Integral to the food and beverage supply chain, ingredient manufacturers have an important role to play when it comes to sustainability. Lisa Flower from Chr. Hansen looks at how the biosciences company is playing its part. This article first appeared in the August 2021 issue of Food and Drink Business.
The need to shape a more sustainable future for the world and the generations to come is urgent. Challenges such as climate change, food waste, global health and the overuse of antibiotics and pesticides are all pressing issues that society and industry need to address.
Building on more than 145 years of research in microbial science, Chr. Hansen is uniquely positioned to address these challenges and is pioneering microbial science to improve food, health and productivity for a sustainable future. We see envision a future through the Power of Good Bacteria.
Grow a Better World
Addressing some of today’s most pressing challenges such as climate change mitigation, transition to a circular economy and restoration of biodiversity will require a tremendous joint effort from regulators, society and businesses and requires collaboration across many industries, locally and around the world.
At Chr. Hansen, we believe that microbial science and fermentation will be a key enabler in driving this change over the coming decade. By unlocking the Power of Good Bacteria, we contribute to the transition towards a more sustainable food system, a system capable of feeding the growing population while reducing its adverse impact on climate, natural resources, biodiversity and health – all the way from farm to fork.
Our commitment to drive change is reflected in our company purpose “Grow a better world. Naturally.”, which serves as a guiding principle for innovation and decision-making across the company.
Supporting the UN’s SDGs
We have worked strategically with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since 2016. Our key focus is on goals 2, 3 and 12 about sustainable agricultural practices, good health and less food waste, and we have set ambitious targets that guide our work. Each year, we estimate the percentage of our revenue that comes from products supporting one or more of the three UN SDGs. In 2019/20, 84 per cent of our revenue came from products that support one or more of the three SDGs.
The Power of Good Bacteria in Food
It is well known that good bacteria are added to products like milk to make yoghurt and cheese, grapes to make wine and meat to make salami. Further good bacteria, like probiotics are added to food to support health. In fact over one billion people consume of product with a Chr. Hansen ingredient every day.
An area of increasing interest and value to the food & beverage industry is a form of fermentation where bioprotective effect is imparted. Simply put, it is very specific strains of “good” bacteria that when added in large numbers that go on to out-compete “bad” bacteria such as spoilage bacteria or pathogens.
These bacteria add an extra layer of protection. Depending on the application this can result in up to an extra 30 per cent shelf-life. These few extra days of extra shelf life can add thousands of dollars back in lost revenue throughout the distribution chain.
With food waste in Australia costing the economy an estimate $36.6 billion per year, or one in five bags of groceries ending up in the waste, we all have a part to play.
Slow fermentation is nature’s way of keeping food fresh and safe and it is a process that has been happening for thousands of years. Adding cultures for bioprotective effect has been used commercially in the dairy industry for many years, more recent research into microbial science has meant we can now harness and demonstrate value and effectiveness across a wider range of food products.
Perishable foods, including ready to eat salads, ham, smoked salmon and even hot dog frankfurts – food products that have previously relied on artificial preservatives – are emerging areas where the application of these good bacteria is having real impact on safety, freshness and sustainability.
With a bank of more than 40,000 microbial strains, Chr. Hansen has the broadest and best range of cultures are available to make a positive impact on the world around us.