Sustainability, central axis in the demand of the “new consumers” of food

The agricultural engineer and director of the Bioeconomy Program of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), Fernando Vilella, highlighted the importance that the aspects related to sustainability have in the “new consumers”, and described them as a “substantive element when making decisions”, when speaking at the cycle “Trends in Global Food Demand”, organized virtually by the Argentine Center of Engineers (CAI).

“In the first place, projects cannot be separated from Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) nor of the Paris Agreement. This is a general framework in any activity so that it has viability from the point of view of the consumer and financing ”, assured the specialist during the talk that was moderated by the president of the CAI, Pablo Bereciartúa, and the agronomist and journalist Hector Huergo.

Vilella described that there is “New consumers” globally, which has health as one of its main concerns and choose to “Products with low environmental impact, close and ecological”, that prioritize animal welfare. “Because, certification and traceability are central forward, “he said.

However, he indicated that many of the trends associated with health, to which these people pay particular attention, many times “They don’t even have a scientific basis.”

“There is an issue to understand, about how the heads of these consumers work, that being informed, perhaps they are not experts. So that pseudo information is perhaps the subject of stories that are not necessarily supported, “he added.

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These new customers also put the focus on the practicality of food and the consumption of processed products to increase functionality. They also want to experiment and take pleasure “in exotic flavors.”

Another central element, according to Vilella, has to do with knowledge. “If there are no human resources trained and aligned with the great international trends, we will have difficulties to insert ourselves with a level of quality in line. Technological scientific systems must also be associated with development ”.

Livestock and greenhouse effect

Likewise, the expert indicated that to reduce the emission of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) in livestock there are technological alternatives with meat substitutes. Another question that is changing is how food is accessed. For example, young Chinese “are moving to apartments where they have no kitchen, only the appliance for heating.”

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In this context, Argentina’s field carbon footprint is 62% lower than that calculated by the INIA of Spain, 59% lower than that of AHDB for the United Kingdom and 27% lower than that calculated for Australia. “The opportunities for the national system are unsatisfied markets, the smallest environmental footprint, the possibility of incorporating new products and the availability of balanced feed inputs.”

“The technologies that will be used in 4 decades are not known, what is known is that we will have to continue eating”, He indicated.

Regarding proteins, he explained that the demand is very diverse depending on the region. “The country that consumes the most meats is the United States, where are the substitutes showing up of them, like meat-like industrialized vegetable products, “he commented.

“The US is above the 120 kilos per capita per year adding cattle, pigs, chickens, and sheep. There is a very close second step, made up of Argentina, New Zealand and Australia, around 115 kilos ”, said Vilella.

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