Marketing, public relations and business development firm Compass Natural has shared its trend insights for the upcoming year, commenting on the issues and events that will be affecting the sustainable food and agriculture markets in 2011.
The company still sees the economy as one of the largest trends, affecting things such as the ability of lower income families to find healthful food alternatives and an increase in private label product sales. Compass Natural notes that natural and organic companies will really have to communicate value and benefits in order to grow. Social networking also continues its popularity, with online presences being a must to attract customers and make industry connections. The awareness of chemicals in the environment will grow, which will lead to a boost for sustainable and healthy food production, and sustainable packaging will continue to be bolstered by new research and innovative materials, as well as collaboration within the industry. Organic gardening and the trend of urban agriculture is rooting itself in 2011, often with natural and organic companies supporting these gardeners, and its effects on climate change continue to be a significant trend. Slow Money, a nonprofit organization designed to invest in sustainable foods and food sources, continues its growth path, and 2011 will also see the growth of the consumer advocacy of animal rights, in addition to interest in—and fervor around—the GMO debate. Of course, sustainability and its relation to the food industry is one of 2011 most basic trends, showing up in everything from agriculture, transportation and equipment to supply chains, packaging, waste and more. Other trends continuing to grow are the amount of acres committed to organic agriculture, as will local and fair trade companies, organizations and supporters. In 2011, people also will see and realize more of the after-effects of cheap food, such as damage to the environment, animals and even human health , and consequently, the trend of more organic young farmers is set to see an increase. These farmers will focus their efforts on small-acre farms supported and encouraged by various industry organizations.