The planet is warming faster than at any point recorded in history, causing disruptions to weather patterns and posing risks to all life forms on Earth.
Fossil fuels are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for over 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions, according to the United Nations.1
As part of a global effect to reach net zero, over 70 countries, including China and the US, have set net zero targets, covering about 76% of global emissions. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide and methane, to as near to zero as possible by 2050, and by implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it is hoped to limit global warming by 1.5˚C.
With global targets in place to tackle the effects of climate change, the need for companies to operate in evermore sustainable ways has never been greater. In 2020, China pledged to reach carbon neutrality and local governments have since been deployed to create decarbonisation roadmaps to reach the target.
As a result, many companies are working towards carbon neutrality through offsetting emissions made in one sector by reducing them in another. Such ambitions can be achieved by investing in clean technologies, such as renewable energy or energy efficiency.
Against this backdrop of climate change and pressing targets, there is growing consumer awareness around sustainability practices; consumers are ever more aware of the origin and nutritional value of the ingredients in the food they eat and the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies of the companies behind the brands they buy.
The use of genetically modified organisms (GMO), created to resist insect pests, tolerate herbicides or control weeds, is one such practice that has come under close scrutiny. In the US only a few types of GMO crops are grown but some of these make up a large percentage of the crop grown, such as corn, canola and soybeans.2
According to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), more than 95% of animals used for meat and dairy in the US eat GMO crops. Consumers who favor non-GMO foods seek them out for environmental and health reasons, as well as for transparency in food production.
For manufacturers, tuning into evolving consumer perceptions and preferences, and taking a sustainable and transparent approach when it comes to sourcing, can offer valuable opportunities to gain market share and drive growth.
A commitment to sustainable protein
For many years, global yeast and yeast extract manufacturer Angel Yeast has been committed to advancing yeast technology and biotech to support sustainable agriculture and bring healthy and nutritious diets to consumers around the world.
Indeed, the yeast industry can be viewed as the very essence of a circular economy; the sugar cane and beet molasses are the nutrient source of yeast, and the industrial wastewater of yeast production is the source of organic fertilizer for crop production, thereby reducing water consumption and carbon footprint.
Angel Yeast is committed to developing renewable-produced microbial proteins as a credible and necessary substitute for plant and animal protein, now and in the future. Microbial proteins are less land-intensive and more environmentally friendly than animal protein sources, and offer energy-saving solutions to help the world address food security issues.
In recognition of efforts made in clean and sustainable manufacturing, in June 2023 Angel Yeast was awarded the Certificate of Product Carbon Footprint for Yeast Protein AngeoPro F80, a vegan-friendly, allergen-free, natural-origin yeast protein solution to boost overall taste profiles and complement plant-based protein sources.
The achievement is the result of the company’s ongoing pursuit toward sustainable development. As part of the company’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint across the company’s business operation, Angel Yeast has long focused on exploring alternative ways to minimize carbon dioxide emissions. These include deploying a range of clean energy solutions to upgrade factory facilities, transitioning from fossil-fuel energy sources to increasingly cleaner, sustainable and renewable energy procurement, such as biomass-produced steam, installing solar panels and recycling methane from wastewater.
In 2021, Angel Yeast completed 28 technological transformation projects to reduce emissions, cutting a total of 19,700 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, and recycled a total amount of 16.89 million cubic meters of methane.
And in June 2022, Angel Yeast was among the first 71 companies to be granted the green electricity certificate in the Hubei province, China, as part of the country’s national scheme to accelerate more sustainable operations toward a circular economy. At this time, Angel Yeast signed an agreement to purchase 20% of the electricity used by its Yichang-based factory generated by solar and wind power, to offset 6,447 tons of carbon dioxide.
Aligning on brand values
In addition, in August 2023, the company also received Non-GMO Certification for six of its products: Yeast Protein F81 and F81; Yeast Extract KU227, KU248 and KU242; and Inactive Dried Yeast NY503. Issued by the Non-GMO Project, a non-profit organization which is committed to building and preserving food supply for all, its Non-GMO Butterfly label allows consumers the freedom to decide for themselves whether to consumer GMOs.
For food manufacturers, ingredients with Non-GMO verification indicates a commitment to a transparent, natural, non-GMO food system, and have the potential to raise a product’s appeal to retailers and consumers who share those brand values.
Meeting the growing global demand for protein is a pressing issue. As Angel Yeast continues to lead the way with a blueprint for renewable-powered microbial protein products, manufacturers who embrace such greener practices and clean technologies can help to steer the industry toward a more sustainable future.
1. United Nations Causes and Effects of Climate Change.
2. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). GMO Crops, Animal Food, and Beyond. (August 2022).