How can we sustainably change the ways we eat?

 In Defining Sustainability, inspiration, The Way We Eat

Prof. Dr. Koert van Ittersum – Professor, Marketing and Consumer Wellbeing

Dr. Jan Willem Bolderdijk – Assistant Professor, Marketing

Dr. Jenny van Doorn – Associate Professor, Marketing

Jan Koch – PhD Student researching this topic

All Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen

How can we sustainably change the ways we eat?

Food is essential for life. Food offers energy and nutrients needed for people to grow, develop, move, work, play, think and learn – for people to thrive. However, the way we produce, distribute and consume food requires significant changes in order to sustainably provide enough food for everyone on the planet without depleting current or future resources.

For instance, currently, meat forms a central part of the diet for inhabitants of developed countries meat forms a central part of the diet. Global meat consumption is increasing at the cost of the environment and personal health. Producing 1 kilo of meat needs up to 10kg of grain and 16.000l of water, causing environmental pollution by emitting up to 15kg of carbon dioxide during the production process.

Next, recent statistics suggest that one third of the world population is overweight or obese. To make things worse, it has been estimated that up to 50% of the food produced ends up being wasted. While one part of the world consumes and wastes excessively, 800 million people are undernourished. The world, however, produces more food than needed to feed every single person.

Persuading consumers to eat alternative, sustainable foods (e.g. algae, insects), to diminish over-consumption and to reduce food waste proves to be easier said than done. With increasing urgency and abundant promising solutions at hand, the question remains: how can we sustainably change the ways we eat?

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