Showing results for: Processing/manufacturing
The transformation of raw ingredients by physical or chemical means into food is a process that adds economic value to agricultural products and can potentially deliver other benefits by making products that are, for example, safer, easier to prepare, able to be stored throughout the seasons and transported across long distances. However, processing and manufacturing also uses significant amounts of energy and nonrenewable resources and is thus a source of GHG emissions and resource depletion. It is also a focal point of food waste issues: while processing can reduce perishability, nearly as much food is wasted during the processing stage as in the postharvest stage. Furthermore much of the sugar, salt and fats in food products is added and important nutrients and fibre removed, during the processing stage, meaning that processed food consumption is now a major contributor to obesity and associated non communicable diseases.
Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada’s largest food manufacturers, has declared that it wants to become “the most sustainable protein company on earth”. With aims to improve nutrition, environmental sustainability, animal care and corporate responsibility, CEO Michael M. McCain released a statement saying that “Our food system has drifted from its roots, to nourish wellbeing, to farm sustainably, to view food as a universal good for all. We must serve the world better.”
This article examines how big food companies contend with some of the issues involved in efforts to improve the sustainability of their raw material supply chains. It argues that these large companies often operate in long, complex, and traditionally non-transparent supply chains that make it difficult for them to exert real influence over producers. ‘Big food’ is the description given to the world’s largest and most influential companies in the food and beverages markets.
Public Health England(PHE) has published new guidelines setting out the approaches the food industry should take to reduce the net amount of sugar children consume through everyday food.
A new patent by Nestlé scientists promises a reduction in sugar content in their chocolate and confectionary within years.
Nitrite is used by the food industry as a preservation agent for meat products. Nitrite has multiple functions, it prevents lipid oxidation, maintains microbial quality and preserves flavour and colour. One of the main concerns of consumers is the possible carcinogenic effect nitrite could have in some meat products after the curing process (as reported by the WHO recently: see FCRN coverage here).
This report from the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology summarises some emerging novel approaches in the food sector including controlled-environment farming, alternative animal feeds, edible insects, and lab-cultured meat.
Summary points are as follows:
A new green energy initiative has been launched by the Japanese meat processor NH Foods. Their Global Water Engineering (GWE) Cohral plant (in Australia)will extract green energy biogas from the waste water stream of production, replacing millions of dollars’ worth of natural gas currently consumed by the company factory. It is reported that the effect of burning the methane will save the equivalent of 12,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to removing 2,700 cars from the road.
This video portrays the work of Beyond Meat, a company focusing on creating plant-based meat. Their "chicken" and "ground beef" comes from a soy-protein-based hamburger patty.
Discussing how a very small proportion of the world's cocoa producers is responsible for the negative impacts of the industry, Oliver Nieburg of WWF presents options for improving performance.
The Swiss Federal Research Station Agroscope and the consulting firm Quantis, have launched the World Food LCA Database (WFLDB). Launched in 2012, it aims to provide reliable and up-to-date data for more accurate food and beverage life cycle assessments (LCA), decisions and communication. The overarching goal is to bring together experts from all stages in the food chain to develop a comprehensive and up-to-date inventory database for accurate life cycle assessments (LCA).
This book discusses the implications of the financial credit crunch for consumers and food spending. The authors argue that the credit crunch is having an impact not only on short term food prices but also on the sustainability of the food system. The economic changes we experience now are said to have a bearing on our ability to manage the environmental credit crunch that looms. The authors conclude that a significant and positive difference could be made by changing some of the ways in which we procure, prepare, and consume our food.
Unilever has published its one-year on report on the progress it has made in meeting the commitments it set out in its 2010 Sustainable Living Plan.
The CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) programme have published a new report that looks at the role and effectiveness of private sector CSR activities in the agricultural sector.
The International Refrigeration Committee held a business briefing on the future of food and farming – the role of refrigeration. The presentations are available to download here - you need to register first.
In June 2011, Arla Foods launched its Global Environmental Strategy 2020, which maps the entire environmental impact of its dairy products and includes a pledge to reduce global CO2 emissions by 25% by 2020 within the areas of production, haulage and packaging.