Author: Eva Hoogstins

UN Climate Panel: We Must Change the Way in Which We Manage Land

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations’ climate panel, released a special report on the relationship between climate change and land.

​Global food security will be increasingly affected by climate change. If global warming is not slowed down quickly, food shortages may arise in the second half of the century, due to declining harvests (especially in the tropics), rising food prices, declining food value of crops and disruptions in supply chains. An imminent danger is the increasing deforestation of the tropical rainforests, which are an important repository of CO2 and play a vital role in the global climate system.

At least a third of climate change solutions can be achieved with better land use, the report says. Through more sustainable farming methods, with less use of fertilizers and chemicals, more careful handling of soils, protection and restoration of forests and wetlands. And of course by eating less meat and wasting less food (a third of the food worldwide is wasted).

 

 

 

Read more here.

WWF-UK And Knorr Join Hands For Future 50 Foods Report

The World Wildlife Fund UK, together with Knorr, Unilever’s leading food brand, published the Future 50 Foods report. The report features a collection of plant-based foods from around the world that enhance the nutritional value of meals while reducing the environmental impact of the food industry.

Unilever emphasizes that 75% of our food globally comes from just 12 crops and 5 species, while there are over 20,000 known edible plant species. This impacts diversity in our diet, as well as plant and animal diversity.

Read more here.

Development Of A Monitoring System To Measure Sustainability Of Consumer Products

The Sustainability Consortium has developed a global monitoring system for measuring the sustainability of consumer products.  With this system, sustainability can be measured consistently, integrally and continuously. This method is also being implemented in the Netherlands. This is done by Wageningen Economic Research in collaboration with many other companies.

 

Read more here (in Dutch).

Is Vertical Farming The Future?

More than 70 percent of the world’s water supply goes to the agricultural sector and in the U.S. alone, more than 300 million kilos of pesticides are used each year. Climate influences also cause farmers to have unpredictable harvests.

In New York, Bowery uses (formerly) unusable industrial buildings to grow more than 100 varieties of lettuce in so-called vertical farms. The heads of lettuce are planted indoors in vertical rows, so the harvest per square meter is many times higher than with traditional cultivation. They have managed to have a constant harvest throughout the year while using 95 percent less water and no pesticides. Bowery believes their way of growing is a scalable, sustainable way to grow more types of food for a healthier environment and a better future.

 

Read more here.

Investors Call For Change In The Food Industry

New reports show that climate change exacerbates the health problems of malnutrition, obesity and other diet-related diseases. Major investors have joined the growing group of health professionals and scientists calling for radical changes in agriculture and food consumption to combat climate change, malnutrition and obesity. Specifically, fast food companies such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut are being called upon to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. While other sectors are making their systems more eco-neutral to emit less co2, the global food industry is lagging behind and even putting pressure on governments to keep sustainability out of dietary guidelines.

 

Read more here.

Can Carbon Labels Make Food Consumption More Sustainable?

25 years ago food packaging started displaying its nutritional contents. It has since become possible to check the calorie, sugar, salt, and fat content of food or drinks. This lead to a change in consumption. According to research, the introduction of nutritional labelling reduced consumers’ intake of calories by almost 7% and total fat by over 10%.

But this isn’t enough for consumers anymore. There’s a demand for another type of food label as people become increasingly concerned about climate change, and conscious of how they’re contributing to it. Recently we have seen examples of food brands adding their carbon footprint to the packaging.  Just Salad recently announced it will display the carbon footprint of every item on its online menu, making it the first restaurant chain in the U.S. to do so. We have also seen similar initiatives from brands like Quorn, Oatly and Upfield.

The carbon lifecycle of a food includes agriculture, such as fertilizers, manures that emit gases, land conversion that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and livestock digestion; transportation, packaging and food processing. According to the research, vegan foods tend to have a lower carbon footprint than animal products. Currently, food production contributes to 26% of global carbon emissions, and there’s no doubt that emissions on this scale are fundamentally changing natural ecosystems, and reducing biodiversity and ecological resilience.

There’s hope that having carbon labels on food will help encourage change on an individual level, and that it will help educate consumers to eat a more environmentally friendly diet. One study found that the labels showing environmental information improved the carbon footprint of a person’s diet by around 5%, compared to standard food labels.

Adding a carbon footprint indicator to a product can help to clarify the environmental impact. But…. there are two concerns. First of all, just how tangible is this figure on the pack of your oatmilk?​

As long as is there is no generally accepted standard the figures remain vague. Consumers have no conception of .35 KG CO2 E/KG means. A standard maximum daily ‘intake’ advice could be helpful, just as most of us know that we need to keep calories below 2.000/2.500.

Second, there is no comparison possible as long as products that you want to compare to are not labeled. If brands want consumers to make more sustainable choices the carbon footprint of all the option that are compared should be available. As long as there is no legal obligation to mention the carbon footprint of a product only the brands with a favourable carbon footprint will mention it on their packaging, making it seems like yet another ‘quality stamp’. And this might eventually lead to more confusion instead of clarity for consumers.

Mcdonald’s Ceo Says Vegan Options Are Coming To The U.S.

McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski revealed that the fast-food chain is getting vegan options. The executive made the comment during an interview with CNBC. Although a launch date and details were not given, he notes that he “certainly expects to see plant-based on the McDonald’s menu.”

The international fast-food giant has already launched plant-based options at stores across the globe. In 2017, McDonald’s Finland trialed the “McVegan” veggie burger. The vegan patty was soy-based and could be ordered with vegan fries.
The “McVegan” burger was highly successful. The company revealed that it sold 150,000 units in one month. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response, McDonald’s Finland permanently added the “McVegan” to its menus across the country. McDonald’s Sweden also added the vegan burger to its menu. Locations throughout Sweden also offer plant-based falafel nuggets.

Seaweed Can Replace 5.6 Million Lay Hens By 2030

Large-scale seaweed cultivation in the North Sea could produce as much protein as 5.6 million laying hens by 2030. A quick scan by Natuur & Milieu shows this. In this way, seaweed can play a good role in the protein transition: replacing animal proteins with vegetable proteins on our plates. Cultivation has further sustainability benefits: it is expected to improve biodiversity and offers potential for green gas. However, the development of the sector requires support.

The quick scan describes ecological preconditions, production methods, business cases, obstacles and recommendations. In short, everything to accelerate the consumption of seaweed.

Read more here (in Dutch).

Our mission is to help accelerate the transition to a more sustainable food system, by including the consumer as equally relevant stakeholder.

We offer accessible and clear consumer insights that help all actors in the food chain to effectively support & seduce the consumer to make the sustainable food choice.

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