A Summary of Expert Perspectives on How Research into the Language of Plant-based Food Can Change Consumption
Food production significantly impacts the environment, but different types of food have different effects. Generally, producing meat, especially from ruminants (cattle, sheep, and goats), uses more land and water and emits more greenhouse gases than producing plant-based foods. Therefore, in...
While 2017 was a banner year for plant-based eating, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts 2018 will be a year when Americans eat a record amount of meat. There's more to the story: the mix of meats in the U.S. diet has been shifting away from beef and toward chicken for decades.
WRI worked with two of the world’s largest consortia of food companies to reduce food loss and waste. The Global Agribusiness Alliance pledged to halve its food loss by 2030 and the Consumer Goods Forum committed to standardize food date labels by 2020. These bold commitments will help make food production and consumption more sustainable.
Nearly a quarter of all food calories produced for humans are never consumed, resulting in about $1 trillion in annual economic losses, significant greenhouse gas emissions and inefficient use of water, land and other resources. Food losses near the farm – during production, handling and storage – account for half of this food loss and waste around the world and contribute to hunger. Food waste that occurs between market and table accounts for another third, and is costly for consumers. Confusion about the meaning of expiration date labels – from “use by” and “sell by” to “best before” or “display until” – causes consumers to discard food that is still safe to eat. This confusion causes an estimated 20 percent of household food waste in OECD countries and costs U.S. consumers an estimated $29 billion annually.
WRI collaborated with the Global Agribusiness Alliance (GAA), a coalition of many of the world’s major food producers, and the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a partnership of the world’s largest manufacturers and retailers, to jointly develop commitments to reduce food loss and food waste. These commitments were made with the support of CEOs who are also members of Champions 12.3, a partnership (led by WRI and the Dutch government) of more than three dozen leaders dedicated to achieving progress on Target 12.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls for halving food loss and waste by 2030.
In September 2017, members of the GAA committed to halve their food losses by 2030. Their Food Loss Resolution complements the Food Waste Resolution that the CGF made two years earlier. Now the world’s leading food-related companies have targets consistent with SDG Target 12.3. Also in September, the CGF launched the Date Label Call to Action, a pledge to standardize and streamline food date labels by 2020 and encourage other companies to do the same. Together, these commitments will contribute to improving food security, raising farmer incomes, reducing costs for companies, helping household budgets and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Going forward, WRI will support GAA and CGF members on implementation.
In a world that expects to welcome another 3 billion people to the middle class in the new few decades, eating more sustainably will be key. Two simple rules of thumb: eat fewer animal-based foods and waste less.
To achieve radical reductions in food loss and waste, governments and businesses need to act now. A new report from the Champions 12.3 coalition reviews progress to date on meeting Target 12.3 of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.