29 Feb Searching for Sustainable Snacks in Chicago
Chicago consumers need a bit of help learning about the snacks and beverages they consume, at least according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2019 Food and Health Survey. Determining attributes like price, convenience and taste is relatively easy to do, but it turns out, understanding if a snack or beverage was sustainably produced is a lot harder.
Being able to figure out if a product or its ingredients were sustainably grown or manufactured is necessary. In fourth place, behind taste (86 percent), price (68 percent) and convenience (57 percent), sustainability (54 percent) is an important factor when it comes to making a purchasing decision. Unfortunately, most individuals don’t have a clear understanding of sustainability, as was seen in the study.
The same 54 percent of participants held a variety of beliefs about what makes a product environmentally sustainable, creating confusion. The following list includes the top six interpretations of the term environmentally sustainable.
- locally produced products: 51 percent
- products labeled as sustainably produced: 47 percent
- products labeled as non-GMO/not bio-engineered: 47 percent
- products labeled as organic: 44 percent
- products that have recyclable packaging: 41 percent
- products that have minimal packaging: 35 percent
With 63 percent of the survey participants also agreeing that it is hard to know if a product is environmentally sustainable, the confusion about the definition of environmentally sustainable makes sense. But a definition does exist.
According to the U.N.’s Brundtland Commission on sustainable development, “sustainable development [meets] the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This definition may be complicated, but there are several ways Chicago employees can take small steps toward choosing more sustainable products.
The first is to determine if snacks or beverages are sustainable by looking for the following certifications: USDA Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Humane Raised and Handled, Fair Trade USA Certified and Rainforest Alliance Certified. Another approach is to learn about a brand and the specific types of ingredients that brand uses.
Sustainable farmers and brands have an opportunity to help educate customers about their ethics and farming practices. If employees trust a specific manufacturer or brand and the ingredients that are used, those employees are more likely to repeatedly purchase those snacks and beverages.
Chicago employers can also have an impact by offering environmentally sustainable and healthy products in their break room micro-markets or vending machines. Whether it’s healthy or traditional snacks and cold beverages, fresh food or coffee service, at Fox Vending, we make it easier for local businesses to offer a combination of products that will meet all their employees’ refreshment needs.
For more information about customizing a new refreshment menu or upgrading your current one, please call us at (800) 694-2800.