Major players in the ethical food market are Bimbo Group, Illy, Ingredion, Kellogg’s, Mars Incorporated, PepsiCo, and Starbucks.
The Global Ethical Food Market is expected to decline from USD 650.99 billion in 2019 to USD 568.12 billion in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -12.73%. The decline is mainly due to economic slowdown across countries owing to the COVID-19 outbreak and the measures to contain it. The market is then expected to recover and reach USD 684.83 billion in 2023 at CAGR of 6.43%.
The ethical food market consists of sales of ethical food items and related services. Ethical or sustainable food refers to food produced using processes and systems that are non-polluting, economically efficient, conserve non-renewable natural resources and energy, safe for workers, consumers, and communities, and do not compromise on the future generation needs. It uses a method of food production wherein the people (small farmers, producer co-operatives, large estates), the environment (environment sustainability), and animals (concerned with animal rights and welfare) are given considerable importance.
North America was the largest region in the ethical food market in 2019.
Sustainable packaging is a leading trend adopted by ethical food manufacturers and producers. The companies engaged in organic food production are increasing their focus on sustainable packaging in order to reduce the use of plastics and go environment friendly. For instance, Alter Eco uses clean packaging for its produce and the plastic packaging used for outer boxes are recyclable. Following the trend, packaging companies are also comping up with sustainable packing solutions for organic food and other products. For instance, Giro Pack developed compostable welded bags and compostable net clipped bags that are produced using plant-based or organic materials such as pulp of eucalyptus trees or corn starch. Thus, the focus of ethical food companies on sustainable or green packaging is a major trend shaping the ethical food market over the forthcoming years.
The ethical food market covered in this report is segmented by type into organic and natural; fairtrade; free range animal welfare friendly; environmentally responsible and sustainably produced; others.
The high cost of ethical food limits the growth of the market during the forecast period. The production and sales of ethical food include the cost of natural fertilizers, high labor, ethical or sustainable certification, and others which raises the overall cost of production. According to a new study commissioned by ethical certification in 2018, 45% of the people in the UK put off buying ethical products owing to their high cost. The high cost of ethical food makes it inaccessible to larger population, thereby hindering the growth of the market during the forecast period.
In September 2018, Kraft Heinz Canada announced the acquisition of the assets of Ethical Bean Coffee for an undisclosed amount. This acquisition is expected to expand Kraft Heinz Canada’s product offerings and global presence to serve a large number of consumers worldwide. Ethical Bean Coffee was founded in 2003 and is a leading roaster of 100% Fairtrade and certified organic coffee. The company is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is committed to global awareness, social responsibility, and environmental accountability.
Increasing concern about the environment is expected to contribute to higher demand for ethical food. The recent climate changes and environmental issues such as carbon emission, global warming, plastic, and food waste is forcing companies to concentrate on sustainable products. The rising environmental concerns are shifting companies and shoppers towards ethical/ sustainable-certified products. According to Our World In Data’s statistics on environmental impact of food published in January 2020, the food accounts around 26% of the global greenhouse emissions, with half of the world’s habitable land used for agriculture and 70% of the freshwater used for agriculture. According to the survey of 1000 adults by International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC foundation) in 2019, 54% of the consumers responded that the products they buy be produced in an environmentally sustainable way. Therefore, the growing impact of food production on the environment and the growing demand for sustainable food is increasing companies to focus on sustainable production which in turn is expected to the drive the demand for the ethical food market in the forecast period.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications