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Carbon free Enviro labelling : Are we prepared for emerging consumer trends?

I hope all of you are safe and fine with your near and dear ones. The dairy scenario in India is following the doctrine of mirror neurons. History is repeating itself and farmgate milk prices have already plummeted in double digits. The milk supply chain has yet not been impacted like last year . But rural India is facing the wrath of pandemic for the first time. A few companies in south India only have reduced prices for market milk .

A recent article expressed the apprehensions of Indian dairy sector being culled out by the global players . It will be on account of green-house gas (GHG) emissions of Indian cattle. We could always have a reasonable and legitimate defence by giving lots of examples . By proving that the developed world being a bigger culprit than us in GHG emissions.

Eco Labels

Consumerism is the king .The current trends worldwide are showing a positive attitude towards ecolabels and the environmental footprint behind a food. As per a study done in the EU , 57% of EU consumers look for such environmental labels while buying foods. Agriculture linked food chains contribute to around 25% of all GHG emissions.In the absence of firm regulatory, not many manufacturers are opting for climate linked labeling of their foods.

It is also an interesting point to note that a large segment of consumers do not even trust the climate change related information. They even believe that there is no human hand of any sorts in climate change.
Further research has interestingly unleashed that the carbon footprint of food is of some interest to the food consumers. Carbon scoring  is slated to be the next big thing in food labeling. Carbon emissions are also becoming an area of concern for manufacturers and retailers. They could always highlight the decreasing levels of Carbon emission with their efforts and build positioning around that.

Carbon Life cycle assessments

The stakeholders have begun   Life cycle assessment (LCA)  of their food chain . It is done to  forecast the time frame in which they would become carbon free. Research studies are indicating that a large population of consumers are shifting their choices to the brands which could help them reduce carbon emissions.
A recent research study by Mckinsey about  the emerging trends in post covid era revealed that ;

“Pursuit of health and wellness continues to be on consumers’ minds; 42 percent of consumers that purchased more dairy alternatives during the pandemic than before did so based on perceived health benefits. A 14 percent increase from 37 percent in 2019. Similarly, an eye toward sustainability as a reason to purchase products increased significantlyIt is with dairy consumers focused on both carbon emissions and packaging.”

Is the regulator ready ?

Are the regulatory around the world is ready for such claims on the label? Regulatory authorities of the developed world, especially USA, EU, etc have developed green books or green guides for the processors to validate their claims. Such consumer trends are not too far away from South asian markets like India, China, Thailand, etc. Covid though has slowed down life but sped up the changes in consumer behaviour. So isn’t it high time for Indian food regulatory and other stakeholders to start preparing for the environmental labelling on food for the future.

A blog by Kuldeep Sharma , Chief editor Dairynews7x7.com

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