Fighting climate change may not be top of mind for every entrepreneur launching a food brand, but for some it’s a source of inspiration. As individuals, leaders and business operators, we have the opportunity to preserve resources, develop efficient habits and practices, and make decisions that are better for the health and longevity of our communities and our planet. A growing number of brands are leading conversations around the environmental impact of food production, tackling food waste, and regenerative agriculture, all different approaches that together will help us ensure a more sustainable future. We’re shining the spotlight on a few of these bold brands, and the steps they’re taking to foster change.
Misfits on a Mission
Animal agriculture has been a hot topic over the last few years as researchers question whether meat is the most efficient or planet-friendly choice for feeding our growing population. One study determined that animal products use about 83% of the world’s farmland, contribute nearly 58% of food supply emissions and provide just 18% of our calories. Meanwhile, the U.S. consumes three times the global average. So how do you help shape a more sustainable food system, while still meeting consumers where they’re at? Veggie-packed sausages.
Selling meat products might sound counter-intuitive, but Misfit Foods has seized a unique position in the market that has the potential to create a massive impact. In 2019, they launched a line of blended sausages featuring enticing flavors like Chimichurri Style Citrus Kale Chicken and Sweet Italian Style Gold Squash Chicken. The products are made with 50% humanely raised chicken and 50% produce, allowing omnivores to reduce their meat intake while still enjoying the foods they love.
Misfit has found a way to simultaneously educate about the environmental impact of our food system, while offering a simple solution that encourages consumers to participate in taking action. If we were to cut our global meat consumption in half, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10.4 billion metric tons of Co2eq. In all, it’s good for the planet and empowers the consumer to make small changes. But meat isn’t the only culprit contributing to global warming, food waste is another big offender.
Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Pantry Staples
According to the USDA, an estimated 30-40 percent of the U.S. food supply is wasted, becoming the single largest contributor to municipal landfills. Food wastage also has an enormous carbon footprint, emitting more greenhouse gases than any country aside from the U.S. and China. In order to address this complex issue, changes need to be made at every level of the supply chain. Upcycling is growing in popularity as new technologies and processes turn perfectly nutritious byproducts into new forms of food. Renewal Mill has identified a way to improve the efficiencies of plant-based milk production by transforming soybean, oat, almond and pea pulp into baking flour.
The brand’s current lineup includes 1:1 gluten-free baking flour, brownie and sugar cookie mixes, and vegan chocolate chip cookies. But Renewal Mill’s food-waste fighting founders are thinking bigger than just consumer-facing products -- they’re aiming to be a leading supplier of upcycled ingredients for the food industry. Brands including Tia Lupita, Square Baby, and Pulp Pantry are already incorporating the company’s flagship okara flour, made from soybean pulp, into their products. Meanwhile, they’ve also engaged global food company, Barilla, in a pilot project for their biscuit line.
As the brand looks forward to introducing its next ingredient to the market, oat flour, it has just secured additional funding through the investment crowdfunding platform, Republic. While still in the beginning stages of its master plan, the company has a massive opportunity to help cut food waste, saving not only nutritious food but precious water, energy, and labor resources in the process. If we expect to feed 10 billion people by 2050, we need to make every effort we can to improve our food system and protect our planet for future generations.
Provisions for a New Generation
And that’s just what White Leaf Provisions aims to do, starting with the very foundation of our food system, farming. Most of us know what organic means, and many understand the value of regenerative agriculture, but biodynamic farming seems to be less heard of, even among the natural food industry. White Leaf aims to change that, starting with baby food. What better way to address the future of our planet, than to create a line of products for the next generation, while educating parents along the way?
It’s a clever introduction to this forward-thinking approach to food production. And while biodynamic food sounds futuristic, it’s rooted in learnings from nature. The system aims to improve soil health and reverse land degradation through regenerative farming practices like using organic fertilizer, no-tillage, crop rotation, planting cover crops and composting.
Its holistic approach has also proven to cut carbon emissions. One model determined that if 50% of our global pasture and croplands transitioned to regenerative farming, we could potentially sequester 55% of our annual co2 emissions, based on data from 2012. Protecting our earth is a radical mission for a baby food brand, but that’s the kind of thinking we need to tackle these big issues.
When most people think of heroes they picture firefighters, doctors, and Batman, but the food industry has an opportunity to be listed among the greats. It takes courage, commitment, and a lot of hard work to solve worldwide problems like these ambitious brands are setting out to do, but they can’t do it alone. It will take collaboration and innovative thinking to ultimately drive this mission forward. So, whether it’s veggie-packed sausages, upcycled ingredients, or regenerative farming, every step in the right direction makes the future look a little brighter.
We’d love to hear from you! Tell us about some initiatives or brands that are inspiring you to save the planet, or let us know how your brand is championing this cause. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org