This is the 12th launch of the newsletter and today you will learn about sustainable products, focusing on food (local products and Zero Kilometre). We will present:
1. What are the “Kilometer 0” products and where can we find them?
2. Its evolution and growth at an economic and social level.
3. Examples of companies that carry it out
It is presented by: Ana del Cerro, Guillermo Baeza, Pablo Area, Clement Piette, and Jorge Espín, students at the University of Carlos III de Madrid.
The following companies are mentioned:
Hope you enjoy it!
Today's newsletter is 1250 words, a 10-minute read
What are the “Kilometer 0” products and where can we find them?
Kilometre 0 products are those that have travelled a distance of less than 100 km from their place of collection to the plaintiff's plate, this is the main feature that we see in this kind of product and what differentiates them from the products that we are used to in supermarkets. To recognize a km 0 product, you need to check the label of it, unfortunately, sometimes it is not possible to have it.
The boom in the consumption of these products is related to the Slow Food movement. This movement defends the idea of buying and consuming food products taking into account sustainable development, care for the environment, fair trade and ethical commitment to the producers and artisans of our environment. Besides, the consumption of these products brings many benefits for human beings, like health reasons, a better taste, fewer preservatives; and also for the environment, because they reduce pollution due to the low cost of transportation.
A very controversial case regarding this issue is the importation of food produced in other geographical areas that can reduce the total cost, as happens with oranges from Valencia, which now the collectors throw away because supermarkets to reduce their purchases and increase their margins decide to buy them from Morocco.
However, other examples are not that controversial. Ibiza, the Spanish Island, has different dishes that are cooked with 100% local products because all the elements of those are grown, produced and consumed in Ibiza. Marbella, in the South of Spain, many restaurants only work with this type of food.
For an item to be considered Kilometer 0 it must meet several characteristics, so we can highlight that they have to be produced and consumed within a fairly close radius, being considered that it can not be more than 100 km. At the same time, they can only be seasonal products. In addition, they are organic products, that is to say, their production and transport process follows regulations that guarantee that they are natural foods, to which no chemical or toxic products have been added.
Finally, we must add that the whole process of production and transport of these products is carried out with the utmost care and protection of the environment.
After reading all of this you might be wondering where you can acquire all these products, and the answer is very easy: in the local markets (these places usually don’t have any intermediaries or they have just a few of them), in the cooperatives, and in the wine cellars. Moreover, in the supermarkets, you might find some of these products just by analyzing the label of each product in order to check their origin.
Sustainable products evolution and growth
Nowadays, more and more people are following the trend of recent years to start buying more sustainably. Below, we will present a series of data that show the increase in consumer awareness of the origin of the products they consume and, consequently, the increase in sales and volume of zero kilometre products.
The first fact that shows this change in trend is that 45% of the population shows an exhaustive interest in knowing the origin of the products they consume (meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, etc.). People are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of planting fruit and vegetables, so they prefer to buy local products whose transport is much less polluting due to the shorter distances involved.
Another interesting fact about the consumption of this type of product in Spain is that 67% of consumers now opt for zero-kilometre products, and 59% of supermarket customers opt for local fruit and vegetables. All these trends have led to a fall in the consumption of red meat (-33%) and an increase in the purchase of products such as meat made from vegan protein, as well as so-called "Bio" products (8.4% annually).
From: NYU STERN
In this graph from the NYU STERN report published in 2019, we can see how the consumption of sustainable products has been growing over the years. It is not a massive growth, although it is sustained over time (29.14% from 2013 to 2018), it gives us an idea that this is a trend that will continue to grow in the coming years as the population's awareness continues to grow.
More data reinforces the upward trend that has just been presented. The Spanish group IPG Mediabrands Group published in its Wave X - Remix Culture report that consumers will increase their purchases of eco-fresh products in the next three years by 23% and 13% will opt for non-fresh eco-products.
From a strategic point of view, this is a practice that many companies should start to implement due to the growing importance that sustainable products have in society, as has been analysed. Every day more and more customers are concerned about the origin of the products they consume, and many companies can undoubtedly gain competitive advantages by working with local products that minimise the impact on the environment.
Examples of companies that carry it out
Here are some companies that are 100% or nearly 100% adopting these values of selling local products that have travelled a minimum number of miles.
The "d'ici" store
The first "d'ici" store launched in 2013 in Belgium is defined as an innovative and meaningful project that is part of a positive and collective approach. In order to do so, the store makes sure to buy as much as possible from local producers. The store, in its approach to zero km products, gives information to customers on the producers such as the name of the producer, the place of production and the kilometres travelled between this place and the store.
In addition to showcasing their 200+ local producers on their website, producers sometimes come into the store to present their products and talk directly with the end consumer to further educate customers about the local nature of the products the store offers for sale.
Nevertheless, it is complicated to source only local products. Indeed, although the project is part of a local product approach, it cannot exclude products that are in high demand but not local, such as bananas.
The objective of this company is to bring the ethylene absorption system that allows extending the freshness of fruits and vegetables to the final consumer. This company aims to reduce food waste and promote the sustainability of the planet, complying with one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda.
This SDG aims to have global per capita food waste in retail and consumption by 2030, as well as food losses in the production and distribution chains, including post-harvest losses.
That is how the philosophy and product of Naturpod were born, a manufacturer of natural clay capsules that absorb ethylene gas, which arises with the rapid ripening of fruits and vegetables, and eliminates it from the inside of the domestic refrigerator drawer intended for vegetables.
The Naturpod system differs from other existing systems in that it is totally sustainable and Km 0. On the one hand, the capsules are sustainable and compostable and, most importantly, they are not invasive with food because they do not release any type of substance. On the other hand, the research and development (R&D) laboratory where the product is made is located in Baix Llobregat and the ecological packaging is manufactured in Maresme, in a company in Cambrils.
We will like to recommend:
📹 A video: “The impact of buying local food”
📖 An article: Sustainable food is better for the environment, from CUESA
🎙️ An episode: “Promoting alternative proteins”