Waste & conscious capitalism.
Humans are wasteful creatures, and our food system is a prime example. Too often, edible, nutritious food ends up in landfills instead of hungry stomachs. Ironically, at the same time, obesity has swelled to epidemic proportions, with millions of citizens overfed yet undernourished.
Meanwhile, inefficient and wasteful practices have grave consequences for the environment. According to Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe's and current CEO of Conscious Capitalism, "Food waste, if it were a country, would be the third largest emitter of CO2 and methane in the world, behind China and the U.S." Additionally, 16% of methane in the U.S. comes from food rotting in landfills.
The health and nutrition industry is uniquely positioned to meet this humanitarian challenge. While companies are looking for ways to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, consumers are also paying close attention to the social and environmental impact of products they buy. So innovative technologies and products that can make use of waste streams can both solve a pressing need and also appeal to customers.
"Feeding the world and doing so sustainably is both a mammoth and complex issue," Mr. Rauch said during his keynote address at the 2014 Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo. The next food revolution, Mr. Rauch added, is going to be about what we're not eating; it will be about utilizing wholesome food we already grow but are simply discarding.
Given the technological innovation that has taken place just since the dawn of the Internet age, I'm convinced that despite our wasteful habits, smart, thoughtful people who recognize the scale of this problem can come up with viable solutions that will improve the health of humanity and save our precious habitat.
"Innovation and technology are critical," Mr. Rauch said of successful businesses. "You're either innovating or you're dying." In my opinion, that sentiment could be taken quite literally; left unresolved, this issue of food waste and the downstream environmental and public health consequences could dictate our fate.
However, conscientious business developers are already hard at work to address the concerns of our global community and I hope they find the support and capital resources they need. As Mr. Rauch noted, the proper application of smart technologies, supportive public policy and good old human ingenuity are a promising antidote to our historically wasteful ways.
Do you have a product or story to share about reducing waste and benefiting human health? I'd be happy to hear about it.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||From The Editor|
|Date:||Jul 1, 2014|
|Previous Article:||Obesity rates grow internationally.|
|Next Article:||Consumers look to doctors for information on supplements.|