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Global consciousness is rising around the impact of food production and consumption. Food consultant Sharon Natoli looks at this growing driver of consumers’ food purchasing decisions.

Health and wellness have been key factors influencing food preferences for decades. While concern about the impact food choices have on the planet is more recent, it is a rapidly growing addition to the equation. Not only have both of these factors become more mainstream, consumer expectations are also evolving, making it more challenging for food providers to keep up.

The way consumers define food as ‘healthy’ for example, is no longer simply about nutrient content or ingredient adjustments, star ratings or ‘free from’ claims. While these elements will continue to play a role, they are now joined by transparency, locality, storage conditions and seasonality.

Similarly, ‘good for the planet’ is no longer just about organic or recycled packaging. It incorporates concepts such as biodiversity, regenerative agriculture, water and energy usage.

These changes indicate it is timely to consider how we address the many layers consumers are drawing on to determine whether a food is good for them, and the planet, or not. By doing this, food businesses will not only be keeping up with a significantly more informed consumer, but will be in a stronger, more future-ready position.

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