Already a major concern in Asia, where the sight of people wearing people wearing facemasks is all too common, air pollution will start to become a daily worry for Europeans.
Recent smog hazes in Paris, for instance, have drawn attention to the severity of the problem in Europe but Mintel puts it even more bluntly: “Consumers are wising up to the killer in their midst," it says, "with the World Health Organisation reporting that 4.3 million deaths occur each year from exposure to household (indoor) air pollution and 3.7 million deaths each year are attributable to outdoor air pollution.”
The more obvious opportunities are in categories such as personal care – beauty brands will bring out more hair and skin products that protect against pollutants in the air – and household appliances such as air purifiers. But food manufacturers can also answer demands for food that has been sourced in a pollution-free environment.
“In food and drink, we’ll see ‘eat yourself clean’ concepts with brands positioning superfoods as immunity boosters, as well as others championing their pure sourcing from unpolluted areas, which is standard for bottled waters, but beginning to emerge in sectors like fish and meat,” says Mintel.
French brand Labeyrie's 'Grande Tradition' smoked Scottish salmon, for instance, markets itself as being selected from sites known for their quality of water, “heralding a new era of sourcing from unpolluted areas.”
“The bad press for meat as a pollutant and the need for greenery will bring more championing of vegetarian diets, more plant-based packaging, edible packaging from groups like Wikifoods, plant fabrics and recycled plant waste like coffee grains used as biofuel.”
At IFT this year, Innova Market Insights’ top packaging innovations came from products that used waste materials such as coconut fibres, or coconut water sold in the original coconut husk.
Meanwhile foodservice operators are already tapping into this growing consumer consciousness with eco-friendly delivery systems, such as by bicycle.