Good for you: More Than a Marketing Strategy
The media makes a lot of noise regarding eating more sustainably. Some say going vegan is better for the planet, while others swear by locally-produced, organically-farmed animal products. While many big brands have jumped on the sustainability trend, it’s far more than a marketing strategy. The UN agrees that what we eat and how it’s produced has a massive environmental impact.
Food Production and Climate Change
Studies show that our food systems are responsible for over a third of all human-generated greenhouse gases. These systems include every step of food production and processing from the farm to your fork. They also include transporting the food from farms to factories to wholesalers and retailers.
The farming stage of food production contributes the most to its overall carbon footprint. Examples of agricultural activities that exacerbate climate change include:
- Methane emissions from cows and sheep.
- Crop fertilizers release nitrous oxide.
- Deforestation to make space for farmland.
- Animal manure and rice cultivation.
- Fuel for agricultural vehicles and machinery.
Transporting and refrigerating fresh meat and produce also generates greenhouse gases, but not nearly as much as its farming. Making food-safe packaging and disposing of food waste in landfills also contribute to the food industry’s overall environmental effects.
Animal Products vs Plant-Based Foods
Producing meat and animal products has a more extensive environmental impact than growing crops because livestock takes up much more space. Many commercial farms and ranches were once forests or grasslands filled with trees and plants that absorbed excess atmospheric carbon. Clearing the natural vegetation to make way for pastures means more carbon dioxide in the air.
Plus, many fish farmers are clearing mangroves to make room for shrimp and prawn farms, giving this type of seafood an extremely high carbon footprint. Animals like cows and sheep also release methane into the atmosphere during digestion.
Plants generally use less energy, space, and water to produce and are a much more environmentally friendly option.
Reducing Food-Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Thankfully, there is plenty of room for improvement in the food industry. We can fight climate change by changing what we eat, how we grow, and how we throw it away.
- Changing your diet.
Reducing your meat and dairy intake and eating more plant-based meals could significantly impact the planet and your health. Many studies show that poultry has a smaller carbon footprint than other meat, so swapping beef for chicken could also help you eat more sustainably.
- Improving farming methods.
Many commercial farmers are going green by switching to livestock feed that helps cows and sheep produce less methane during digestion. Improving veterinary care and animal breeding practices could help us grow the same amount of meat with smaller herds, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Managing manure and fertilizer more eco-friendly is another approach to tackling climate change.
- Reducing food waste
Eliminating food waste in landfills means cleaner air, less pollution, and a more efficient food system that can meet the needs of our growing population. Organic waste releases methane into the air as it decomposes, exacerbating global warming. Composting food waste is a better option – it reduces methane emissions and puts valuable nutrients back into the soil.
The food industry and the natural environment are interconnected, and how we eat could help us fight climate change. Advanced Biotech is a big believer in eco-friendly eating, offering premium natural flavorings and certified-organic ingredients from sustainable sources.
Please contact us to learn how we can help you produce more environmentally foods.