Why Innovations in Healthy Sustainable Diets Matter

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Why Innovations in Healthy Sustainable Diets Matter

Re-imagining food

Delicious food popping out of thin air no longer happens only in people’s imagination. Food innovators are working to derive food out of thin air.
At the end of the day, Picasso wasn’t wrong when he said that anything you can imagine is real. Indeed, innovators are taking imagination to a next level, by re-imagining everything related to food production. They are working to make the transition in the food industry, a humongous climate change culprit, toward circular economic models.
However, this is one of those a solution that will take its time to become part of everyday life and affordable for everyone.

Unfortunately, food insecurity is a challenge that hundreds of millions of people face every day. The world has committed to ending hunger and all issues related to malnourishment by 2030. Yet, progress in food security for everyone is always hampered by conflicts and wars, the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and many other factors. People still are hungry, while almost one-third of food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost. Wasted food adds to the burden of climate change and environmental impact. It is estimated that food waste accounts for about eight percent of greenhouse emissions.

Hence, people of different backgrounds are working on innovative solutions to tackle the most emergent issues related to food and sustainability in the agricultural and agro-processing industries. Innovative solutions that help make progress by solving one problem without creating additional issues can be very simple. There’s no need to involve high-tech or expensive equipment to consider it innovative.


Sustainable healthy diets

Food isn’t only what’s on our plate for breakfast or dinner. It’s everything involved in the life cycle of the food system. It also involves the other dimensions of nutrition namely the health, ecologic, economic, social, and cultural dimensions of food. None of these is less important than the others. Sustainable health diets put the spotlight on all of them and their implications for the health and well-being of humans and the environment. Moreover, such diets are safe, affordable, accessible, equitable, and culturally acceptable.

“Sustainable diets are those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.” FAO, 2010, Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity.

Sustainable diets contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 2, SDG 2: Zero Hunger. The Latest report on The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World shares valuable insights on the progress and challenges faced toward SDG2. The publication highlights that malnourishment, food insecurity, and the degradation of natural and environmental resources remain huge challenges. Food is becoming more expensive, while the number of undernourished is increasing. On the other hand, climate change could make the situation worse.

Thus consumers, decision-makers, and innovators are working to find solutions that reduce the cost of nutrition and its environmental burden while making food systems equitable and affordable. At the end of the day, everyone has to eat. Thus everyone must become aware of the power we have on our plates. This could happen by following simple principles such as plant-based diets. Regional and seasonal products, fair trade products, and unprocessed and organic food.

Innovative sustainable food solution

From high-tech companies that derive meat from the air to farmers using century-old solutions to make food available and affordable, below are some solutions that help to reduce food waste, environmental pollution, CO2 emissions, etc.

Online marketplaces for surplus and ugly food
Grocery subscription boxes for surplus and imperfect food
Software that uses data to price products based on buying habits, thus maximizing profit and minimizing food waste
Apps that connect businesses with customers willing to buy food surplus
Programs and projects that help restaurants and shops donate excess food
Solar-powered food storing solutions
Edible packaging and cutlery
App for restaurants and catering services that help them plan food amounts in advance
Natural ways to recycle food waste using insects or larvae
Biodegradable packaging
Using mud silos to store perishables
Using food waste in ethical and cruelty-free fashion

Read also: What’s For Dinner in 20 Years?

These are just a few ideas that can give you food for thought on how to deal with issues that challenge food security and nutrition in your city or country. You are still in time to submit your idea or project that contribute to SDG 2 or any of the 17 SDGs to the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition 2022. You can also take our free online training on entrepreneurship and make new friends from all over the world who are passionate about bringing positive change to their communities.

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