Food waste reduction driving demand for better shelf life

Oct 11, 2023 Ingredients

A recent global study conducted by Kerry reveals that more than 30% of consumers are willing to switch to brands or products that offer better shelf life.

This openness to change is being driven by conscious consumers’ with a desire to act on food waste – 98% of those surveyed were actively trying to minimise food waste, triggered by various factors including environmental considerations, mindfulness of world hunger and in the current economic climate, financial concerns.

Among consumers surveyed in Thailand, 52% say they buy only what they need in an effort to reduce food waste. In South Africa, as many as 91% were concerned with food waste, with concern increasing at a higher rate than other countries globally over the past two years.

Meanwhile, 69% of consumers expressed an inclination to purchase products formulated to reduce food waste. This represents a significant opportunity for the food industry to innovate and create products that meet evolving consumer expectations.

The study, which involved 5,154 consumers across 10 countries, including Thailand, Australia and South Africa, found that 72% of respondents believe that extending the shelf life of a product would help them reduce waste. Additionally, 74% of consumers consider preservatives to be important when making food purchases.

Role of preservation to reduce food waste

A total 82% of respondents expressed acceptance of natural preservatives, while 50% of consumers are open to purchasing products with artificial preservatives – although buying patterns indicate a higher acceptance of these solutions. Among consumers in Australia, while there was less emphasis on the importance of preservatives in food and beverages, 78% say they preferred natural preservatives.
Commenting on the findings, Ketan Trivedi, General Manager, Food Protection & Preservation, at Kerry Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, said: “The insights reveal a high degree of consumer understanding about food safety, food waste, and importance of food preservation. Drawing from this, a clear mandate for brands is to address shelf life extension and drive an action plan for their products across various markets.”

Bert De Vegt, VP of Food Protection & Preservation, at Kerry, said: “Our research clearly demonstrates that consumers have a strong desire to reduce food waste in their own homes, and they increasingly recognise the role of preservation in achieving this goal. As inflationary pressures remain, preventing products from going to waste has become more crucial than ever. “With 29 September marking the UN International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, these findings further highlight an urgent need for the food industry to maintain action on food waste and improve the shelf life of products where possible. By doing so, companies can meet the evolving demands of consumers who are increasingly conscious of the impact of food waste on themselves, society, and the planet.”

As the market leader in preservation, Kerry’s portfolio includes unique sodium-free buffered vinegars, potassium acetates, multifunctional systems to solve complex preservation challenges, and a range of fermented wheat products for mould control in bread applications. Kerry also sits on the
Classified as General Business Consumer Goods Forum’s Food Waste Coalition of Action and uses insights to help customers and consumers demystify on-pack labels and date information.

About Kerry

Kerry is a world leader in taste and nutrition for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets. We innovate with our customers to create great tasting products with improved nutrition and functionality, while ensuring better impact for the planet. Our leading consumer insights, global RD&A team of 1,100+ food scientists and extensive global footprint enable us to solve our customers’ complex challenges with differentiated solutions. At Kerry, we are driven to be our customers’ most valued partner, creating a world of sustainable nutrition, and will reach over two billion consumers with sustainable nutrition solutions by 2030. Kerry were also a key exhibitor and sponsor at foodpro 2023. For more information, visit www.kerry.com.

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