The Belgian food industry recently launched its new Sustainability Roadmap. The roadmap sets out from the question “What’s for dinner tomorrow?” and provides answers, built around 4 cornerstones, 15 themes and 32 ambitions. This compass is the industry’s bid to lead the way over the years ahead in pushing for a sustainable food system working in tandem with consumers, food chain partners and other stakeholders.
Yes, consumers are becoming more sensitive to sustainability
The online Sustainability Roadmap at www.watetenwemorgen.be includes an action plan that will enable Belgian food companies and their +95,000 food heroes to deliver on no less than 32 concrete ambitions in the years to come. The innovative angle of this roadmap is not just that it is forward-looking and provides a compass for our food companies to draw on, but also the fact that it sets out from the consumer.
Fevia commissioned the services of Why5 Research to look into how Belgian consumers view sustainable food and what it is they expect from food companies. One of the findings is that the elements of price and quality (value for money) continue to rule our purchasing behaviour, as well as the fact that Belgian consumers are becoming increasingly more sensitive to the sustainability aspect of the food they eat and the way it is farmed and produced.
A compass for food companies
Consumers and stakeholders alike clearly hold out high expectations of the food industry. At the height of the Covid pandemic, the Belgian food industry set to work with its food company-members to put together a future-oriented strategy which sets out concrete ambitions by 2025 and beyond. The brainstorming exercise yielded a clear vision: as this country’s food industry, we recognise we have a leading role to play in jointly building a sustainable food system, which results in healthier and more pleasurable lives for all. In other words, we are looking to provide answers to the question “What’s for dinner tomorrow?”.
Ann Nachtergaele, Sustainability Coordinator at Fevia, the Federation of the Belgian food industry, explains the background of the roadmap: “The food industry has been investing in sustainable solutions for many years. This roadmap is a compass intended to enable our food companies, a lot of whom are SMEs, to devise their own sustainability strategy, in keeping with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The focus is on four cornerstones: earning consumers’ trust, embracing and accelerating the green transition, fostering future-proof jobs and career paths and creating value together.”
In practical terms, the industry is keen to continue to step up food safety, adopt increasingly smarter ways of using water, energy and packaging products, raise the stakes in terms of safe and stimulating workplaces and to co-invest in local production chains. For each ambition, the dedicated www.watetenwemorgen.be website has loads of examples of schemes that will see businesses and sectors of industry invest in solutions.
Visit www.watetenwemorgen.be to check out our Sustainability Roadmap in full.