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Top 5 innovations in sustainable grocery

Food & Drink

Our favourite innovations from recent months that are helping make grocery shopping more sustainable.

When it comes to sustainability, grocery shopping is amongst the areas most in need of innovation.

According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, food is the single largest component in landfills, with almost one-third of the food supply going to waste. This amounts to a total of 1.3 billion tonnes and almost €1 trillion in waste. 

In addition, grocery shopping contributes a huge amount of plastic bags. Moreover, while the average plastic bag is only used for 12 minutes, it remains in the environment for thousands of years. 

However, if tackled appropriately, grocery has the potential to achieve a significant positive impact in a very small amount of time. The difficulty remains in finding systems that are both sustainable and efficient enough to meet the growing demands of the population – which include greater variability of products in a shorter amount of time.

Fortunately, more and more innovations are emerging that could allow grocery stores to change their ways and reduce their impact on the environment. Here are our top 5 innovations from recent months that are helping make grocery shopping more sustainable. 

1. PLATFORM CONNECTS SHOPPERS DIRECTLY WITH PRODUCERS

Photo source Maja Petric on Unsplash

US-based startup Move aims to cut out the cost and waste of traditional supermarkets by connecting shoppers with producers. The new platform promises high-quality goods at lower prices for consumers – and more competitive pay for producers. 

The platform works with selected farmers and producers to provide high-quality goods to consumers at lower prices. By eliminating the middlemen and the brand, Move can sell everything at cost and pay producers more for their goods. 

Read more about Move

2. SHRINK WRAP FOR PRODUCE THAT IS TRULY SUSTAINABLE

Photo source Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

Australian independent grocer Drake’s Supermarkets partnered with Adelaide-based wholesaler IG Fresh to create a compostable fruit and vegetable wrap. The supermarket chain wanted to stop using the polyethene plastic wrap frequently used on individually sold fruits and vegetables.

While there are many biodegradable and compostable packaging options now available, the challenge in this project lay in making the new material usable for shrink wrapping. This new material is made of a plant-based resin called Mater-Bi and, as well as being 100 per cent industrially compostable, can also be disposed of in-home and garden compost and recycling bins.

Read more about compostable shrinkwrap

3. APP TRACES SUSTAINABILITY OF FISH

Photo source Biomar

Sustainable aquaculture feed supplier BioMar has released a free smartphone app aimed at tracing the supply chain for seafood products. The app, called Discover, is available for consumers to use. It was released in conjunction with BioMar’s new Sustainability Report, which provides transparency to all BioMar operations.

The Discover app allows users to scan seafood QR codes and receive data on the products, including the type of feed used, the carbon footprint of the product, seafood origin, certification, water use, and nutritional information. The data will update as the conditions, such as feed recipes and raw material, change.

Read more about the Discover app

4. NEW, EDIBLE NANOFILM PROTECTS FROM BACTERIA

Photo source FOODISM360 on Unsplash

Russian biotech company Vjatsky Agroconcern has created an edible food preservative to help reduce the high rate of global food waste. Called Milekons, the preservative works on a range of foodstuffs, including grains, pulses, fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat. It has been designed to reduce spoilage and waste throughout a product’s entire journey, from harvest to retail shelves and private homes.

The nanofilm is a combination of ammonium, sugar, alcohol and sodium chloride and, throughout long-term studies, has proven safe for consumption. It is decomposable and highly affordable, coating up to a tonne of produce for a cost of €1 to €2.

Read more on edible nanofilm

 5. A SMART REFRIGERATOR TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE

Swedish startup Karma, whose app connects consumers with businesses such as restaurants and grocery stores wanting to sell their unused food at a discount, is now developing a smart refrigerator to help further reduce food waste. The startup is partnering with appliance manufacturer Electrolux on the device, which users will be able to unlock with the Karma app. 

Grocery stores and restaurants taking part in the project can store their surplus food in the fridges, which will be located in places such as underground stations, for users to pick up on the way home.

Read more about Karma’s smart fridge