ofi wins at FiEurope
ofi’s Carbon Scenario Planner (CSP), a new digital tool developed to help food and beverage manufacturers model the impact of different scenarios for reducing greenhouse gas emissions has won the 2023 Sustainability Innovation Award at Food Ingredients Europe in Frankfurt. This is the second year in a row that ofi has been awarded this recognition, following last year’s award for its Cocoa COMPASS sustainability strategy.
The CSP allows ofi to model the outcome of different decarbonisation interventions tailored to local contexts, so it can work with its customers to plan and cost out climate actions. It helps ofi customers tackle the complex and challenging issue of Scope 3 emissions which occur in a company’s value chain and make up the bulk of the food and beverage industry’s carbon footprint.
The tool is embedded into ofi’s sustainability management system AtSource, which provides customers with data and insights for use in reporting their environmental, social, and economic impacts.
Defne Saral, SVP and head of sales EMENA at ofi also discussed its dairy trends for 2024 at the show. She noted that the firm is developing concepts to inspire its B2B customers globally. “Joining forces with customers and partners has provided us with the opportunity to drive value across our supply chain in 2023, helping us to meet increasing demand for natural, traceable and sustainable ingredients, reinforced through our customer value proposition.” The firm is using its new Malaysian facilities to help provide the region with affordable dairy ingredients, she observed. This includes whole milk powder, and the firm is looking at collaboration, which will matter more than ever, she notes.
There are also five trends the company sees for 2024:
- A recipe for innovation: Artificial intelligence + insights. As businesses and governments worldwide grapple with the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence, what will it mean for the food industry? AI can play a role in supercharging efforts to create products that surprise and delight consumers. For example, we’re exploring how AI tools can complement the real-world expertise of our innovation teams. ofi’s recent AI-supported study predicted a greater fusion of Eastern and Western flavours in confectionery, bakery, beverages, and snacks.
- The new-founded partnership: Plant-based & dairy. Plant-based has been a focus area of 2023, and consumer demand is expected to remain robust. But with a twist - ofi’s proprietary consumer research revealed that two thirds (67%) of EMENA consumers see plant-based dairy as complementary to dairy products, and “an opportunity to try something new” (65%). It’s worth noting that 58% of German consumers expect their consumption of plant-based products will increase over 2023 and 2024. This evolving consumer mindset of seeing plant-based as complementary to dairy opens up a new approach for the food ingredients industry – it’s no longer a zero-sum game between dairy and plant-based.
- Turning decarbonisation insight into action. 2024 will be another important year for the industry to accelerate the collaborative effort to tackle climate change. Addressing this challenge will rely on sharing and transferring data on emissions and reduction plans. That’s why ofi developed its Carbon Scenario Planner (CSP), built into its sustainability management system AtSource, a tool that won the Sustainability Innovation Award for the second consecutive year at FiE.The CSP allows ofi to model the outcome of different decarbonisation interventions tailored to local contexts, so it can work with customers to plan and cost climate actions. It helps customers tackle the complex and challenging issue of scope 3 emissions, which occur in a company’s value chain and make up the bulk of the food and beverage industry’s carbon footprint. With this degree of data sharing and transparency, together, planning and cost climate actions can be made for maximum impact.
- Regulation to support deforestation progress –New EU deforestation regulation (EUDR) obligations coming into effect at the end of 2024 will help to create a level playing field and strengthen the industry’s efforts to tackle issues ranging from deforestation to carbon emissions. But its success hinges on all the stakeholders working together, from the private sector to national governments and farmer organisations. It is hoped that creating a clear baseline for compliance will also help stimulate more innovation in monitoring issues and encourage all industry players to go further to address deforestation.
- Purpose 2.0 –Purpose has long been a watchword for many food ingredients businesses. Deloitte data from 2023 shows that purpose-driven companies have outperformed the market thanks to increasing consumer demand for transparency from the brands they choose. But with some activist investors questioning the role of purpose in company performance, and increasing consumer scrutiny about the impact claims of food brands, the industry is unpacking purpose with a fresh perspective. Does purpose need to be at the front of brand marketing? What role does it play in brand differentiation? Or should it be focused on how companies operate at an enterprise level?
For ofi, the purpose to be the change for good food and a healthy future sits at the heart of its business operations. Yet purpose is an ever-evolving concept and the needs and expectations of its stakeholders change – as the industry explores its purpose for the future, the key is conversation and collaboration to ensure ofi stays on track to deliver value for customers, communities and the planet.