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How Does Food Transparency Contribute to Sustainability?

Though food transparency is incredibly important for consumers and the relationship between consumers and the food industry, it may also be the key to making the industry more sustainable. Food transparency basically means that the consumer has access to information and where their food came from, how it was grown/raised, what processing it went through, etc.. This has become a very popular idea in recent years as people are becoming more aware of the foods that they are buying. The rise for eco-friendly, free-range, grass fed, pesticide-free products has grown tremendously over the last decade because consumers are becoming more conscious of the choices that they are making and how it affecting their bodies and the environment. If food transparency is able to be developed to a further level of detail, it could be a key part in making the industry more sustainable. If consumers were able to see the steps that their food went through before arriving to the grocery store in more specific detail, they would have a lot more information to base their decision on. For example, if consumers could see what carbon footprint of the head of lettuce they want to buy was, they would most likely choose the one with the lowest carbon footprint. Because of this, other lettuce farmers and manufacturers who have a higher carbon footprint will have incentive to become more sustainable because more people would want to buy their products. This would consequently happen to virtually every product at the grocery store, shifting the whole industry to be more sustainable as a result of consumer demand. Another aspect of transparency is accountability. If the industry is completely transparent and consumers are able to see everything a certain company is doing, they can hold them accountable for the things that they are or are not doing. The transparency will force companies to uphold their promises because they will have no way of hiding their actions if they do not follow through. This will also lead to a more sustainable industry as companies would have serious incentive to follow through with their sustainability plans. There are systems and programs being developed with this goal in mind, which will be intriguing to see when they become available to the market!