The food industry has been criticised plenty in recent years, both for their social and their environmental damaged caused. Just think of the outcry over the palm oil in KitKat caused by the Greenpeace campaign. Although it has become fashionable for food producers to be green, their performance on sustainability issues is not very convincing. To clarify the many misleading claims on advertising and products, there is an increasing number of labels, rankings and standards, companies have to comply with.
Why is what we eat relevant for the discussion about sustainable consumption? Food is a topic many people relate to sustainability issues, because the media has spent a lot of time sensitising us. The coverage includes topics from animal welfare and food waste over carbon and water footprints to packaging and the conventional vs. organic debate. Companies have now stared publishing sustainability reports and run ad campaigns on their sustainability efforts. Unfortunately, this does not mean that we can lean back and just buy anything on the shelves now. Many of these reports are ambiguous and misleading, so is the use of labels and claims on products. Being an informed consumer is more important than ever, now that companies create their own organic labels with unclear standards to keep their customers happy. We will show you labels you can trust and alternative local outlets where you can buy your groceries sustainably and help save the planet. We will do this by talking a closer look at individual issues, discuss labels in detail and showing you sustainable alternatives you can include in your shopping habits.
Here are some clues you can you look for, when you want to consume sustainable food:
- regional food/transport by plane/country of origin
- seasonal/green house production/cold storage from last season
- fair-trade efforts and labels
- animal welfare and certification; ASC, MSC, etc.
- certified organic food (e.g. German certification, EU certification, demeter, naturland)
We will also cover some more background information on why food has such a high impact of the environment through topics like:
- the damaging effects of superfoods and regional alternatives
- why organic production matters for you and the planet (and common myths)
- water and carbon footprints
- pros and cons of vegetarian/vegan diet