We live in a time of great change in our ‘food systems’, the complex webs of production, processing, transport and consumption, and it seems almost incredible that, whilst the world has managed to halve the number of seriously hungry people to about 800 million, it has doubled the number of overweight and obese people to around 2 billion.
There are so many problems out there, from over-population to habitat loss, over-fishing, soil erosion, overconsumption, waste and, of course, climate change that it sometimes seems impossible that we, as individuals, can do anything to change things. Yet we can. Easily. When we make our food choices, and when we stand in the supermarket with our wallet, we are incredibly powerful. If enough little guys shout, the big guys have to listen.
Here are ten easy and cheap little changes you can make, if you haven’t already, to be part of the revolution.
Buy less and more often. It will increase freshness and reduce waste. Did you know that we throw away 6.7 million tons of food a year in the UK?
Subscribe to a vegetable box scheme, and be happy with the adventure of seasonal things that are going to require some thought. There are over 500 schemes in the UK at the moment, to choose from.
Look for products with the Red Tractor logo. It’s not perfect, but it works hard to find suppliers who source responsibly, produce safely and treat animals with respect, which takes the guesswork out of it for you. (redtractor.org)
Try to avoid buying any food that has been transported on an aeroplane, other than the very occasional treats. It produces 6 times the carbon emissions per kilo you buy.
Try to avoid non-sustainable palm oil products, which have a devastating impact on virgin forests and wildlife in Malaysia and Indonesia. Here’s a helpful checklist (https://giki.earth/how-to-check-for-palm-oil-in-our-supermarkets/) and you can always look for the RSPO label to check sustainability.
If you eat meat, make it an addition to the meal, rather than its main focus. Share a delicious steak, sliced into strips, between two people, almost as a garnish. Make sure that it’s been fed on grass, and not ‘finished’ on soya from a cleared rainforest.
Buy great honey from an artisan, such as rawartisanhoney.com It will cost you 30% more, but you will be directly supporting bees in your own country, who will be pollinating your own plants. And it will be heaps more tasty than industrial and homogenized honey.
Our oceans are getting horribly over-fished. When you buy ‘wild’ fish always look for the blue label of the Marine Stewardship Council that certifies that what you are about to buy is sustainable. (msc.org) When you buy farmed fish, salmon for example, look for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council certificate.
Avoid cereal that makes the milk change colour.
Be proud of your own dietary choices, and don’t criticise other people’s. Sit down and eat together every time you can. Invite someone lonely to come and share food with you.
At Dexam, we believe in a bright future for our food!