Circular economy is a hot buzzword right now - and for good reason. It’s essential we reduce the impact of consumption. But circular economies are not just industry-level initiatives. Nor are they just another sustainability box for companies to tick. Circular economy solutions are an opportunity for business to improve processes and increase profitability, while delivering on what the modern consumer wants - smarter, better solutions that respect our world.
If you’ve been hearing a lot about circular economies, you’re probably like many who feel they are something that has to be implemented at a systems or industry-wide level. In reality, circular solutions are something any company can create, within their business of today! And the pressure for businesses to move from linear to circular production is rising. Resources are getting scarcer. Becoming more inventive with what already exists is the necessary way forward.
The old model of consumerism is also dying off. Frugality and swapping ‘experiences with ownership’ are new mantras. But it’s not just about what people buy - it's also about who they buy from. Consumer values, motivations and habits are changing. They expect companies to create new power partnerships, driving positive change forward together. The good news is, these mindset changes provide opportunities for circular economy companies to align themselves better with leading-edge consumers, with the mainstream following suit.
Why are circular economies relevant for the nutrition industry?
Nutritional products are present in each and every consumer’s life every day – a logical place where smart initiatives can create a big impact. By nature, nutrition is a high-production industry driven by daily consumption, putting strong onus on the industry to actively reduce its impact. But higher production also offers more opportunities for circular solutions.
Reusing and repurposing waste has been the big starting area for business-instigated circular solutions in food - from repurposing wasted or “ugly” food (eg. Imperfect Produce), to new businesses that transform waste materials into totally new products (eg. ReGrained). Creating circular solutions in the waste area alone offers companies many opportunities to gain cost savings, increase efficiencies and create valuable new partnerships. However, food waste is just the starting point. To explore the wider possibilities for nutrition businesses, a first step is to look into the circular economy business models.
Everybody wins in the circular economy
Circular economies have the potential to be a win-win for everyone - including business! It can feel easier to continue within the familiar linear model of production...but once you embrace circular thinking, you step into a world of new ideas and possibilities. It’s new, fertile ground for extending and growing your business. Reducing costs, creating new businesses and revenue streams, improving production efficiencies and strengthening consumer relationships are just some ways businesses can win with circular solutions.
Designing circular economy solutions requires creativity and a new mindset. Start by taking a fresh look at your business and asking questions like these -
- Get resourceful within your business of today
Adopt a zero-waste point of view: What do you throw away today? How/where else could it be used? Who else could benefit from it?
- Think about post-consumption life-cycle continuation
Create a next life for your products: What secondary purpose could your product waste or packaging have? What could it be used for – and who could it help?
- Consider where you and others can share value for greater efficiency and cost savings
Connect the dots with others: Can you utilise someone else’s side-streams somehow? Where and how could you share finances and resources?Need help to find circular solutions within your business? We can help! Get in touch & let’s chat.