We’re big believers in the idea that sustainability starts at home. Whether that’s literally – like with our award-winning Zero Carbon Smart Homes – or in everyday decision making, like the food we consume and the clothes we buy, these choices add up to create a brighter future: for us, our communities and our planet.
In the world of food and drink, in particular, there is a palpable pressure to innovate. And, as a result, the industry is becoming host to enterprising disruptors who are operating with a distinct awareness of and passion for sustainability which sets them ahead of the pack – and we can’t help but be inspired. So we’ve whittled down the best of the best to give you our list of the environmentally friendly food trends we’re most excited about:
Straws that don’t suck: bamboo straws are on the rise as we witness a plastic backlash. Photo credit: @highonwholesome
The plastic straw debate has brought the issue of disposable packaging into sharp focus, with innovators who can provide a sustainable and stylish alternative receiving a warm welcome to the market.
Just search #pointlessplastics on Instagram or Twitter to track packaging pitfalls and subsequent consumer outrage. Just be prepared to be offended by the frivolity – cue individually wrapped single-use shower gels marketed as a low-cost gift.
But dire situations often provide a hotbed for innovation, and this can be seen in reassuring form across the food and drink industry: from tropical-island style reusable bamboo straws to Ooho’s edible seaweed water pouches which leave no trace.
Bread beer, anyone? Toast is making acclaimed ale out of would-be bread waste
Edible upcycling & ugly produce:
As part of his manifesto, Douglas McMaster of the UK’s first zero-waste restaurant Silo states that ‘Waste is a failure of the imagination’. And proof of this statement is in evident supply in the edible upcycling industry, as the waste or byproducts from one product are inventively used to make another.
That old British favourite, beer is proving popular at both ends of the chain, as we’re seeing the highly nutritious grain used in the beer-making process find a new home in hipster granola bars at ReGrained, while surplus bread is being used to make the acclaimed ale over at Toast.
And several enterprising restaurants are harnessing would-be waste and turning it into exceptional dishes. At the epicentre of this trend is wastED: based in New York and founded by food activist and chef/patron of Blue Hill restaurants Dan Barber. wastED seriously shook things up and expanded imaginations when it came to London with a Selfridges pop-up last year. On the menu? Creations like waffle-scrap treacle tarts with failed popcorn ice cream, juice-pulp bacon cheeseburgers, and delectable dishes championing neglected produce like cocoa-pod husks, stale pastries, “barista milk” leftover from steamers, jamon drippings, ugly tortillas, fish bones and repurposed bread.
The classic burger, just not as you know it. Impossible Foods brings the world’s most believable faux burger to the masses
Although admittedly delicious, the inconvenient truth is that meat is an enormous burden on global resources: with scientists stating that livestock and their byproducts are responsible for 51% of the greenhouse gases in the world.
And while veganism and plant-based diets are certainly edging into the mainstream, there is also a need for sustainably sourced proteins which fill the void left by meat. Silicon Valley’s answer to this need is Impossible Foods and its now-famous 100% plant-based burger that looks, tastes, sizzles and bleeds (yes, bleeds) like real meat. The start-up attributes their burger’s stealthy convincingness to a magic ingredient called “heme”, which they describe as: ‘an iron-containing molecule that occurs naturally in every single plant and animal’, and which they recreate sustainably and add generously to each of their patties.
Elsewhere you’ll see entomophagy – the practice of insect-eating – slowly creeping into Western markets. A highly sustainable source of lean protein (which is proving popular with adopters of the Paleo diet), insects are being brought to the adventurous via insect flours, protein bars and snacks from the likes of EXO and Grub.
Thinking of embracing sustainable living? Take a peek at our new Zero Carbon Smart Home development on the beautiful Cornish coast.