnackFutures, developed NoCOé — a French cracker brand that is carbon neutral and nutritious. Hidden Gem Beverage makes beverages from avocado pits. Other companies are turning to renewable energy, investing in regenerative agriculture or curtailing inputs of commodities like water or land to minimize their impact. Many businesses also are swapping out older packaging for recyclable, reusable and compostable options. Nestlé pledged $2 billion Swiss francs ($2.1 billion) toward sustainable packaging development. General Mills’ Nature Valley brand is debuting fully recyclable plastic wrappers this spring, and Kraft Heinz is testing recyclable paper bowls for its Macaroni & Cheese cups. Diageo and PepsiCo are designing paper bottles.