An IPCC report suggested a switch to more sustainable sources of both plant-based food and meat in the effort to keep global warming to below 2ºC as per the Paris Agreement. The UN report is not recommending to move away from meat consumption. What they are actually recommending is to move towards the consumption of meat products from sustainable farming systems. A new prescription is needed, sustainably managed livestock will need to play an essential role in the future sustainable food systems we need to replace the ones we’ve got at the moment. But this message risks being lost on the food industry, which is under pressure to source cheaply and is therefore unable to source sustainably. There has been a been a big shift to veganism and vegetarianism which isn’t necessarily part of the solution. For instance, if you’re a mainly plant-based eater and your plant material is palm oil, or genetically modified soy or almond milk or avocados – all of those products are coming from unsustainable systems which often cause deforestation and which are carbon emitting and polluting. We need to eat more vegetables that are grown as part of a proper crop rotation, and we need to buy meat that has come from truly sustainable systems. Everyone, including the food industry, needs to become more sophisticated in our understanding about which foods we are currently eating are part of the problem and which are part of the solution – and the answer is not simple.
Lightbulb Moment: The industry and consumers need to become more educated, less punitive when it comes to sustainability. The blame game is getting old and is played by the ignorant. This article is compelling and provocative. Want to learn how this impacts your business? Culinary Tides can help.