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Community sustainable food  how environmental friendly is your diet  | Upload Lifestyle

Sustainable Food? How Environmental Friendly Is Your Diet?

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by: Sharai Hoekema
sustainable food  how environmental friendly is your diet  | Upload

Farmer-friendly coffee. Fair trade chocolate. Hand-raised chicken eggs. Gluten-free bread rolls. Organically produced soy beans. The food hypes are popping up left, right, and center. All of them claim to be a fairer, more sustainable and, in most cases, healthier option. Where the past decades were all about producing as much food as possible at the same time, recent years have shown a tendency towards food options that are, mildly put, somewhat more laborious.

What about this food that I'm eating?

This does not even take the excessive pricing into account. An organically produced, pesticide-free cucumber for 3 euro. Or coffee made from Guatemalan coffee beans, whose farmers are given a fair price for their produce, but that will cost you 6 euro per cup (medium sized, mind you).

All of this has split the Western world’s population in two camps. One of them is fiercely dedicated to only buying and eating ‘raw’ or ‘real’ food, and disapprovingly look on as their family members or friends - who belong to the other camp - exclaim that they still prefer to shop at the local hypermarket. 

One of the reasons for these new foods not being commonly accepted, is the major confusion that they still often bring along. It appears that food items that are perfectly healthy the one month, turn out to be devil reincarnated the next. So, should we cook with olive oil or is coconut oil the healthier choice? What about quinoa, soy beans, avocado, matcha? 

The variety in diets offered just serves to underline this confusion. Should you opt for a carb-free diet, that cuts bread, pasta, cereal, chips and all kind of baked goods from your life? Or is it better to avoid all dairy products, including milk? (A food group that up to recently was listed as one of the basic food groups.) Perhaps leaving out all and any sugars would be preferable. But the paleo-diet might have a certain appeal as well, that philosophises that we should go back to the food that our ancestral caveman ate - so a lot of animal-based protein and fruits and veggies.

And while it is most certainly true that our lack of ‘real’ knowledge regarding the best diet (hint: it does not exist) is limited, we are certainly not helped by the food industry. They are trying their hardest to make the task of keeping track of your daily intake nearly impossible. Food labels that should be listing the exact nutritional value and ingredients are fudged or incomplete, and advertising slogans are used that turn out to be rather misleading.

Is it real, organic and sustainable?

So, for instance, we might think that these free-range chicken eggs that we bought do their part in giving chickens a better life. But who does actually verify whether those kind of claims are true? Who verifies whether ‘authentic Italian olive oil’ is in fact from Italy? How can you check whether an organically produced soy bean has been sustainably farmed?

The real problem here is the transparency of the food chain. As long as we are not able to trace back specific products ‘to their roots’, it will be next to impossible to determine whether certain high standing claims are true. And while these doubts exist and become increasingly more pressing, customers will - partially thinking with their wallet - refuse to hand over extra money for an, in their eyes, identical item. The real added value of authenticity and sustainability is not clear.

Why this doubt hurts the environment

It is a double-edged sword. While we continue to consume foods that are harming the environment, the food items that are truly sustainably grown are hindered by this perception. And yet there should be a massive movement towards these more sustainable choices: customers must stand up and demand to know what they are eating and how this was produced. 

Supermarkets and grocers must do their part in demanding accountability from their suppliers as well. The law of supply and demand will hold: once becomes known that a certain product is blatantly deceiving, and demand drops as a result of that, supply will automatically adjust accordingly. This can be the start of a beneficial vicious cycle, where food producers are forced to live up to the expectations of an increasingly more critical consumer to stay in business.

Greenwashing vs sustainability

The true cost of certain food items is hidden under a layer of so-called greenwashing. This is a marketing strategy that actively promotes a company and/or its products as being very sustainable and authentic, while it is in fact far from this. The rise of various labels on packagings is a great example of this: only very few of those claims, like ‘organically certified’ or ‘fair-trade’ are actually certified. The remainder is nothing other than marketing slogans.

