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New German study shows sustainability as a driver for innovation

The Federal Association of the German Food Industry (BVE) and Innova Market Insights presented the study "Sustainability Trends in the Food Industry 2021" at ANUGA in October.
calendar icon 7 December 2021
clock icon 1 minute read
Christoph Minhoff, Managing Director of BVE
Christoph Minhoff, Managing Director of BVE

Christoph Minhoff, Managing Director of BVE, emphasized that sustainability is not a trend topic for the food industry but is in the industry's own interests.

"Our study shows how diverse and innovative German companies are when it comes to sustainability and how it is implemented with many different facets - from new raw materials to higher ethical standards and technological approaches, everything is included," he said.

The results of the study show that sustainability has long been a key driver for quality and innovation and thus also an important factor for more added value and competitiveness for companies in Germany. For example, the production of plant-based meat alternatives increased by 39% from 2019 to 2020: production rose from 60,000 tons to over 80,000 tons with a value of 375 million euros. In addition to the pure increase in volume, the variety also increased: Between 2017 and 2020, the number of new products in the meat substitute sector in Germany grew by around 8 percent annually. The market for milk substitutes developed even more dynamically.

But meat, too, continues to be consumed at a high level. The annual production value of meat and meat products is 100 times greater than that of meat substitutes and amounted to around 38.6 billion euros in 2020.

But meat consumption has also changed and is becoming more sustainable. Since 2017, more and more meat products have been introduced that offer additional sustainability properties compared to conventional products. Compared to 2016, the range of products that meet increased ethical standards has almost tripled.

A dynamic development can also be observed in food packaging. The demand for less packaging material has led to packaging becoming increasingly intelligent, recycling playing an increasingly important role and alternative materials being used to conserve natural resources.

According to the study, the need for information is also increasing. In the interplay of supply and demand, food manufacturers in Germany and around the world are responding to the request for more information with a transparency offensive of additional information and labels on the packaging, QR and tracking codes with further information and detailed information on the websites.

"This development shows how much the current restructuring of our industry is based on ingenuity and technology and that we are constantly reacting to the needs of consumers. These products can only be used in the long term if the extra sustainability pays off for everyone involved survive in the market," says Christoph Minhoff. "Sustainability should not be interpreted negatively in that it goes hand in hand with renunciation, restrictions or step backwards. Instead, the German food industry wants to ensure that natural resources are conserved, but that the joy of eating and enjoyment is preserved."

Anuga is the world's largest trade fair for the food and food industry.

The study is available for download here .