We hear words such as “consumerism” or “consumption” more and more and I cannot help myself from wondering how our food consumption affects the environment and the people at global level. There have been many talks on how to make food consumption “sustainable”. This implies that the amount and quality of the food we consume should be considered and that consumption should be done through means that are sustainable from economic, social, cultural and environmental perspectives.
But to what extent do we actually strive to do that? The society that we live in shows that there is still a long way to go. According to UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, we lose about 1/3 of the global amount of food that is produced every year for our consumption. Food waste reaches an incredible number – 1.3 billion tonnes.
Here are some more facts that we should keep in mind about food consumption:
1. Poor people in developing countries often spend 60-80% of their income on food.
2. 75% of the world’s food is generated from only 12 plants and 5 animal species.
3. 165 million people suffer from childhood malnutrition.
4. More than 9 out of 10 farms in the world are family farms and they provide more than 80% of the world’s food supply.
5. By 2030, global food demand is expected to rise by 35%.
6. By 2030, only 1 in 7 people are expected to be consuming less than 2,500 calories per day.
7. Insects are among the most efficient forms of food available.
8. The food we eat can travel between approximately 2500 and 5000 km from farms to our dinner plate.
9. Grains make up 45% of the world’s diet.
10. Fair trade goods can be bought in 55,000 supermarkets across Europe.
We can choose what and how we consume. In order to live in a sustainable way, we can choose the food that is good for us, for the society and for our planet. Below you can find some tips on how you can make your food consumption more effective and how to avoid wasting your food:
Buy only the food that you really need. Shopping lists can help you not only save time or money, but also keep you focused on buying the produce that you plan to eat or cook in the following days/weeks.
Buy local products as much as possible. Look for farmers’ markets, local stores, eco-farms close to where you live. The products, especially if it’s fruits or vegetables, might not look picture-perfect as in supermarkets – that is actually even better and healthier!
Find out which fruits and vegetables are in season. You will enjoy their taste much more and you will also have a great feeling of satisfaction being in “harmony” with nature’s cycle.
Cook at home, avoid eating out. As you cannot check how restaurants prepare your food, manage waste or treat employees, why not make a delicious meal the way you want it to be? You can make the planning in advance so you know what to buy or you can simply use leftovers you have at home.
Think what you can do with what you cannot eat before throwing it away. Put extra food in the freezer, share with someone or bring it to a food collection point (if possible).
Before closing this article, check out this Food Waste Assistant for your first steps in reducing waste and consuming in a sustainable way.
by Roxana Nica
 https://www.one.org/us/2014/11/12/14-surprising-stats-about-global-food-consumption/, http://yeenet.eu/index.php/what-you-can-do/why-do-we-care-/953-consumerism