The food and beverage industry is witnessing a significant shift in strategies. Most leading brands are focusing in part on cause-driven strategies for future business growth.

We recently discussed how changing consumer habits are driving growth for specialty sodas. Health-conscious and ethics-driven consumers want cleaner choices for their beverages, and alternative beverages are replacing sugar-laden soft drinks.

Beverage giants are feeling the heat of these changes while smaller players are adapting fast. The latter are marketing their products as healthier, more natural and locally-sourced. These are big attractions for the new age consumers like millennials.

They are eco-friendly in their business approach as well. Their sustainable supply chains ensure a positive environmental footprint. These new trends are disrupting the food and beverage sector.

What are the giants doing to survive?

Larger players are repositioning their offerings by acquiring healthier brands. One such example is PepsiCo's recent purchase of SodaStream for $3.2 billion. Acquiring newer companies with innovative products shows that they, too, are health- and environmentally conscious.

Similar efforts by competitor brands include Coca-Cola’s minority stake in BodyArmor, a sports drink which uses coconut water, has higher levels of potassium and no artificial colors.

These contemporary trends have affected food businesses as well. The Kraft Heinz Company, for instance, is ensuring that all packaging is recyclable, reusable, or compostable within a decade.

Other brands are keen to help the environment as well. To this end, they are coming up with nutritious, healthy and sustainable strategies like lab-grown meats and biodegradable packaging.

Exciting things are happening in the alcoholic beverage sector as well. Fetzer Vineyards, one of California’s largest wineries, is taking its sustainability initiatives even further. It is the first winery in the state that operates on 100 percent renewable energy and is also the first to receive zero-waste certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Building Council.

It is the largest global brand to earn B Corp certification. The winery’s goal is to eliminate waste from its supply chain is the kind of bold sustainability statement that the consumer wants to see.

New Belgium Brewing Company is another shining example in this sector. It diverts 99.9 percent of its waste from landfills and has achieved platinum certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council. The Colorado-based, employee-owned brewer is continually looking for ways to reduce and eliminate waste.