The age old adage that consumers are not dependent on businesses, rather business on consumers rings truer than ever- particularly in the age of the sustainability conscious consumer. A shift in consumer behavior means a shift in foodservice trends… it’s really that simple.
Now that we’ve secured the record for the most amount of times someone’s put the word ‘consumer’ in two sentences, let’s dive into today’s blog, where we unpack all things plant based & zero waste!
Over the course of the last decade (and in the wake of climate change & rising obesity) we as a society have experienced a shift in priorities. Where perhaps in the past, certain practices would have been accepted (or even celebrated), today, that is not the case. Thanks to the unending rise of social media, consumers now have immediate and unlimited access to a plethora of educational material and influencer opinions- especially around sustainability.
Millennials and Gen-Z are are among the more influential groups leading the charge, with a significant portion of both generations passionate about bettering the environment. These groups have all but rejected single use plastic it it’s entirety, demanding and expecting sustainable alternatives. Enter, plants.
In an effort to reduce waste and be more environmentally mindful, many are turning to a plant based lifestyle that goes beyond just food. Think skincare, haircare, proteins and of course, packaging. Well aware of greenwashing tactics, today’s consumers readily seek out sustainable packaging and call out that which is deemed “un-sustainable”- momentarily curbed by coronavirus, this trend is only expected to intensify as we move into the next decade.
THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO YOU, RIGHT NOW!
There are a number of products currently in market that offer excellent ‘plant based’ alternatives to single use plastic, here are some of our favorites;
Bagasse: Bagasse is a natural fiber derived from sugarcane pulp (a rapidly renewable resource). The most celebrated feature of bagasse is that it is 100% compostable (both home & commercial), meaning it completely breaks down and provides nutrients for soil. Bagasse products are most ideal for takeaway & delivery meals- anything that is ready-to-eat or dry. While bagasse is microwaveable, oven safe and grease and oil resistant- extended shelf life’s render it flimsy. When thinking about making the switch to this incredible plastic alternative, ensure your meal is intended for immediate consumption.
Bio-plastics: Bioplastics are plastic-like materials produced from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils. In 2021, Marinucci is excited to introduce EcoCling to our range- a bio-degradable cling wrap available nationwide from January.
But wait… it’s complicated
Now, before you rush to switch out all your packaging to bagasse & bio-plastic, consider the following. Compostable materials might be simpler from a disposal perspective, however they are also less circular and producing an endless supply of new products, means using new resources. Not exactly a sustainable solution is it?
So, what’s the right answer?
Consumers are demanding change but you have some seriously valid hesitations- what do you do? Pack smarter. Where it makes sense to switch to bagasse and bio-plastics, do it! But remember, a lot of the time it still makes sense to stick with plastic (PET, rPET and PP) containers as these are fully recyclable across Australia and easily re-used in further products creating circular ongoing uses. Add to this aluminum foil, which is surging in popularity with takeaway places as it provides a convenient product that can go from freezer to oven and is easily recyclable and 100% reusable. Best bet is to keep ensuring you are educating your customers as to WHY you have chosen your packaging. It’s up to brands to take ownership of their sustainability efforts.
Until there exists a suitable bio-plastic that is both compostable and recyclable- let’s all work together in navigating sustainability & showing up for the ‘plant based’ consumer.
Did anything in this blog surprise you? As always, we’d love to hear from you! Share the blog on your socials or email us at email@example.com