In order to find out the actual costs, including the burden put on society, it is of crucial importance that the food supply chains become more transparant. Only then can we hold the producers responsible and be able to trust in the authenticity of a certain food stuff. Not only healthier for our body - but healthier for the environment, too.

https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle

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Sustainable Food? How Environmental Friendly Is Your Diet?

Farmer-friendly coffee. Fair trade chocolate. Hand-raised chicken eggs. Gluten-free bread rolls. Organically produced soy beans. The  food hypes are popping up left, right, and center. All of them claim to be a fairer, more sustainable and, in most cases, healthier option. Where the past decades were all about producing as much food as possible at the same time, recent years have shown a tendency towards food options that are, mildly put, somewhat more laborious. What about this food that I'm eating? This does not even take the excessive pricing into account. An organically produced, pesticide-free cucumber for 3 euro. Or coffee made from Guatemalan coffee beans, whose farmers are given a fair price for their produce, but that will cost you 6 euro per cup (medium sized, mind you). All of this has split the Western world’s population in two camps. One of them is fiercely dedicated to only buying and eating ‘raw’ or ‘real’ food, and disapprovingly look on as their family members or friends - who belong to the other camp - exclaim that they still prefer to shop at the local hypermarket.   One of the reasons for these new foods not being commonly accepted, is the major confusion that they still often bring along. It appears that food items that are perfectly healthy the one month, turn out to be devil reincarnated the next. So, should we cook with olive oil or is coconut oil the healthier choice? What about quinoa, soy beans, avocado, matcha?   The variety in diets offered just serves to underline this confusion. Should you opt for a carb-free diet, that cuts bread, pasta, cereal, chips and all kind of baked goods from your life? Or is it better to avoid all dairy products, including milk? (A food group that up to recently was listed as one of the basic food groups.) Perhaps leaving out all and any sugars would be preferable. But the paleo-diet might have a certain appeal as well, that philosophises that we should go back to the food that our ancestral caveman ate - so a lot of animal-based protein and fruits and veggies. And while it is most certainly true that our lack of ‘real’ knowledge regarding the best diet (hint: it does not exist) is limited, we are certainly not helped by the food industry. They are trying their hardest to make the task of keeping track of your daily intake nearly impossible. Food labels that should be listing the exact nutritional value and ingredients are fudged or incomplete, and advertising slogans are used that turn out to be rather misleading. Is it real, organic and sustainable ? So, for instance, we might think that these free-range chicken eggs that we bought do their part in giving chickens a better life. But who does actually verify whether those kind of claims are true? Who verifies whether ‘authentic Italian olive oil’ is in fact from Italy? How can you check whether an organically produced soy bean has been sustainably farmed? The real problem here is the transparency of the food chain. As long as we are not able to trace back specific products ‘to their roots’, it will be next to impossible to determine whether certain high standing claims are true. And while these doubts exist and become increasingly more pressing, customers will - partially thinking with their wallet - refuse to hand over extra money for an, in their eyes, identical item. The real added value of authenticity and sustainability is not clear. Why this doubt hurts the environment It is a double-edged sword. While we continue to consume foods that are harming the environment, the food items that are truly sustainably grown are hindered by this perception. And yet there should be a massive movement towards these more sustainable choices: customers must stand up and demand to know what they are eating and how this was produced.   Supermarkets and grocers must do their part in demanding accountability from their suppliers as well. The law of supply and demand will hold: once becomes known that a certain product is blatantly deceiving, and demand drops as a result of that, supply will automatically adjust accordingly. This can be the start of a beneficial vicious cycle, where food producers are forced to live up to the expectations of an increasingly more critical consumer to stay in business. Greenwashing vs sustainability The true cost of certain food items is hidden under a layer of so-called greenwashing . This is a marketing strategy that actively promotes a company and/or its products as being very sustainable and authentic, while it is in fact far from this. The rise of various labels on packagings is a great example of this: only very few of those claims, like ‘organically certified’ or ‘fair-trade’ are actually certified. The remainder is nothing other than marketing slogans. In order to find out the actual costs, including the burden put on society, it is of crucial importance that the food supply chains become more transparant. Only then can we hold the producers responsible and be able to trust in the authenticity of a certain food stuff. Not only healthier for our body - but healthier for the environment, too. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle
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