What’s the Future of Sustainable Food Sourcing?


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What's the Future of Sustainable Food Sourcing?

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What’s the Future of Sustainable Food Sourcing?

Exploring the horizon of sustainable food sourcing, we’ve gathered insights from industry leaders, including Founders and CEOs, to share their visions. From the promise of permaculture and agroforestry gaining ground to the forward-thinking strategy of traceability and local sourcing becoming the norm, here are the top fifteen expert perspectives on the evolution of food sustainability.

  • Permaculture and Agroforestry Gain Ground
  • Holistic Approach to Food and Ecosystems
  • Prioritize Transparency and Fair Practices
  • Brands Move Toward Localized Production
  • Ethical Seafood Sourcing by Lobster Anywhere
  • Regenerative Agriculture and Advanced Tech Merge
  • Vertical Farming and Regenerative Practices Rise
  • Decarbonization in Food and Restaurant Industry
  • Circular Economies Drive Zero-Waste Food Production
  • Hydroponics and Vertical Farming Transform Agriculture
  • Connect Vending Embraces Sustainable Supply Chains
  • Solar Energy Powers Sustainable Greenhouses
  • Local-Food-Economy Startups Flourish
  • Controlled-Environment Agriculture Enhances Sustainability
  • Traceability and Local Sourcing Become Norm

Permaculture and Agroforestry Gain Ground

Permaculture and agroforestry are two ideas I think will be really important for how we get our food in a sustainable way in the future. These are ways of farming that really focus on keeping lots of different plants and animals around and making sure the soil stays healthy, while also growing food. They work by copying what happens in nature, building food systems that are strong because they’re based on how ecosystems work, not on man-made stuff. Choosing to use permaculture and agroforestry is good for the planet and for making sure we have the food we need.

With problems like climate change and not having enough resources, getting our food from these kinds of farming gives us some hope. We can also look at things like eating more plants, trying out edible bugs, farming in cities in tall buildings (vertical farming), and other new ideas. These could help make our food system more resilient and more environmentally conscious. If we start making smarter choices now, we can help ensure that people in the future have food that’s good for them and the planet.

Billy LitmerBilly Litmer
Founder, Honest Eco

Holistic Approach to Food and Ecosystems

In the future of food awareness, it’s not just about what we eat, but also about what our food eats, highlighting a shift toward considering the well-being of the organisms we consume as a key factor in reshaping our understanding of interconnected ecosystems and sustainable gastronomy. As a cook at Blue Hill in New York City, I have a unique perspective on the relationships between our food, the environment, and the health of all these interconnected systems.

Ashley SobelAshley Sobel
Registered Dietitian and Chef, Ashley Sobel Nutrition LLC

Prioritize Transparency and Fair Practices

As we journey toward sustainability, I believe that the future of sourcing is all about doing things the right way—being kind to the environment, treating people fairly, and making sure our practices benefit everyone. By prioritizing transparency, innovation, and collaboration across supply chains, we pave the way for a more resilient and equitable future for both people and the planet.

Nkolika AchigbuNkolika Achigbu
Principal Manager, NIRSAL Plc

Brands Move Toward Localized Production

Sustainable food sourcing is always tricky. It is really hard for brands to decide whether it is more sustainable to go for an option that is closer to you geographically that uses convenient methods, or someone further away that uses organic methods. I think that production, regardless of the product, will move closer to the brands. We, as brands, really care about sourcing distance. That’s why we see salad production in urban areas, even inside stores, or the cultivation of foreign ingredients on domestic soil, like Japanese Yuzu trees in Spain.

Behrang BandaliBehrang Bandali
Founder, Freaky Sauces

Ethical Seafood Sourcing by Lobster Anywhere

More people are looking at supporting businesses in the food industry that are committed to ethical and sustainable practices when it comes to sourcing their products. This is to ensure that wildlife and the environment will continue to thrive despite harvesting from it. It is also to ensure that the animals eaten are not bred in captivity for the sake of mass-producing food.

For example, we at Lobster Anywhere are committed to using ethical and sustainable means to capture and provide fresh seafood for our customers. We don’t engage in fish farming, and our lobstermen use environmentally-friendly traps that won’t cause harm to other sea creatures in the ocean. In addition to this, the area we are based in—Maine—is governed by bylaws that oversee the catching of lobsters.

Joe BowabJoe Bowab
CEO, Lobster Anywhere

Regenerative Agriculture and Advanced Tech Merge

As we continue to face challenges related to climate change and food insecurity, the future of sustainable food sourcing is becoming increasingly important. With a growing global population and limited natural resources, it is clear that our current methods of food production are not sustainable in the long term

One potential solution for ensuring sustainable food sourcing is through the implementation of regenerative agriculture practices. This approach focuses on rebuilding and restoring the health of our soil, which is essential for producing nutritious and resilient crops. By utilizing regenerative agriculture techniques such as cover cropping, crop rotation, and reduced tillage, farmers can improve soil health while also reducing their environmental impact.

Another aspect to consider in the future of sustainable food sourcing is technology. With advancements in areas such as precision farming, vertical farming, and lab-grown meat, we have the potential to revolutionize our food production systems. These technologies have the potential to increase efficiency and reduce waste, ultimately leading to a more sustainable and resilient food system.

In addition to these strategies, it is essential that we also address issues of global food distribution and access. While some regions may face challenges related to overproduction and food waste, others are struggling with food insecurity and malnutrition. Finding ways to improve distribution and ensure equitable access to nutritious food is crucial for achieving sustainable food sourcing globally.

Justin CarpenterJustin Carpenter
Founder & CEO, Modern Maids

Vertical Farming and Regenerative Practices Rise

I’ve observed the increasing emphasis on sustainability within the food industry. More and more consumers are becoming aware of the impact their food choices have on the environment and are demanding sustainable options. This shift has not gone unnoticed by those in the food industry, leading to a focus on finding innovative ways to source and produce food sustainably.

One of the most exciting developments in sustainable food sourcing is the rise of vertical farming. This method involves growing crops in vertically stacked layers, using hydroponic systems and LED lighting to create an ideal environment for plant growth. Vertical farming offers several benefits, including reduced water usage, less reliance on pesticides and herbicides, and the ability to grow food in urban areas where space may be limited. Another trend that shows promise in sustainable food sourcing is the use of regenerative agriculture practices. This approach focuses on restoring and improving soil health, which in turn can increase crop yields and reduce the need for artificial fertilizers.

Regenerative agriculture also has environmental benefits, such as increasing biodiversity and reducing carbon emissions. In addition to these innovative methods, there are also efforts being made to reduce food waste and promote more sustainable packaging options. With approximately one-third of all food produced globally going to waste, finding ways to reduce this number is crucial for the future of sustainable food sourcing. This includes initiatives like food-sharing platforms and composting programs.

Danny ColaciccoDanny Colacicco
Founder & CEO, Panda Pro Home Buyers

Decarbonization in Food and Restaurant Industry

I believe the future of food systems leans heavily towards decarbonization. Global greenhouse gas emissions pose a significant threat to our planet, contributing to climate change and its catastrophic impacts, such as extreme weather conditions and loss of biodiversity. The food and restaurant industry plays a crucial role in this scenario. It is responsible for a substantial share of these emissions, from agricultural production to food processing and packaging.

To combat this issue, there are three effective methods. First, optimizing operations within our restaurants has reduced energy consumption significantly. Second, sourcing ingredients locally minimizes transportation emissions. Lastly, adopting sustainable packaging reduces waste and lowers the carbon footprint of our services.

In my restaurants, we have taken significant steps toward a sustainable future. We focus on reducing emissions in every aspect of our operations and actively share these practices with others.

Vadim RachokVadim Rachok
Culinary Instructor and Chef, Recipe From Chef

Circular Economies Drive Zero-Waste Food Production

The future of sustainable food sourcing is being shaped by the concept of circular economies and zero-waste initiatives. There’s an emerging trend where food producers are looking to minimize waste at every point of the production cycle, repurposing by-products, and optimizing resources.

As a professional, I am closely monitoring the growth of plant-based proteins, which is poised to play a pivotal role in reducing the environmental footprint of our diets. The use of smart agriculture technologies that utilize data analytics and AI to improve yield and minimize resource use is becoming increasingly prevalent. These advancements reflect a broader commitment within the industry to meet our nutritional needs in an ecologically balanced and ethical manner.

Zoe MillerZoe Miller
Strategic Business Leader & Market Analyst, Tea Time Facts

Hydroponics and Vertical Farming Transform Agriculture

The future of sustainable food sourcing revolves around a complete merger of practices that are productive and turns toward methods of production that are considered eco-friendly.

A chief aspect of this future is connected to the growing adoption of techniques such as hydroponics and vertical farming. These methods allow food to be grown in enclosed environments, using limited water and land compared to traditional agricultural ways. Vertical farming essentially comprises stacking crop layers, expanding space utilization, and the frequent use of advanced technologies such as LED lighting and computerized nutrient delivery systems. Hydroponic systems eliminate the need for soil entirely, further lessening the impact on the environment.

