An opinion piece by René Dedoncker, Fonterra Australia Managing Director
Providing a growing global population with more sustainable and healthy food is one of the world’s big challenges. According to estimates compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organization, by 2050 we will need to produce 60 per cent more food to feed a world population of 9.3 billion.
It’s no secret that consumers around the world want to know the bigger story of where their food comes from. They want to know that as food producers, we are taking our responsibility for the environment seriously and they want to know what we’re doing about it.
As a dairy nutrition company that exports to 130 countries, we know that one size doesn’t fit all. With markets at different stages of their sustainability journey, consumers have different expectations.
In highly developed markets like Australia and New Zealand, consumers want to see companies leading on emerging issues of biodiversity and lower carbon.
While in other important markets in Southeast Asia it’s about using environmental credentials to support better nutrition outcomes, along with food safety and quality reassurance – so, sustainability is more about nutrition and care for animals.
Pure dairy claims – non-GMO, no growth hormones and the like – command price premiums in Southeast Asia and North America, more than claims like low-carbon, which less developed markets historically haven’t treated as a priority.
Although this is changing. As markets in Southeast Asia grapple with pollution of waterways and haze from land-clearing burn offs, they’re increasingly turning their focus to the environmental impact of the foods they consume and the packaging it comes in.
Regardless of a consumer’s motivation for the choices they make, one thing is for certain – where their milk comes from matters.