Sustainability has been a hot topic for the last five years across all industries. Consumers’ awareness and growing concerns are a driving force behind sustainable consumer packaged goods innovation. Climate change and a brand’s carbon footprint are an emerging focus in food, beverage, and beauty production. Brands are reducing their carbon emissions and earning climate neutral certifications to address consumers’ desire to purchase products that minimize their impact on the environment. For brands to be carbon neutral, the manufacturers’ operation must remove as much CO2 from the atmosphere as it produces it. To offset their greenhouse gas emissions, brands purchase carbon offset credits and work towards renewable energy through initiatives such as land restoration and the planting of trees.
Consumer Attitudes Towards Climate Change
According to 2022 Mintel Consulting Sustainability Barometer research, global consumers’ top three environmental concerns are climate change (46%), air quality (36%), and plastic pollution (33%). 58% of global consumers say extreme weather events in the country where they live encourage them to do more to protect the environment. Similarly, according to GlobalData Q1 2021 consumer survey, consumers’ carbon footprint was a key consumer priority and decisive factor when purchasing a product. 20% of consumers stated that information about carbon footprint was an essential purchasing driver in beauty and grooming products.
Brands are beginning to call out “carbon neutral” on their labels. However, according to a Morning Consult survey, consumers are not that familiar with the concept. When asked how often consumers buy products with a carbon-neutral label, 52% said they had not seen the label, 6% always, 14% sometimes, rarely, and never respectively. Interestingly, Whole Foods Market forecasted “Climate-Conscious Callouts” as one of the brand’s top 10 food trends for 2023. According to their press release, “Across our aisles, products are taking to their labels to talk about sustainability efforts in a time when consumers expect brands and retailers to do more related to carbon and climate.”
Carbon Captured Ethanol Used In Beauty Products
Beauty companies are exploring carbon capture technology and converting carbon dioxide into ethanol to reduce carbon emissions. The Air Company has created Air Vodka “the world’s first carbon-negative spirit” and Air Eau de Parfum “the world’s first fragrance made from air.” Both products feature the company’s ethanol captured from its carbon conversion technology. Coty Inc. plans to roll out fragrances using CarbonSmart ethanol produced by LanzaTech. The ethanol is created by capturing and fermenting carbon emitted by industrial activity before it is released into the atmosphere. In Germany, Beiersdorf debuted a limited edition Nivea Men Climate Care Moisturizer, which contains 14% of captured ethanol. The carbon dioxide is captured from industrial chimneys that are diverted to a bioreactor and uses a fermentation process to turn it into cosmetic ethanol. In addition, the climate neutral product is manufactured using electricity from renewable sources. It is the first personal care product made from recycled carbon dioxide.
Carbon Neutral Food & Beverage
Food and beverage manufacturers are aware of their carbon footprint and are trying to have their products achieve carbon- or climate-neutral certifications with organizations like Climate Neutral. Activity in carbon neutral food and beverage introductions can be seen in milk, eggs, meals, snacks, and candy. Neutral, a carbon neutral foods company, created Carbon Neutral Organic Whole Milk and Carbon Neutral Organic 2% Milk. They are the brand’s first products and have been Certified Carbon Neutral by SCS Global Services. The Kroger Co. has teamed up with Kipster Farms to produce the world’s first carbon neutral eggs under its Simple Truth brand. Similarly, in the UK, Respectful Eggs works with Climate Partner to produce carbon neutral eggs, which are sold exclusively at Sainsbury’s stores.
Conagra Brands is committed to sustainable foods, carbon neutral products, and sustainable frozen food packaging. This year, the Evol brand is rolling out Carbonfree® Certified Carbon Neutral single-serve frozen meals produced in a TRUE certified Zero Waste facility. The meals are offered in eight varieties: Butternut Squash & Sage Ravioli, Chicken Enchilada Bake, Chipotle Chicken Mac & Cheese, Fire Grilled Steak, Five Cheese Alfredo Mac with Chicken, Portabella & Goat Cheese Ravioli, Teriyaki Chicken, and Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese. Barilla created a bot and an open-source device for cooking pasta for consumers to use less carbon dioxide. The passive cooking technique of boiling water, adding the pasta, and turning off the stove after two minutes saves up to 80% in CO₂ equivalent emissions. The Passive Cooker is “a smart device that sits on top of a pot’s lid and pairs with the cook’s phone to ping them when they need to turn off their stove and when their pasta is ready.” The Passive Cooking Bot guides consumers with step-by-step instructions through WhatsApp messages.
Carbon Neutral Snacks
Kanira is a new line of wholegrain biscuits created by Indian American entrepreneur Vishal Ramakrishnan. Inspired by the South Asian ritual of starting the day with biscuits and tea, the star ingredient is nutrient-rich and climate smart pearl millet, a superfood native to India. The biscuits are offered in Chai Spice, Coconut & Cardamom, and Turmeric & Ginger flavors. Quinn Foods, LLC known for its savory snacks such as pretzels and popcorn made with better-for-you ingredients and sustainable farming, has earned the Climate Friendly attribute from HowGood. The Climate Friendly label will appear on its snack products in 2023. Amy Keller a member of the Spangler Candy family “is putting a new spin on the family business by attempting to tackle children’s nutrition, global food waste and the climate crisis with Climate Candy.” FAVES candies are the brand’s first contain 96% of unharvested fruits and vegetables, which equals four servings of fruits and veggies. The chewy plant-based candy combines cherry, orange, lemon, and strawberry flavors and is formulated with apple, pumpkin, carrot, cherry, and strawberry purees as well as apple juice, sweet potato powder, and rice flour.
Sustainability is important to consumers and manufacturers with climate change in the limelight. In fragrance and personal care, expect more carbon captured Ethanol to be used in product formulas. Watch as more food and beverage brands reduce their carbon emissions and earn carbon- or climate-neutral certifications.