Sustainable Food Industry - Statistics & Facts

The sustainable food movement has gained some traction in recent years, swept along with the popularity of the local food and organic food movements, though perhaps lesser known. Definitions of sustainable food can vary, but it generally refers to food that is produced using methods that protect the environment and the welfare of the people producing them. This definition can extend to seafood and other animal products as well. The global market value of ethically labeled packaged foods is projected to grow to from 793.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 to 872.7 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. In the United States, the retail value of products with an ethical label is also expected to grow in the next few years, but not significantly.

Fair trade products have grown increasingly more popular in recent years. In the early 2000s it was uncommon to see anything other than fair trade coffee or tea, but the market has since expanded to include fair trade sugar, honey, wine, apparel, coconuts, and seafood to name a few. UTZ, an organization that certifies products as sustainably farmed, reported that the global production value for sustainably produced cocoa grew from 918,000 metric tons in 2015 to nearly 1.2 million metric tons in 2016.

Restaurants also seem to be embracing the sustainable food movement. One of the top trends in food items offered in U.S. restaurants in 2018 was sustainably sourced seafood, a sign that demand for eco-friendly foods is growing. In addition, many restaurants have started sourcing their produce locally, reducing food waste, and using natural ingredients, perhaps in an effort to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.

Survey figures show that consumer attitudes towards the trend are still quite mixed. In 2017, about half of U.S. consumers believed in the importance of sustainably produced food products, compared to about 28 percent who had no opinion one way or the other, and about 15 percent who believed that consumption of sustainably produced foods was not important. A 2016 survey revealed that 45 percent of Americans considered local and fresh ingredients to be the most important factor when selecting a healthy meal, and 11 percent considered sustainable ingredient supply practices to be most important.

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Sustainable food industry - Important statistics

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