Moreover, a new trend is the increasing popularity of alternative protein and plant-based sources. As environmental concerns about the impact of meat production continue to escalate, consumers are seeking plant-based alternatives such as tempeh, tofu, and plant-based burgers. Innovations in lab-grown meat are presenting a sustainable alternative to traditional animal agriculture, as meat production companies can produce meat without the need to raise and slaughter animals.

Gargi BagchiGargi Bagchi
Content Writer, Quicklly

Connect Vending Embraces Sustainable Supply Chains

At Connect Vending, we’ve made our supply chains more sustainable and environmentally friendly for almost a decade now. With food vendors and suppliers for several products, we have realized that it is becoming increasingly easier to find suppliers who use sustainable ways of growing and procuring food. For instance, our coffee bean suppliers are certified by the Rainforest Alliance, and recycling coffee grounds has helped us make a quantifiable difference. From a business perspective, large-scale adoption of sustainable food choices will become the norm when people realize it takes minimal effort to get started and their choices result in tangible change. An interplay of public policy, awareness, and transparency will make sustainable food sourcing popular with consumers, producers, and businesses alike.

Elyas CouttsElyas Coutts
Director of Marketing, Connect Vending

Solar Energy Powers Sustainable Greenhouses

As someone running a company in the solar energy sector, I foresee a promising future for sustainable food sourcing, particularly through the integration of eco-friendly energy sources in greenhouse operations.

By harnessing solar power to run independent and commercial greenhouses, the food industry can significantly reduce its carbon footprint and reliance on traditional energy sources. Solar energy offers a clean and renewable alternative that not only powers greenhouse operations but also supports sustainable agriculture practices. Implementing solar energy in greenhouse operations not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions but also fosters a more environmentally friendly and sustainable approach to food production, ensuring a healthier future for both people and the planet.

Robert RothRobert Roth
CEO, Quote For Solar Group, Inc.

Local-Food-Economy Startups Flourish

I believe the future is all about the rise of local-food-economy startups. There’s a noticeable increase in the number of companies in this field, which I think is because the farm-to-table trend is gaining more popularity. People are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and its environmental impact. They’re looking for options that are local and sustainable, which not only help their communities but also reduce the carbon emissions from transporting food over long distances.

Startups centered on local food economies have sprung up to meet this increasing demand for fresh, locally-sourced produce. These startups establish direct relationships with local farmers and producers to bring their products directly to the market, eliminating middlemen. This ensures that farmers are fairly paid for their efforts.

For example, Farmigo is an online marketplace that connects customers with local farmers and food producers. It offers a variety of seasonal produce, dairy, meats, and more, delivering them right to the customers’ doorsteps. Farmigo simplifies the supply chain and cuts down on unnecessary transport, thereby reducing food waste and bolstering local economies.

Antoinette JacksonAntoinette Jackson
Creative Director & Founder, SuperBee

Controlled-Environment Agriculture Enhances Sustainability

Controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) is a growing industry that will play an important role in the future of sustainable food sourcing. CEA farms operate indoors in highly controlled environments, allowing for precise manipulation of light, temperature, and humidity. By controlling growing conditions, CEA farms can produce a wider variety of fresh produce year-round, regardless of climate or season. This diversity enhances consumer choices and promotes more balanced diets.

What’s more, CEA farms use significantly less water and pesticides than traditional farms, produce more food per square foot, and reduce environmental impact by growing food closer to consumers. Vertical farming is one CEA method that allows for easier fresh food production in urban areas, reducing the need for long-distance transportation and its associated carbon footprint. By offering increased access to fresh produce, CEA and vertical farming can cultivate a healthier, greener future for generations to come.

Nicole GabrailNicole Gabrail
Marketing Coordinator, Achievable

Traceability and Local Sourcing Become Norm

As someone who has worked in the food industry for over 20 years, I’ve seen a major shift toward more sustainable practices when it comes to sourcing ingredients. Consumers are becoming more educated about the environmental impact of the food supply chain, and they’re demanding that brands prioritize sustainability.

In the future, I believe that traceability will be key. Technology like blockchain will allow us to track ingredients back to their original source, ensuring transparency and accountability at every step. We’ll see more food companies partnering directly with farms to ensure sustainable crop production. There will also be a push toward sourcing locally and reducing the distance ingredients travel from farm to plate.

Ultimately, sustainability in food sourcing will be the norm, not the exception. Brands that don’t make it a priority will get left behind by consumers. The food industry has a massive environmental footprint, so we have a responsibility to do better. The future is bright for sustainable sourcing, and I’m excited to see innovative solutions continue to emerge.

Alex TaylorAlex Taylor
Head of Marketing, CrownTV

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