From kitchenware to dishwashers, the future of food and farming is looking brighter.
But some of the key players behind the trend are quietly lobbying for changes in the food supply chain to keep them in the game, as a new report reveals.
Read more article “I think we have a lot of food coming out of a bunch of people who are trying to be the next big thing,” said David O’Connor, who heads the sustainability team at the International Dairy Science Institute (IDA), an international research organization focused on food and agriculture.
We have a little bit of everything but we’re also kind of limited by the market,” O’Connors said. “
In the food industry, we’re kind of stuck in a Catch-22.
We have a little bit of everything but we’re also kind of limited by the market,” O’Connors said.
“It’s really hard to find a market that really allows for the kind of growth that is necessary to get us to where we need to be.”
“It was really exciting when I started thinking about how we could be able [to] create sustainable products in this space, and that’s a very new industry, and we’re not doing it,” said J.D. Gorman, an agronomist and the director of the University of Maine’s Center for Food Safety and Sustainability.
He added that he’s excited to see the opportunities the industry is opening up for us.
The growing demand for food in developing countries is fueling the rise of an emerging class of consumer-facing businesses, which are focused on sustainability, organic farming, and food safety.
“There are so many different opportunities for sustainability that are being created right now in the agriculture sector,” said Gorman.
“I see that as a positive.
I see it as a real opportunity.”
Gorman said the food sector is “getting better at finding things to do that are sustainable,” and he hopes to see more of that in the next 10 years.
“As a result of the success of organic farming and growing demand in developing economies, there’s a whole new generation of food scientists coming in who are now being recognized and rewarded for their work,” Gorman added.
The shift from organic farming to sustainable farming has been especially pronounced in the United States.
“You can’t say it’s a trend that’s been happening in the U.S., but the shift has happened in the world,” said Michael Roper, an environmental engineer at the University at Albany.
“We’re going to see a lot more of sustainability businesses emerge.”
“In many ways, it’s the next evolution in how we eat,” said O’Connor, who added that many of his colleagues in the industry are also working to address food-related environmental issues, particularly through sustainable sourcing and organic sourcing.
The International Dairy Sciences Institute (IDI) has helped IDI researchers identify sustainable and organic alternatives for a variety of products, including products made from organic materials, natural materials, and foods made with locally sourced and certified ingredients.
O’Brien said that he thinks a lot about sustainability in the agronomy community because of his work at IDI.
“That’s the kind that’s happening in my field right now, which is really a combination of research and innovation,” he said.