When speaking about food processing, the concept of sustainability suggests that the process should:

  1. be based on raw materials that can be produced on an ongoing basis without undue environmental, social or economic harm;
  2. not be reliant, in the long term, on finite energy sources;
  3. produce products that will not adversely affect human health 

There are several key drivers for sustainable food processing, and some are:

Among many reasons, this is because food production and processing are essential to the global economy and to the health and welfare of citizens.

This driver is a more future looking one, as the economic and social cost of supplying excessive amounts of processed food to limited sections of the population can ultimately be the main driver to shift from market-centered food chains to sustainability driven.

Food processing and distribution are large greenhouse gas emitters and the knock on effect of change in water availability is also a key driver for sustainable food processing.

Food consumption is causing resource depletion impacts which are arising. While not directly caused by food processing, are driven by processing because of the demand for the ingredients with specific characteristics all year round.

It is clear that processing actions must not affect the environment, and tools like the Life Cycle Assessment can help in diminishing this risk.

This will be a key driver in the future as labels are becoming an integral part of consumer knowledge and awareness towards sustainability