Top measures to improve global food systems, eat more sustainably, by WWF

*United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres says ‘it is time to change how we produce and consume’

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In spite of the reportedly increasing world hunger, many people still throw away one billion tonnes of food a year, totalling about $1 trillion on wasted foods, says food sharing charity Olio.

ConsumerConnect reports as the world hunger continues to rise, and peoples are still throwing away a billion tonnes of food yearly, experts say it is not too late to switch our habits, though, and make a positive impact.

In view of this development, the United Nations (UN) is convening a summit this year to improve global food systems for the good of humanity.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said: “It is time to change how we produce and consume.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

“As a human family, a world free of hunger is our imperative.”

As a prelude to the forum on food systems in 2021, the World Economic Forum’s Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good virtual event, from 23-24 November 2020, was organised as a key milestone leading to the UN summit.

In the meantime, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has suggested 10 practical steps we can take as individuals, according to www.weforum.org.

  1. Eat more plants

Raising animals to eat causes 14.5 percent of global greenhouse emissions, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and consumes scarce water and feed.

Meat production has more than tripled in 50 years, so eating plant-based foods will help rebalance the environment.

  1. Eat more variety

Just 120 plant species are grown for human consumption, while three-quarters of the world’s food supply comes from 12 plants and five animals.

The WWF has proposed 50 new plant-based foods consumers should eat.

  1. Use your voice

With two billion more people to feed over the next 30 years, WWF is urging everyone to put pressure on their governments to take action to ensure there is enough sustainable food for everyone.

  1. Find out about your fish

The WWF suggests buying lesser-known fish species like saithe, pollock and hake.

Overfishing is a threat to a food on which three billion people depend for nutrition.

Fish fraud, or deliberate mislabelling of fish, is used to disguise the sale of endangered species.

DNA tests found that a fifth of the fish on sale in the United States (UN) in the past year was falsely labelled.

The WWF, however, urges consumers to only buy from reputable sources – and eat less popular species.

  1. Cut the waste

Between a third and a half of the world’s food is never eaten. Food sharing charity Olio says $1 trillion is wasted on food that’s thrown away, while the WWF points out that if food waste was a country, it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US.

Consumers are advised to buy only what they need and freeze or preserve what they cannot eat.

  1. Grow your own food

It is estimated that food in the US travels an average of 1,640km. Home-grown food, for those that can achieve it, is a healthy and tasty option.

What’s more, it certainly has a smaller carbon footprint than buying from a supermarket.

  1. Look for sustainable products

Look out for labels showing your food is sustainably produced. For example, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) promotes and certifies sustainable production, guaranteeing this common food ingredient has been produced without causing environmental harm.

  1. Get Giki

This app, one of several you can download, contains ethical and sustainability information on over a quarter of a million foods.

You can check the sustainability of your fish, using the Seafood Watch app, or find local vegan restaurants using the Happy Cow app.

  1. Pass on plastic

Always shop with a reusable bag and avoid products with unnecessary plastic packaging. Ask retailers to stop using plastic.

Less than 10 percent of plastic packaging globally is actually recycled, and it is estimated that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea.

  1. Eat what’s in season

Wherever you live in the world, there is always some food in season. If you’re not eating seasonal produce, your food may have travelled across the world to reach you.

WWF says eating seasonal food is not just sustainable, but it supports local producers, too.

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